Tag Archives: Doug Kniffin

Compo Shopping Center: “06880” Readers Drive The Discussion

We may not be able to solve the COVID crisis. We can’t agree on where to put affordable housing, or what to do with trees on private property.

But together, we can fix one of Westport’s gravest threats: the Compo Shopping Center parking lot.

Yesterday, I asked for ideas about the clusterf*** that confounds us all. It is — as readers repeatedly report — a death trap. An embarrassment. And (this should get everyone’s attention) a detriment to business.

You did not disappoint. Ideas poured in — plus aerial photos, complete with arrows and Xs.

Sure, it’s the last day of the year. You’re distracted with New Year’s preparations, deciding which sweatpants to wear as you sit home tonight.

But I want to make sure that some of the best solutions don’t get buried in the Comments section. So here’s a summary of what you said.

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Evan Stein has a thorough solution — with a diagram:

Evan suggests: Close all connections from the rear parking lot to the front. Re-stripe the lots, for angled parking.

Divide the lot with a barrier (giant planters with trees or shrubbery) into a south lot and a north lot. Each would have one entrance, and one exit. Enter the south lot from the south. Enter the north lot from the north.

Each lot exit would have an independent traffic light. The exit from Compo Acres Shopping Center (Trader Joe’s) would also have its own traffic light. There would be a 5-light cycle:
• South lot green
• North lot green
• Compo acres green
• Route 1 green (no turning allowed)
• Pedestrian crossing.

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Elizabeth Thibault likes Evan’s idea, but notes that Post Road traffic frequently blocks the light at CVS. She’d make the lights one way, going into the plaza and then flowing out the back. If that doesn’t work, at least paint a giant box in front, and ticket drivers for blocking the entrance.

Elizabeth has a more radical suggestion: Remodel each business, making the main entrances in the rear. She’d keep the glass windows and displays on the Post Road side, to attract drivers, but would make the store layouts favor back entry.

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Doug Kniffin offers 4 fixes, from easiest to most difficult:

Adjust the CVS-adjacent traffic signal for 3 separate phases: a) Post Road both directions; b) CVS lot exit only, with cars able to turn east and west; c) Trader Joe’s lot exit only, with cars able to turn east and west.

Paint solid yellow lines down the center of the parking lots in front of CVS and Gold’s Little Kitchen. This will help keep drivers on the “right” side of the lot.

Change the exit ramp next to Cohen’s Optical from exit-only to entry-only.  The exit ramp now is useless. A new parking lot entry will reduce traffic going into the entry further west, at the traffic light.

Take space from the north end of the People’s Bank parking lot; create entry/exit access lanes between the back of the Compo Shopping lot and North Compo Road. People’s rarely uses this space, but an exit/entry there will reduce the traffic traveling through the front lots.

Here’s Doug’s diagram, with every option marked:

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Beth Berkowitz suggests angled parking too. That makes it harder for 2-way traffic to imperil drivers.

She’d also make the spaces closest to the road parallel parking — not head-in — and would turn the entrance/exit in front of CVS into entrance only. Traffic could exit only through the south (North Compo) end, or the back lot.

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Wendy Crowther has one simple, quick fix: Eliminate the parking spaces that encroach upon the lot’s main entrance/exit, as well as those near the center driveway that passes between the 2 buildings. This would allow drivers to enter and exit the lot without the hassle of cars trying to pull in and out of those spaces.

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There you have it: Westporters’ ideas for fixing a seemingly intractable traffic nightmare.

Coming soon: the Post Road/Riverside Avenue/Wilton Road debacle.