Tag Archives: Post Road

Pic Of The Day #778

Chilling downtown (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

Friday Flashback #102

Some things never change. The only constant is change.

Those 2 adages — which, like so many, sound completely contradictory — are expressed well in this fascinating photo:

The Post Road looks much as it does today. There’s traffic, stores, even the same trees, buildings and vistas.

But back when this photo was taken, the Post Road was called State Street. The shops and automobiles were different.

Look closely at the biggest building. That’s not even the Fine Arts Theater. In those days, it was called “Fine Arts Photoplay.”

Since 1999, of course, that property has been Restoration Hardware.

That may change too. Word on the street — State, Post Road, US 1, whatever you call it — is that the upscale home furnishings shop is slated to close.

If that rumor is true, I’ve got the perfect tenant. The Westport Cinema Initiative could convert it into — ta da! — a movie theater.

Let It Snow, Let It Blow …

You may not have been on the Post Road today. But Nick Hooper was. Here’s what he saw.

At 11:30 this morning — before high tide — water was already creeping over Canal Road. Ice, too. (Photo/Westport Police Department)

This plow was making its 2nd visit of the day. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Post Road Remains Closed Near Southport

The Post Road has been since 11:30 a.m., between Maple Avenue and Bulkley. Police are investigating a serious motor vehicle accident, with injuries.

(Photo/Seth Goltzer)

That’s right. This happened on a clear Wednesday morning, with presumably moderate traffic.

It’s one more reminder of the speed and lack of attention with which too many people drive around here.

It also could have been a medical emergency.

Be careful out there.

Ray Rauth: A Good Walk Spoiled

Last June, Ray Rauth walked across Connecticut. Literally — from the New York border to Rhode Island.

Even more impressive was the 120-mile route he took: US 1.

But the Weston resident — a member of the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board — was not planning to see every Jiffy Lube, Stop & Shop or Dunkin’ Donuts along the way.

His goal was to build awareness of road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. What better place to do that than the Post Road — the state’s deadliest.

Ray Rauth is a very brave man.

Now — after massaging his feet and evading death — Rauth has written a report. In 19 pages, he summarizes our woeful neglect of safety.

Of course, he also gives shout-outs to Connecticut’s beauty and health.

It’s a fascinating document. He covers lots of territory — literal and figurative — starting with Byram (zip code 06830) and ending in Pawcatuck (06379).

But since this blog is “06880,” I’ll limit this story to the dozen or so times Rauth cites Westport in his report.

The first mention comes in a section on pocket parks. “You don’t need a swing set or a swimming pool,” Rauth writes. “Just a calm nicely-kept shaded area with benches, maybe a picnic table and a relaxed atmosphere.”

Fairfield’s town green is one such spot. Another is “Barron’s [sic] North.”

Ray Rauth likes Winslow Park (which he calls “Barron’s North”).

Rauth likes beautiful downtowns. He is impressed with — among others — Darien, Fairfield, Clinton, Branford, Guilford and Mystic. However, he writes, Westport’s “sprawl of strip malls” makes “an almost deliberate effort to be ugly.”

In a section on safety, Rauth suggests that

town officials and employees should actually walk the streets and the sidewalks that they build and maintain. Bring along a few advocates for comment, advice and support. Pedestrian and bike access to areas such as the train station in Westport benefit from the knowledge of how awful they really are for the pedestrian.

Rauth calls the sidewalks from Post Road West from Whole Foods to the “lovely” Saugatuck River “meaningless. They did not exist, or changed sides of the road willy nilly, or were poorly kept.” In fact, he says Westport’s sidewalks are the worst in Fairfield County.

Actually, he notes in the next paragraph, “Westport has the worst Route 1 sidewalks in the state.” (He adds, hopefully, “I know that they are working on the problem.”)

Rauth then describes the Compo Shopping Center/Trader Joe’s intersection as arguably the town’s worst — and it has been for the nearly 30 years he’s lived in the area. However, he decides that “the really, really bad intersection” in Westport is at the train station. He does not, however, say exactly which one it is.

Ray Rauth used a photo like this in the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board’s 2016 annual report. It illustrates a crosswalk at the Riverside Avenue/Railroad Place intersection that leads to a parking lot, not a sidewalk.

We can argue about which is the worst intersection in town, or how bad our sidewalks really are. But we really don’t have a statewide comparison unless we’ve walked a mile in Ray Rauth’s shoes.

