Tag Archives: Main Street

Pic Of The Day #1038

Main Street leaves (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Roundup: Cumby’s Gas, Main Street Paving, FEMA Grants …

On Wednesday, “06880” reported that the Cumberland Farms at Bulkley Avenue South near Stop & Shop — formerly Mercury — was charging customers Super Premium prices for Unleaded gas.

Yesterday at 2 p.m., an “06880” reader was getting gas (hopefully for the correct price). In mid-pump, a woman emerged from the mini-mart and told her — and 4 other customers — that the station was short-staffed, and had to close.

Then the pumps were immediately shut off. The customers could not even finish filling their tanks.

The lights were turned off inside. No gas, no Ring Dings, no processed pizza. Nothing.

“Very strange,” the reader notes.

Yesterday’s sign at Cumberland Farms.

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Earlier this week, parts of Westport were affected by paving projects. Traffic backed up near Saugatuck and Jesup Road.

Here’s the next site. Main Street between Post Road East and Avery Place, plus Avery Place itself, will be milled beginning Monday (October 17.

Main Street will be closed to through traffic and parking starting at 5 a.m. Monday. Avery Place will be closed to through traffic beginning around 10 a.m.

Once milling is done, both roads will be re-opened to traffic until paving begins. It is scheduled for Tuesday, October 18, and follow the same schedule as milling. However,  a weather system may postpone paving until Wednesday, October 19.

You won’t see this early next week. Paving and milling will close Main Street.

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One of the the Westport Library’s most popular technology events — the “Anyone Can Use…” series — returns next month.

The classes offer live tech instruction, for all users. They include:

The sessions run from 11 am to noon, near the checkout desk.

Use your library card to download stuff!

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FEMA grants help property owners make homes and businesses resilient against future floods, or relocate to safer locations.

The Western Connecticut Council of Governments’ Regional Flood Mitigation Assistance Program helps educate property owners about opportunities, determine if they qualify, and aid in applications.

An informational session is set for October 27 (6:30 p.m., Stamford Government Center, 888 Washington Boulevard). The public is welcome. It will be recorded, and available at www.westcog.org afterward.

Questions? Call or email Todd Fontanella: 475-323-2070;  tfontanella@westcog.org(Hat tip: Sal Liccione)

Flood-proofing, at Old Mill Beach. (Photo/John Videler, Videler Photography)

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The winds picked up yesterday. Not enough for a flood (see story above) — but enough to draw at least one man to Compo Beach:

(Photo/Sunil Hirani)

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The first public reading of “The Incubators” — a new comedy by Madison Fiedler — is set for the Westport Country Playhouse (November 7, 7 p.m.).

It’s an absurdist dark comedy, as the “Pro-Life Generation” is just getting started.

On the first day of California Right To Life Leadership Camp Age Division 15-17, everyone is nervous. But they’re excited to be surrounded by what they believe in, with new strategies of warfare.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

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A few days ago, our “06880” Roundup included a photo of pink ribbons on several trees in Grace Salmon Park.

We figured they honored Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Nope.

Nathalie Fonteyne writes: “They were placed there by Monica Buesser (conservation chair of the Westport Garden Club and chair of the Westport Tree Board) and myself (civics chair of the Westport Garden Club).

“They highlight the prevalence of the invasive Ailanthus altissima — also known as tree of heaven — at the park. We tagged 20 trees there.

“The Westport Garden Club is working with Mike West of Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department to get the trees removed. Removing invasive species can be an arduous process because of their extensive root system, and their ability to re-sprout. The fact that the trees are in a wetland complicates the process.

“However, the Westport Garden Club and the town are committed to removing the invasive species at the park and planting new native species in their place, hopefully very soon.”

Pink ribbons on trees of heaven.

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Just in time — well, a bit ahead of — the shopping season, the “Ugly Westport Holiday” collection has landed in Finding Westport’s e-store.

The design is available as a sweatshirt, bodysuit, fleece, hoodie or blanket. Click here for more information, and to order.

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Speaking of Grace Salmon Park (see story above), Peggy O’Halloran says of today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo: “It looks like this poor tree already has a headstone.”

