Tag Archives: Hillspoint Road

Roundup: June Snow, Safety Fence, Downtown Lights …

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That old saying about New England weather — if you don’t like it, wait a minute — is spot on. Still, it doesn’t usually snow in June.

If you’re Netflix, you make it happen. For a couple of weeks, a crew has filmed “The Noel Diary” in a residential neighborhood. It’s a Christmas (as in 2022) movie, so a bit of ingenuity is needed.

Here was one scene, yesterday. I’m sure it will look more realistic 18 months from now.

On screen, and in real life.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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Meanwhile, summer is actually almost here. That means more folks walking, jogging, biking and driving past the former Positano restaurant on Hillspoint Road.

For over a year, permit violations have halted construction on what was to be a private residence. The building — half-finished, swathed in blue, surrounded by weeds — has become a neighborhood eyesore.

A security fence now encloses the property. That makes it safer.

But now it looks worse than ever.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

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The Westport Downtown Association’s GoFundMe campaign was a success.

The organization has installed more lights along Church Lane — including the Patagonia and Urban Outfitters buildings.

Next on the lights list: Main Street.

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Jim Hood lives on Compo Beach. Is that where his dog learned to swim? Or does it just paddle instinctively? Who cares? Here’s today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Jim Hood)

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And finally … today is Flag Day. Long may she wave, proudly and brave!

 

Roundup: RTM & Hiawatha, Sherwood Island, VFW …

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Start time for the Representative Town Meeting’s special June 8 (Tuesday) meeting to reconsider the Planning & Zoning’s adoption of a new zoning district that would enable a 157-unit development on Hiawatha Lane has been pushed ahead to 7 p.m.

However, the RTM will not address the petition until 7:30 p.m.

The meeting will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. To attend by video, send an email to RTMcomments@westportct.gov; include your name and address, to receive participation details.

Emails may be sent before the meeting to RTMmailinglist@westportct.gov; this goes to all RTM members.

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It’s called “CT Trails Day.” But Friends of Sherwood Island are actually sponsoring two days — today and tomorrow — of activities at Connecticut’s first state park.

Today, there’s a Wonder of Flight Interactive Air Show (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), featuring radio-controlled model planes, helicopters, gliders and drones, followed by a Butterfly Walk with Michele Sorenson (2 p.m.; meet at the Nature Center).

Tomorrow (Sunday), Louis Petig leads a Nature Walk at 1 p.m. along the Sound. It begins at the Nature Center, and includes birding locations, the Connecticut 9/11 memorial, model aircraft airport, trailheads, wetlands and a pine forest.

Questions? contact Cece Saunders: cece@historicalperspective.org; 203-984-1488.

Sherwood Island — a state park in the heart of Westport’s shore. (Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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At last: There’s smooth sailing — well, driving — to the beach.

Just in time for this weekend’s 90-degree weather, Hillspoint Road has been repaved. Residents and beach-goers have been frustrated for weeks, after Aquarion’s work left the street rough and rutted.

Striping should begin next week, weather permitting.

RTM member Andrew Colabella credits teamwork with 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich, RTM colleague Chris Tait, Joey’s by the Shore owner Hal Kravitz and resident Robin Tauck for helping move the project along.

(Photo/Chris Tait)

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Speaking of Tauck: The upscale guided tour and cruise company — based now in Wilton, but for many years a Westport operation, where many family members still live — will resume tour and river cruise operations in Europe, Africa and central America, beginning this month.

Some North America tours have already begun. Click here for details.

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To celebrate National Garden Week, the Westport Garden Club decorated the 4 “bumpouts” on Main Street. The plantings also celebrate the club’s #FridayFlowers campaign.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

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Two new merchants have joined the Pride parade.

Throughout June, Sweet P’s Bakery/The Porch @ Christie’s will donate 20% of the proceeds from Pride cookies, trays and packages to Westport Pride, our LGBTQ community organization.

Pam’s James is contributing 10% of the sales of Pride Trio jams.

