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Tag Archives: Hillspoint Road
“Drivers never give us any room!” Westport bicyclists complain.
“You never stop at stop signs!” motorists counter.
It’s not fair to paint either group with a broad brush.
Here’s proof — at least for one side.
This afternoon, a group of riders stopped at the Hillspoint Road sign by Elvira Mae’s.
And — just to show that’s how they roll — they sent a smiling selfie to “06880.”
It’s not quite Times Square. But certain parts of Westport — Hillspoint Road and South Compo from Elvira Mae’s to the Minute Man, say — attract a wide variety of folks.
Walkers, joggers, people with strollers and/or dogs, bicyclists, motorcyclists, drivers — all enjoy the beautiful, relaxing scenery.
And all battle for limited territory: roads, shoulders, sidewalks.
On Friday, the Westport Police Department — acting on “a number of complaints related to cyclists using town roads recklessly, with little to no regard for posted traffic control signage and other rules of the road” — announced a bicycle traffic enforcement campaign.
Officers — concentrated in and around Compo Beach — will be on the lookout for cyclists who blow through stop signs, fail to ride single file in the direction of traffic, or don’t use hand signals.
The stepped-up enforcement is not anti-biker, the department says. Rather, it’s to “educate and ensure the safety of cyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike while all must share our roads.”
A Compo Beach resident applauded the campaign. He’s tired of trying to enjoy the beauty of the area, only to have “a 10-person bike torpedo zoom through at twice the speed limit, not stopping at signs and crosswalks.”
However, he adds, cyclists should not bear all the blame.
“The bigger and sadder issue is the underlying anger and hate. Bikers are afraid of cars. Walkers are afraid of bikers. And on it goes,” he says.
“Everyone comes from fear and anger, rather than the gratefulness of walking or riding near our spectacular beach. In the short term, the town will address the danger that exists. But in the longer term, how do we as a society address the fear and anger that this issue is simply a symptom of?”
After being on the receiving end of rudeness from cyclists — and scared by them — he says he tried to put himself in their shoes.
His own sons love to ride. “I can’t default to the easy ‘bikers are wrong,'” the Compo area resident says. “So I see this as, short term, let’s enforce the road rules to make people safe.
“Longer term, let’s figure out how we can become more tolerant and accepting of others. Let’s be more grateful, and less grumpy.”
Last week’s story about the new house rising on the site of the old Positano restaurant drew many comments. The site — kitty corner from Elvira Mae’s — is one of the most cherished in Westport.
One reader complained that the new structure blocks views of the public water. She implied that it ruined “a half mile of a walk along the beach on a sidewalk.”
In fact, that ship sailed long ago.
What once was a lovely view — from Schlaet’s Point at the end of Soundview (where Hillspoint Road turns into South Compo), along the gentle curve and on toward Old Mill — has been privatized.
A large home at 261 Hillspoint replaced an open-air boathouse. One of Westport’s first mammoth faux stone walls sealed the house — and the view — off from passersby. (It’s now on the market. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.)
More recently, a wooden fence and high hedge have hidden all of Old Mill Beach, and that part of the Sound, from nearly everyone’s eyes.
A small section of beach — owned by Hillspoint residents across the street — has always been private. But until the last few years — 10, maybe? — it was bordered only by an unobtrusive chain link fence. Now there’s a green equivalent of the Berlin Wall.
There are a few breaks in the obstructed view from #261 to Old Mill, of course. A small public access road provides relief; so does the clear view from #254 across the street.
But that’s it, until you get to the public Old Mill Beach.
Last week’s “06880” story also generated comments about the sidewalk. Readers worried that it will be removed from the new house, forcing walkers into the street.
The property owner assures Westporters there will be a sidewalk in front.
Sidewalks have concerned residents and visitors for years.
A couple of years ago, Robin Tauck — who owns the beautiful new beach house directly across from Elvira Mae’s — paid for a sidewalk survey. She worried about people walking in the road, right past her driveway.
A sidewalk extension from 233 Hillspoint Road to Old Mill Beach is in the works. Plans are done. The town is waiting for a state grant.
