The other evening, KMS Partners threw a fundraiser for Food Rescue US.
Food trucks and a band filled the site of the former Save the Children building, on Wilton Road. Next to the real estate firm’s new headquarters, it’s the future site of an architecturally intriguing 12-unit condo complex.
As I sat next to the Saugatuck River — the sun setting, and downtown beckoning just across the way — I thought, “It’s so close. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk there?”
Parker Harding Plaza, from the west bank of the Saugatuck River. (Photo/Dan Woog)
I could have used the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, of course. But the Post Road span is not pedestrian friendly. And it deposits you at the dicey, traffic-filled intersection with Parker Harding Plaza.
Once upon a time, there was discussion of fora pedestrian-only bridge. It was part of David Waldman’s plan to develop that Save the Children site.
Working with Roger Ferris + Partners architects, he wanted to move the house — at that point, a former yarn shop — at Wilton Road/Post Road West — to the Save the Children property. That would provide room for a turning lane at one of the state’s worst intersections.
As part of the plan, Waldman offered $100,000 toward the engineering and design of a pedestrian-only pontoon bridge.
The town rejected the idea. The developer reworked certain aspects of his design. The office portion has now been built. The condos are next.
But the landing area on the Wilton Road side is still available. A bridge could still be built, providing relaxing access from another point between the river’s west bank, and downtown. It could connect to Gorham Island, or perhaps the walkway near Rye Ridge Deli.
The walkway near Rye Ridge Deli could be one end of a pedestrian bridge across the Saugatuck River.
It’s not a novel concept. The Westport Arts Center once proposed a bridge from its then-headquarters on Riverside Avenue, to the library and Levitt Pavilion on the other side.
There are great spots to eat and shop on both sides of the river. But Westporters and visitors tend to think of them as 2 separate places.
A pedestrian bridge between Wilton Road and Parker Harding would probably cost $500,000 to $1 million.
Is the idea worth pursuing? If not, what’s another way to tie the energy and attractions of the quickly growing west bank to the close-but-sometimes-seems-so-far “downtown”?
What do you think? Click “Comments” below. We want your thoughts!