Click here for a full list of vendors participating in this summer’s “Merchants of Pride” program.

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A limited audience saw Staples High’s first live musical performance of the school year last night.

Thunderstorms moved the first of 2 Pops Concerts was moved from the Levitt Pavilion to the auditorium. After a year of COVID, that hardly mattered.

A variety of choruses, orchestras and the freshman band entertained the socially distanced — but very grateful — crowd. Despite the masks, it was a sure sign that the district’s superb staff had shepherded through a very difficult year.

And that music makes us all truly alive.

The 2nd night of the Pops Concert — with other groups — is scheduled for tonight. All tickets have already been distributed.

Luke Rosenberg directs the Anima Cantorum.

Staples High School music instructors (from left): Luke Rosenberg, Candida Inanaco, Phil Giampietro, Carrie Mascaro, Jeri Muehleise. Innaco retires this year, after 36 years of teaching. (Photos/Dan Woog)

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The Artists’ Collective celebrates Westport’s return to actual, live activities with 2 big events.

A pop-up art show opens in the Westport Country Playhouse barn June 12. It runs from 2 to 6 p.m. every day, through June 19. An artist’s talk on closing day begins at 4 p.m.

Participating artists include local favorites Lucienne Buckner, Miggs Burroughs, Elizabeth DeVoll, Charles Douthat, Susan Fehlinger, Noah Fox, Jen Greely, Toby Michaels, Nancy Moore, Mary Ann Neilson, Melissa Newman, Diane Pollack, Ellen Schiffman and Jahmane West.

The Collective’s very popular trunk show returns in the Westport Library’s lower parking lot: July 11 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

What is the Artists’ Collective of Westport? Click below to learn more.

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The return to indoor events came too late for the Westport Country Playhouse to stage its full summer productions.

But the venerable theater welcomes a series of special events, to support next year’s full reopening.

“Cabaret in the Robards” is 3 evenings of shows featuring Broadway talent, with music, song and comedy.

The first one — June 26 — is “An Evening with Brad Simmons and Tonya Pinkins.” She’s a Tony-winning Broadway veteran; he’s a famed music director and concert artist. They’ll combine for show favorites, contemporary covers, classics and more.

Click here for tickets and more information.

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo features horseshoe crabs. They’re back. I am told that prime time — figuring in the tide, moon, mating season and more — is June 24.

(Photo/Gene Borio)

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And finally … today, Westport celebrates Pride Day, with a 10 a.m. to noon festival at Jesup Green. Hit it, Diana!

 

Hillspoint Road Work: Help Is On The Way

Alert “06880” reader, RTM District 4 representative and frustrated driver Andrew Colabella writes:

The condition of Hillspoint Road left by Aquarion was subpar. Dipping and diving while driving along the roadway, I thought that after digging up the entire road, they would come back and either repave what they had previously dug up to be smoother, or mill the entire road or lane.

The last 2 weeks, only certain areas were dug up and repaved.

Hillspoint Road has looked like this for a while …

Hal Kravitz, Chris Tait, Robin Tauck, Jenny McGuinness, myself and many other members of the public were deeply upset. Even 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and Director of Public Works Peter Ratkiewich were displeased by the work.

However, good news came in a letter from Peter Ratkiewich. He wrote:

Due to the condition of the asphalt, Mr. Marpe has authorized me to place a sacrificial cover of pavement, about 1” thick, over the entire road to make it acceptable for the summer. This will buy us some time and make the walking surfaces safe for the summer months.

We will do this from Compo Road South to Lamplight Lane, which is the worst of the worst. This takes away the Optimum problem too, as they can install their trench any time (it’s only for a couple of services, not the whole length like the water line).

We will use FGB Construction to do the work. They will try to get started next Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. The work should only take 2 days or so, then everyone should be out of there.

We will eventually end up milling this up and putting down a full 2 inch mat, but the temporary pavement could possibly give me a one year window so that I might be able to fix the sidewalk too.