Hundreds of folks walk in that area daily. With the opening of Elvira Mae’s ice cream window, foot traffic has increased dramatically. When — er, if — a sidewalk is built there, it will be an important safety addition.
Meanwhile, folks will continue to stroll from there to Compo Beach. They can say what they want about the view — when Positano was there, and now during residential construction.
But they can’t say it’s the only thing blocking their view.
On July 8, representatives from Connecticut’s Department of Transportation gave a public presentation on proposed work on the Post Road. Much of it involves the stretch between Fresh Market, and the Roseville/Hillspoint Road intersection.
The $5.3 million project (80% federally funded, 20% state funds) would include special left-turn-only lanes, as well as traffic signals, curbing, curb ramps, sidewalks and crosswalks.
Alert “06880” reader Jennifer Johnson agrees with many of the ideas. However, she also has concerns. She wrote the DOT about several, including the need for a sidewalk on the south side from Mitchells to the fire station, and care of the cherry trees in front of the Volvo dealer.
However, what really caught my eye was this:
Eliminate multiple single-property curb cuts. There are an excessive number of curb cuts (17) on both sides of the road, from the traffic light at Fresh Market to the light at Roseville/Hillspoint Road.
The number of curb cuts is a source of danger to people regardless of how they travel (foot, car or bicycle). Now is the time to correct problems that have evolved as the Post Road developed.
I never thought about that — but now that I have, it makes a lot of sense.
Why do we need so many entrances and exits at Fresh Market? Across the street, there are also a number of ways to get into and out of the Dunkin’ Donuts/UPS Store/Westport Hardware/Mumbai Times lot. (No one ever calls it by its official no-meaning name, Village Center.)
There are other spots in town too with multiple entrances and exits, like Stop & Shop, and Aux Delices/Carvel/Stiles.
There are only a couple of ways in and out of the CVS/Trader Joe’s clusterf***. But at the end of her email, Jennifer notes that this intersection appears to have been ignored by DOT.
Finally, she asks that one person be appointed to oversee and coordinate all of DOT’s Westport projects (there are others besides the Fresh Market initiative).
Great idea! I nominate Jennifer Johnson for the job.
(For full details of the project on the Westport town website, click here. Questions about the Post Road project can be sent to the CT DOT project manager: Brian.Natwick@ct.com)
We avoided torrential rain. The 50-mph wind gusts never came.
Still, Westport did not escape today’s rains. And — with the moon nearly full — floods were reported all over town.
This is the new normal.
Additional flooding was reported at Wilton Road and Post Road West; Imperial Avenue near Baker Avenue, and Harbor and Canal Roads on Saugatuck Shores.
Tomorrow should be partly cloudy, with a high near 55. Winds will be 5-10 mph.
Westport is chock full of kayaks.
They’re stacked at Compo Beach, Longshore Sailing School, Downunder, and docks and driveways all around town.
But the kayaks in last week’s Photo Challenge were some of the most visible. They’re stored at Schlaet’s Point — specifically, in the little private park (supposedly) for Bluewater Hill residents only, next to the house at 259 Hillspoint Road with the massive stone wall and 3-flag pole.
We all pass by them often. But only Matt Murray, Rich Stein, Joelle Harris Malec and Sarah Hock knew exactly where they were. Kayak kudos to you! (Click here to see Amy Schneider’s shot.)
Here is this week’s Photo Challenge:
If the location rings a bell, click “Comments” below. And if you’ve got the back story to it, let us know too.
“06880” readers circled around last week’s Photo Challenge.
Some thought Patricia McMahon’s image of 3 concrete pillars — framed by ivy — came from Compo Beach. (Click here for the photo.)
Others figured Burying Hill Beach or Cockenoe Island.
In fact, it was the former Positano’s. Before that, the restaurant was Cafe de la Plage (and others).
Always, it’s been on Hillspoint Road between Old Mill and Compo.
Elaine Marino finally got the right answer, at 9 p.m. Sunday. She added: “I presume they were put there to prevent patrons from parking on the grass behind Positano’s.”
I presume plenty of people will look for those pillars on their next beach walk.
This week’s Photo Challenge shows a spot many Westporters know. Others have never heard of it.
It’s well worth a visit. If you know where you’d go to see it, click “Comments” below.