Tag Archives: Saugatuck train station

Pic Of The Day #1056

Moon over Saugatuck train station, earlier this evening (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Pic Of The Day #713

Saugatuck train station (Photo/Katherine Bruan)

All A(bill)board!

Last month, the Westport Transit District announced a new commuter shuttle marketing campaign.

Unlike many Metro-North trains, it arrived on time.

Recently — with the help of Police Chief Foti Koskinas and his team — the WTD installed new billboards at the Saugatuck and Greens Farms railroad station.

They’re eye-catching. And clever.

A much-needed route map helps too:

The WTD is also placing 5 x 7 route and information cards all around town: the stations, coffee shops, library, Town Hall and at real estate agencies, to name a few.

Meanwhile, they’ve sent emails to railroad parking permit holders, those on the wait list, and the Westport Parks and Recreation list. Those have generated interest in the WestportTransit.org website, which includes schedules and instructions on how to download the MyStop app. (Yes, it takes you to the Norwalk Transit District site. You’re in the right place.)

The Westport Transit District is making all the right moves to boost ridership.

Plus, those billboards give you something to look at while you wait for that overdue train.

Pic Of The Day #174

Everyone enjoys the Saugatuck train station pedestrian tunnel. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Pic Of The Day #107

Waiting for a train (Photo/Marc Sandy Block)

RTM Paves Way For Train Station Parking Plan

Construction begins next month on the renovation of Saugatuck train station parking lot #1.

The RTM voted last night 24-2 — with 3 abstentions — to approve the controversial $1.5 million plan.

There will be 2 exits, not 1 as in the original design. The one next to Luciano Park is larger too, with 1 entrance and 2 exit lanes.

Also included: new LED lights; another stairway; repaving; raising the lot out of the flood zone; trees; a sidewalk, and an improved streetscape.

Work is projected to be finished before Labor Day.

An aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center).

An aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center).

BREAKING NEWS: Exits Added To Train Station Parking Lot Plan

This good-news email was just sent to railroad parking lot pass holders, from Police Chief Foti Koskinas: 

After additional communication with commuters and users of Saugatuck train station parking lot #1, the Railroad Division of the Westport Police Department requested that the engineers responsible for the project reconsider the single driveway entrance and exit plan

The proposed modifications will meet safety requirements, while reducing potential exit wait times during periods of high traffic flow.

The resulting modifications allow for 2 entrance/exit driveways, and the addition of a right-hand turn lane to the originally proposed entrance/exit driveway.

The email says that the changes will result in a loss of 7 spaces. Seems like a small price to pay for a common-sense change. Tomorrow night (Tuesday, June 7, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), the RTM considers a $1.5 million appropriation request for the plan.

The new parking lot #1 plan. Sorry -- this is the only size I could find!

The new parking lot #1 plan. Sorry — this is the only size I could find!

(Hat tip: Pam Kopack)

Commuters: Meet Police Chief Monday A.M.; Watch New Traffic Pattern Monday P.M.

Commuters have concerns about the proposed reconstruction of Saugatuck railroad station parking lot 1.

Foti Koskinas is ready to hear them out. And show them exactly what’s being planned.

Tomorrow morning (Monday, June 6, 6 to 8:30 a.m.), the police chief will be at the station. He’ll listen to what commuters say, and help clarify the scope of the work.

Tomorrow afternoon (Monday, June 6, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.), he’ll close 4 of the 5 exits from the lot — simulating (as best he can) the traffic pattern if the renovation plan is approved.

An aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center). Only one exit will be used Monday from 5:30-7:30 p.m., to simulate the proposed reconstruction plan.

An aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center). Only one exit will be used Monday from 5:30-7:30 p.m., to simulate the proposed reconstruction plan.

Anyone wishing to observe the experiment (as opposed to being part of it) should park in lot #2 (off Railroad Place) or on Franklin Street, and watch from Luciano Park. That way, pedestrians will not impede traffic flow.

“Our goal is to work with the community,” Koskinas says. “Everyone wants what is best for the commuter, while at the same time highlighting safety while following required rules and regulations.”

Changes Ahead For Commuter Lot?

A new bridge over the Saugatuck River, and a new look for Railroad Place, are not the only changes being considered for the area near the train station.

This Tuesday (June 7, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall), the RTM will consider a proposal to redesign train station parking lot 1. That’s the area adjacent to Luciano Park, directly opposite the old Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow building.

An aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center).

An aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center). Luciano Park is the green area on its right. The state-owned lot near Exit 17 is on the left.

The lot is owned jointly by the town of Westport, and state of Connecticut. It’s in poor condition, needing repaving, re-striping and flood mitigation. The redesign addresses those issue — and provides improved lighting, more electric car charging stations, a new pedestrian staircase, partial sidewalks, new crosswalks in the lot, and plenty of trees.

However, because the lot’s 5 exits do not conform to current state and town regulations, they would be reconfigured — and reduced to just 1. All cars entering and exiting the lot would use a single point, next to Luciano Park. Police chief Foti Koskinas estimates that could increase exiting time by 6 minutes. (There would be 2 emergency exits as well.)

It’s estimated that the reconfiguration would reduce the lot’s capacity from 320 to 310.

Earlier this week, the RTM Transit Committee voted on the proposal. They deadlocked, 3-3.

(To access the full bid document, click here. Hat tip: Jennifer Johnson, RTM member, District 9)

 

 

Eminent Domain: Coming To Saugatuck Soon?

This morning’s post on a recent Town Hall meeting with state representatives carried a brief mention of a proposed bill. It would create an entity — the Connecticut Transit Corridor Development Authority — aimed at encouraging business development within a 1/2-mile radius of rail or bus transit stations.

State Representative Gail Lavielle responded quickly to “06880.” The bill, she says, would “make 8-30g” — Connecticut’s affordable housing mandate — “look like a picnic.”

Lavielle says the TCDA could “allow 11 state-level political appointees to do anything they wanted in the name of transit-oriented development (build affordable housing, expropriate people and businesses, build multi-story buildings, etc.)” — and do it within half a mile of the Saugatuck train station.

And, she notes, it could be done “without any approvals from Westporters or their elected officials at all.”

Uh oh.

Bridge Square is within half a mile of the Saugatuck railroad station. (Photo by Terry Cosgrave)

Bridge Square is within half a mile of the Saugatuck railroad station. (Photo by Terry Cosgrave)

The bill has been flying under the radar, Lavielle says. She found out about it only because, as an Appropriations subcommittee member responsible for the Department of Transportation budget, she asked about a line item for it.

DOT knew nothing about it, she says. She had to get facts from the governor’s office.

Lavielle says that in Newington — site of a new busway — concerned citizens have started a Facebook page called “Our Town. Our Choice. No to HB 6851.”

train station parkingLavielle believes that the Metro-North/I-95 corridor is a prime target area for TDCA’s activities.

And, she adds, “unlike with 8-30g, there is no appeals process. Not even a bad one.”

Saugatuck has been buzzing lately about plans for Phase III of its redevelopment.

Suddenly, there’s a bit more to buzz about.

(To read the full House Bill 6851, click here. To read Lavielle’s piece about the proposal in the Norwalk Hour, click here.)