… and this. (Photos/Andrew Colabella)

This is a road many of us drive every day. I want to thank everyone who spoke out and politely objected to the current condition of the road.

The importance of speaking up when there is an issue or question should always be addressed with haste, and no hesitation.

Residents who live in town and have issues with primary or secondary roads can call Town Hall: 203-341-1000.

If there’s a pothole, damaged curb from a snowplow, dead animal or issues with town infrastructure, email publicworks@westportct.gov or call 203-341-1120.

Also, never hesitate to reach out to your RTM representative about any town issues. We are all here to help you.

Here’s to a smoother future, as we come out of hibernation from the pandemic.

The Great Lakes Of Westport

The other day, “06880” noted that the Westport Library parking lot is being repaved. Swimmers — er, readers — all over town hope this means the end of the lakes that form whenever it drizzles.

But as alert — and sopping wet — reader John Richers points out, the library is not the only place in town where a life vest is as important as a seat belt.

On Monday he sent a photo of one of the 2 major lakes at Compo Beach. You may not remember that it rained — it did, a bit, Sunday night — but this was the scene hours later:

(Photo/John Richers)

That’s the loop road heading toward South Beach and the kayak launch, with Ned Dimes Marina off to the right.

To get there, you first have to navigate the enormous lake between the guard houses on the entrance road.

“Have you ever ridden your bike into Compo the day after it rains?” John asks.

“Probably not!” he answers himself. “Me neither. Instead of doing the loop inside Compo, I don’t bother turning in to the beach on days like today.

“Today I was not as daunted though since I was driving my SUV. Still, it always feels sketchy plowing slowly through a body of water of undetermined depth.”

Compo Beach entrance, after a February 2020 rain. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

But there’s hope!

On Wednesday — 2 days later — a crew was at work paving the road by the kayaks. Fingers crossed this will be all that’s needed.

Paving in progress. (Photo/John Richers)

Compo Beach is not the only rough spot to ride by the water.

“Don’t get me started on the abominable condition of Hillspoint Road between South Compo and Greens Farms Road,” John says.

But he’s just getting started.

“This segment of Hillspoint remains a work in progress as Rondano & Company continue to mess around with water mains on behalf of Aquarion. If you’ve driven or (God forbid!) ridden your bike along this stretch over the past 6 months, you know it feels like driving through the South Bronx in the mid-’70s.  Here’s hoping for a swift wrap-up and an immediate resurfacing.”

Fingers crossed. But when John asked someone working on the project how much work remains, he was told that right now they’re smoothing rough patches. Final re-paving may not happen until after the summer, because the current work needs to settle first.

There is one waterside bright spot. Unfortunately, it’s not in Westport.

“Have you ridden along Pequot Avenue from Southport Beach to the Pequot Library since they resurfaced?” he wonders.

“Heaven!👍”

Pic Of The Day #1379

Reflection near Old Mill (Photo/Les Dinkin)

Pic Of The Day #1129

Schlaet’s Point/Hillspoint Road by drone (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

Pics Of The Day #1109

Spring scene on Hillspoint Road … (Photo/Karen Como)

… and downtown, from the Kings Highway Bridge (Photo/Gabriela Bockhaus)

Stop The Presses! Bikers Stop At Stop Sign!

“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.”

(Photo/Gary Julien)

Police Step Up Bike Traffic Enforcement. Resident Sees A Larger Issue.

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.

Beautiful — and not much room.

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 scene yesterday, at Soundview Avenue by Hillspoint Road.

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.”

Not Westport. But to some people, it feels like this.

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.

He realized how much they fear biking next to an SUV driver preoccupied with his or her cellphone (which the Police Department also addresses).

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.”

Pics Of The Day #855

Hillspoint Road homes, as seen from Sherwood Mill Pond… (Photo/John Videler for VidelerPhotography)

… and the Mill Pond itself (on a very different day!) (Drone photo/Videler Photography)