(Photo/Peggy O’Halloran)

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And finally … speaking of Cumberland Farms (story above):

 

[OPINION] Time To Rethink Architecture, Design Choices

Longtime Westporter and alert “06880” reader Elisabeth Keane keeps a sharp eye on this town. She’s not pleased.

Elisabeth writes:

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at Bridge Square. The formerly charming historic waterfront has turned into absurd “farm-style” buildings. Yellow and green paint, and tin roofs and windows befit the “style du jour” architecture. (Most builders and architects are on the same design page, in the same design book.*) It is ugly and inappropriate.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

How did this type of  renovation (certainly not an improvement) get past avoid the town’s guidelines?  Yikes.

Are there any architectural guidelines for Westport?  The architectural charm of Westport is being devastated.

They ruined Sconset Square too, which used to be charming and New England-y. Now it resembles just another somewhat upscale strip mall, with tin roofs and black-appearing windows. I know it is still under construction but…

Sconset Square (Photo/Dan Woog)

Not to mention the sketch I saw of the the former Westport Inn (aka Delamar Westport).

At this rate, I don’t have high hopes for rejuvenating Main Street either. I think those uninspired strings of lights along both sides of Main Street more closely resemble the rows of lights strung up for a week above street fairs in the city. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for me those undistinguished strings of lights do not convey any artistic, unusual or thoughtful way to light our Main Street, in this still artistic and talented town. Did anybody consult a resident or local lighting professional (perhaps theatre or movie lighting) for advice?

Then there’s the chain link fence at Veterans Green. Seriously? One  might want to have that special place accessible.

Speaking of Myrtle Avenue: Whoever will be doing it better be very careful restoring Town Hall, and not messing up the exterior or interior.

And speaking of interiors: I hope the current interior decorating fad in public buildings will fade soon. Restaurants for some perverse reason seem to follow along lamely, with hard surfaces everywhere. The noise level is through the roof. Sound reverb requires everyone to speak LOUDLY. Seating is hard, not comfortable. The high bar stools are not for everybody — maybe in a corner of a bar, but not in a restaurant.

Restaurant ambiance is more than the food; it involves comfortable seating, and conversing in a normal tone, not yelling as at a sporting event.

*Design book: Look at all the houses built c. 2003-2005-ish, with faux Palladian windows. Is there really only one architectural design book? It’s cheaper that way, and it shows. I can only imagine what our most skilled and creative architects must think as they see these things…

“Confusing Intersection” Sequel: Previous Plans

The state Department of Transportation’s announcement of possible work on the Route 136/Route 57 intersection — where Main Street, Weston Road and Easton Road meet in a confusing number of ways — is welcome news.

But it’s not the first plan.

Nor is it the second. Or even the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh.

Former 2nd Selectman Avi Kaner sends along a slew of previous solutions to the confounding confluence. All were prepared by ConnDOT, and discussed with town officials between 2004 and 2006.

Here they are. Click on or hover over each image to enalrge.

One envisioned 3 small roundabouts:

Another showed one large rotary:

Five others involved some combination of road widening, adding turning lanes, and eliminating or modifying the center island:

As the saying goes: Whatever goes around, comes around.

Or, in the case of the roads near Exit 42, whatever goes around may crash into whatever else goes around, unless everyone going around pays close attention.

“Most Confusing Intersection” Improvement Plan Begins

Westporters learn to carefully navigate it. Visitors coming off Merritt Parkway Exit 42 are completely flummoxed by it.

At last — after decades of confusion — the Route 57 (Main Street)/Route 136 (Easton Road and Weston Road) cluster**** may get some improvement.

The state Department of Transportation has designed a plan. They’ll discuss it in a virtual public information program this Thursday (June 9, 7 p.m.), with a presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

The meeting will be recorded. To access the meeting, provide comments or ask questions, click here (then scroll down to “Live Event Links”).

The plan includes replacing the existing flashing light with a full traffic signal, and widening the road.

The state Department of Transportation plan. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Right-of-way impacts could include partial land acquisitions and easements.

The project is in the early stages of concept development. No funding or schedule has been identified. The public meeting is to discuss feasibility and solicit feedback.

