For years, a pair of shopping centers — Compo (CVS, Gold’s, etc.), and Compo Acres across the street (Trader Joe’s, Silver’s, etc.) — reigned as Westport’s Worst Parking Lots. Parker Harding gave it a valiant effort, but no other place came close.
Suddenly, a challenger has emerged.
Over the past couple of weeks, Playhouse Square roared out of control. A combination of the holiday post office rush, the opening of the very popular Granola Bar, and snow that makes the narrow lanes even more congested, created — well, the perfect storm.
But don’t take my word for it. Here’s an email from an exasperated “06880” reader:
Today as I drove east on the Post Road, I noticed an enormous line of cars waiting to enter the Playhouse Square parking lot. I’ve made several visits to the post office in the past couple of weeks, and the situation has gotten progressively worse.
Cars stack up on the Post Road, waiting to enter Playhouse Square. It happens both westbound and eastbound.
There are not enough spaces, and when you park near the entrance, it is difficult to exit from your space due to the line of cars entering the lot. But today was the first time that I saw a line on the Post Road itself.
Once they enter the lot, drivers face a long — often unmoving — line of cars. This photo shows at least 7.
This is a traffic hazard for everyone, and the police should be concerned too. I thought about ways to avoid this problem but even if I found a parking spot somewhat nearby and walked, there are no snow-cleared sidewalks, nor is there a reasonably close crosswalk for the Post Road in the vicinity.
They can’t move because the cars in front of them are waiting for spots. And there are no spots, because drivers can’t back out because cars can’t move!
I am not sure where to direct a complaint, so I hope our selectmen will take notice. How long does the post office lease last? This is not a good location for a post office. At least the old one was surrounded by many lots, and one could walk there easily.
Sometimes, 2 exit lanes work. Often, they don’t.
This location has only one access point, in a very busy area in the best of times. When you add snow to the holiday season, it is abysmal. Is it not possible for the postal service to open a satellite location like we used to have near exit 17?
There are 2 answers. One is to use the Green’s Farms post office — but that’s way out of the way, for anyone not in the neighborhood.
The other is to use the Westport Country Playhouse parking lot. At least for now, the gate is open to Playhouse Square. But leaving via the narrow Playhouse driveway is no picnic either — because there is no traffic light, and cars may be lined up in front of you waiting to enter, yes, Playhouse Square.
Meanwhile, there are more problems in the “upper” lot. These 2 drivers parked illegally by the left curb, creating even narrower driving lanes — and more chaos.
Should I even mention the dozens of Dattco buses, spewing smoke as they stack up outside the tiny entrance to their yard across the street?
And, past the post office, the sidewalk juts unnecessarily into the lot, near the flagpole. That funnels drivers into yet another bottleneck.