Make that 120 miles.

(Click here to read Ray Rauth’s entire report.)

Downtown Drone

I’m always amazed at how large downtown looms in our Westport minds — and how small it is in real life.

Staples High School sophomore Cole Schuster captures that dichotomy perfectly, in this spectacular drone view:

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Cole Schuster)

PS: If you’re wondering at the lack of traffic, and the few cars in Parker Harding: Cole took this last Sunday.

 

Ray Rauth Walks For Safety

On the list of things people enjoy doing, walking on the Post Road is pretty low. It’s right down there with root canals and listening to Kevin tell you about his power-washing business.

Ray Rauth doesn’t mind walking on the Post Road. He looks forward to it.

In fact, he’s walking the entire Post Road in Connecticut. From the New York border (Rye) to Rhode Island (Westerly), this very fit (and brave) man will walk 120 miles, all on US 1.

Ray Rauth (Photo/Gregory Menti for Weston Forum)

Ray Rauth (Photo/Gregory Menti for Weston Forum)

He’s not a kook. He’s not visiting car dealerships, donut shops and supermarkets.

Rauth’s goal is to build awareness of road safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Route 1 is Connecticut’s deadliest road. Ten pedestrians have been killed on it the last 3 years — including right here in our town.

Rauth — a Weston resident who is a member of the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board — wants every death investigated. He urges a team approach, including the town’s mayor or first selectman, police chief, local traffic authority, engineer, a medical expert, and the region’s bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization.

Rauth starts today. Tomorrow, around 1 p.m. — god and observant drivers willing — he’ll walk through Westport.

If you see him, offer support. It might be food or drink. It might be a thumb’s-up sign. It might be a honk.

A very gentle honk.

Ray Rauth will take his life in his hands when he walks along the Post Road in Westport tomorrow.

Ray Rauth takes his life in his hands when he walks along the Post Road in Westport tomorrow.

(Hat tip: Tracy Yost)

Another Mid-Day, Perfect Weather Crash Ties Up Post Road

The number of automobile accidents that occur here in broad daylight, with beautiful weather, is truly astonishing.

This one happened late this morning, on the Post Road across from the Westport Inn.

(Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

(Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

Fortunately, no one was hurt.

This time.

Lotsa Lights

As the holiday season winds down, twinkling lights are replaced by traffic ones.

The Post Road/Imperial Avenue/Myrtle Avenue intersection sports a ton of new signals (and new crosswalks). The just-installed lights are not yet activated.

Myrtle Avenue traffic lights

Continuing the Christmas theme though, they’re red and green.

A Developing Story

Ever since the Wright Street and Gorham Island buildings were erected in the 1970s — and those were quite some erections — Westport has been consumed by construction.

Even so, 2014 stands out as a landmark year.

Here are some of the developments — as in, real estate developments — that have occurred in the past few months. Or are occurring right now.

  • The Y moved into its new home. The Kemper-Gunn House is being moved across Elm Street to the parking lot, and Bedford Square will soon rise downtown.
  • The Levitt Pavilion finally completed its renovation. Nearby, plans for Jesup Green — with possibly reconfigured parking, a new Westport Arts Center and a renovated library — are in the works. And, of course, committees and commissions have been talking all year about new ideas for all of downtown.
  • Across the river, Save the Children has skedaddled. That fantastic waterfront property will be redeveloped, such as the adjacent Bartaco/National Hall buildings have been reimagined recently.
The west side of the Saugatuck River is also part of the new downtown plan. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer for DowntownWestportCT.com)

The west side of the Saugatuck River includes the old National Hall and the relatively new Wright Street building. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer for DowntownWestportCT.com)

  • Compo Acres Shopping Center is being renovated. The Fresh Market shopping center — and the one across the Post Road, with Dunkin’ Donuts — will get a facelift (and new tenants) soon.
  • Applications have been made for housing on the site of the Westport Inn. Across town, there are rumors of new housing on Hiawatha Lane, near I-95 Exit 17.
  • Senior housing has been shot down on Baron’s South. But it won’t remain undisturbed forever.
  • Phase II of Saugatuck Center has been completed. Phase III — on  Railroad Place — is coming down the tracks.

That’s a lot — as in, lots of building lots.

And nearly 2 months still remain in this year.

P.S. Oh, yeah. The beach too.