With Staples High and Bedford Middle Schools closed, it may be a while since you’ve driven on North Avenue.
If you have, you’ve noticed construction underway on a new sidewalk. It parallels the old one, from Long Lots Road north to Cross Highway. But it’s closer to the road, with no grass strip in between.
The old sidewalk was separated from North Avenue by a grass strip …
What’s up with that? several readers wondered.
I asked Peter Ratkiewich. The Public Works director said the new sidewalk will be 5 feet wide, elevated above the road by a 6-inch concrete curb. For the most part, it will run along the edge of the road. In certain areas with obstructions, it will deviate from the road edge.
The old sidewalk — parts of which were over 30 years old — will be removed entirely. That area will be restored with topsoil and seed.
… while the new one will not be. (Photos/Michael Fleming)
The new construction will facilitate maintenance (including winter, when it must be plowed or shoveled).
This is the same method of construction used all over town. The North Avenue sidewalk will look very similar to the one on Imperial Avenue, built about 6 years ago and hailed by many residents.
North Avenue resident Michael Fleming is not pleased, however. He started a petition asking the town to retain the sidewalk buffers.
The Imperial Avenue sidewalk.
In other sidewalk news, Public Works has nearly completed a new sidewalk on Maple Avenue North. They’ll start the Myrtle Avenue project soon.
Ratkiewich is still waiting for word from the state on the Riverside Avenue reconstruction project. It will include some sidewalk replacement.
The Main Street sidewalk project has been submitted to the state for final review. He hopes to have that project underway before fall.
Next year, Ratkiewich hopes to rebuild the Hillspoint Road sidewalk from Old Mill Beach to Greens Farms Road, and the Compo Road South sidewalk from the Post Road to Bridge Street.
The North Avenue project was scheduled before COVID-19. And yes, the lack of traffic has made the work easier.
On Friday, “06880” posted a story on a citizens’ campaign to install mobile speed signs — “traffic calming devices” — on Imperial Avenue and Bridge Street.
The GoFundMe drive had already garnered $1975 in pledges. The goal was $10,000 — by December 31.
Today — just 72 hours later, and nearly 60 days ahead of schedule — that figure has been reached. (And more: As of this morning it was up to $10,100.)
Nicole Dodge — one of the organizers — says:
This issues clearly resonates with residents of our neighborhood. It’s the first step towards addressing the issue of excessive speed on Imperial and Bridge Street and the surrounding areas. We are pleased we were able to raise the money so quickly, so we can move forward in further addressing this problem and prioritizing pedestrian safety.
Well done, Gang of 6 who came up with the campaign.
And well done, “06880” readers. You rock!
Now please be sure to slow down on Imperial Avenue, Bridge Street — and everywhere else in town!
We’ve all seen them: The solar-paneled radar signs that give the speed limit on a particular stretch of road, then flash your speed. It’s always faster than the speed limit, of course, and you always slow down.
A typical mobile speed sign.
Studies show significant decreases in vehicle speeds on streets that use them. But they’re mobile, so they pop up in different places at different times.
There is no funding in the town budget to purchase these “traffic calming speed signs.” But 6 Westporters have begun a GoFundMe campaign to buy 2 more. They’ll be placed — permanently — on Imperial Avenue and Bridge Street.
The citizens — Matt Heisler, Karen Jacobs, Nicole Dodge, Jennifer Johnson, Andrea Moore and Al DiGuido — are spurred by the fact that in the last 6 months, 2 neighbors have been hit by cars while jogging.
The Police Department is partnering with the group. They’ll assume responsibility for installation and maintenance of the signs — and will monitor all speed data.
Each device costs almost $5,000. The GoFundMe goal is $10,000. It runs through December 31. If the total amount is not reached, no money will be collected.
As of this morning, $1,975 had been pledged.
“This is where we live,” the group says. “This is where our kids go to school. This is where we walk, run, bike and drive.”
Of course, they’ll accept contributions from anyone in Westport — and beyond.
(For more information, or to contribute, click here.)
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