 

Pic Of The Day #1854

Believe it or not: A view from Main Street (Photo/Claudia Sherwood Servidio)

Pic Of The Day #1833

Main Street, last Sunday (Photo/Susan Leone)

P&Z To Address Downtown, Baron’s South Regs

Two important parts of Westport — downtown and Baron’s South — are on the Planning & Zoning Commission’s agenda next week.

The virtual meeting on Monday (February 7, 7 p.m.) includes text amendments to eliminate the prohibition on retail above the 1st floor on Main Street and environs; another to remove the prohibition limiting tenant size to 10,000 square feet in the same area, and an amendment to permit certain non-team activities in the open space nearby.

Proponents say removing the ban on 2nd floor retail would attract mom-and-pop-type shops, thanks to lower rents. A change allowing larger stores would eliminate the current practice of some tenants having separate entrances and branding for what are essentially the same stores.

The Architectural Review Board and Historic District Commission would retain oversight over the looks of downtown properties.

Retail is not permitted above the first floor on Main Street — though certain properties (like the Gap) are grandfathered in.

 

The Baron’s South proposal addresses current regulations, which prohibit organized non-team activities like guided walks, hikes and yoga classes in the meadow outside the Senior Center. Both the Senior Center and Parks & Recreation have indicated support for the text amendment, which would still prohibit organized team sports.

A prohibition against new structures — for example, pickleball courts — would also remain.

Guided hikes are currently prohibited on Baron’s South. (Photo/Judy James)

At the meeting, the P& will also consider proposals to opt out of 2 state provisions. One would enable the town of Westport to maintain its own requirements for accessory dwelling units. The other would allow the town to retain current regulations for the number of parking units required for multi-family dwellings.

If the P&Z chooses to opt out of those less strict state requirements, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) must also agree by a super-majority vote.

Full details are available here. Monday’s meeting will be livestreamed at www.westportct.gov. To submit comments, click here.

Friday Flashback #280

Two weeks ago, Steve Baldwin’s treasure trove of December 1967 downtown Westport photos drew plenty of comments.

Here’s another he contributed to the great “Exit 18” Facebook page.

Changes were soon to come to Main Street. Within months, Art’s Luncheonette would become Westport Pizzeria.

Within a few years, the Westport Furniture Center would burn to the ground. Oscar’s would move a couple of doors north.

More than half a century later though, the bones of Main Street still look basically the same.

Remarkable.

Friday Flashback #278

The other day, Steve Baldwin uploaded a treasure trove of photos to Facebook.

Taken in December 1967 — more than 50 years ago — they show a downtown that is both substantially different from, yet basically the same, as today.

The Post Road (aka State Street)/Main Street intersection shown below included Muriel’s Trolley Diner (underneath the traffic light), a smoke shop, and a row of wooden buildings that later burned to the ground. We also see a car turning into what was apparently 2-way traffic on Taylor Place.

The handsome building on the right — more obscured today — was the Westport Public Library. In front was a public park, taken over around that time by young people hanging out, playing guitars and (according to lore) selling and using drugs — hence the nickname “Needle Park.” Today that downtown oasis — meant to be open space in perpetuity — has been smothered in concrete.

This shot, looking north on Main Street, includes Welch’s — one of 3 hardware stores on the block — and, beyond the 3-story building, Greenberg’s. Within no more than a year or two of this photo, that decades-old store selling things like needles and thread closed. It was a victim of a roof collapse after a heavy snow, and changing tastes in retail.

Check out the traffic light in the middle of Main Street.

A few yards further north, we see Charles Food Store (one of 2 grocery markets on Main Street), and just beyond it, Sport Mart (before its 2nd floor was built). Although these photos were taken in December, the only Christmas decorations seem to be a few wreaths on Sport Mart.

Note the 2-way traffic on Main Street, too.

This view of Main Street, looking south, includes Klein’s department store — later Banana Republic — on the left  before its 2nd story was added on.

Thanks, Steve Baldwin, for these photos. Note to “06880” readers: We’re always looking for Friday Flashback images. If you’ve got good ones, please email dwoog@optonline.net.