Tag Archives: Westport bus shelter

Roundup: Bus Shelters, Cell Tower, Strawberry Moon …

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Westport has taken a big step toward adding more bus shelters.

Last night the Planning & Zoning Commission voted 5-0, with 1 abstention, on a text amendment. It adopts a definition for “bus shelters,” and exempts them from being considered a “structure.” That removes many obstacles from where they can be located.

Transportation and employment advocates have pushed for more bus shelters for years. Before last night bus shelters were deemed to be structures, and could not be located within the 30-foot setback along roads.

Thus, except for one shelter near Stop & Shop, bus riders on the Post Road must stand in all kinds of weather, on sidewalks or even the roadway.

Approval for new bus shelter locations will be made by the director of Public Works, in consultation with the Police and Fire Departments.

Among the people working for years for this change are members of the ad hoc Bus Shelter Working Group (Pippa Bell Ader, Harold Bailey, Ross Burkhardt, Ron Corwin, Jennifer Johnson, Melissa Kane and Larry Weisman), plus Peter Boyd of Sustainable Westport, and Planning & Zoning director Mary Young.

Click here for full details of the text amendment.

Waiting for the bus. (Photos courtesy of Planning & Zoning Commission Bus Shelter Working Group)

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Earlier this month, “06880” reported on a proposal to build a cell tower on private property at 92 Greens Farms Road.

An information session is set for Monday (June 28, 5:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium

To provide written comments before the session, email selectman@westportct.gov.

A cell tower been proposed for the property on the left: 92 Greens Farms Road. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

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Though the Westport Country Playhouse will not host any live productions this summer, the famed theater is opening up for special events.

They include cabaret performances tomorrow (Saturday, June 26, 8 p.m., with Tonya Pinkins and Brad Simmons, and another cabaret July 24); an in-person screening of the virtual production “Tiny House” (Tuesday, June 29), and more. (Click here for details.)

Playhouse managing director Michael Barker filmed a “welcome back” video. Click below to enjoy.

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Longtime Westporter Herman Smith died June 17. He was 84

Herman lived in The Villages, Florida for nearly 20 years, but called Westport and Danbury home. He was the second of 4 generations of Westport residents, following his father who started a business in the 1940s.

Herman was educated in the Westport school system, from kindergarten through his graduation from Staples High School in 1955. He then attended the Engineering Institute of Bridgeport. He was also honorably discharged from the United States Air Force, and served in the National Guard.

Herman was in management at United Parcel Services, working in the South New England District for over 30 years. He retired in 1995.

Herman Smith

Herman was an original member of the Gents, and a long time member of the African American Club at The Villages. He enjoyed his time with the Frogs and Flakes, and the ROMEOs with his neighbors on Lawson Loop.

He was also a collector of baseball hats, an avid golfer and a world traveler.  He and his wife Mary Fran traveled  to over 25 countries, and visited all 7 continents.

His favorite spots and activities included his gardens in Westport, boating on Candlewood Lake, golfing at the Villages, watching the ocean at Daytona Beach Shores and making memories at Disney with his family.

He was predeceased by his parents, John Herman and Jane Smith, and sister, Jane “Patsy” Smith. Herman is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Mary Frances; children Mark of The Villages, Florida; Susan of New Haven, and Scott (Jane) of Westport, CT), and grandchildren Brandon, Jacob and Joshua.

Herman’s family will celebrate his legacy by establishing a scholarship in his name to advance the education and talents of promising youth. In lieu of flowers, they ask for contributions to that scholarship once it is established. Donations may also be made to another charity that fittingly honors Herman’s kind spirit, generous soul and full life.

A memorial service is planned for July 10 (11 a.m., Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services, The Villages, Florida). A celebration of Herman’s life will also be held in Connecticut in September.

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Last night’s Strawberry Moon was marred by a few clouds. But Daniel Johnson was one of many Westporters who gathered at Compo Beach. He captured this great shot:

(Photo/Daniel Johnson)

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Today in “Westport … Naturally”: Miggs Burroughs spotted this white deer in his Old Hill backyard. It (or a relative) has appeared once a year, for the past several years. Miggs writes:

“According to Native American legend, the appearance of an all-white deer signifies an abundant harvest. I must say, I have more weeds this year than ever.”

(Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

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And finally … in honor of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s vote last night that will lead to more (much-needed) bus shelters in Westport:

Roundup: Starbucks Smiles Update, The Bats, Bus Shelters …

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Last Wednesday, “06880” posted a plea from Amanda DeRosa. The Westport mom sought help for her favorite Starbucks worker, a woman in dire straits due to deliver a baby in September.

Less than 5 days later — yesterday morning — Amanda delivered $4,550 in gift cards to the woman. They’re for stores like Buy Buy Baby, Target and Stop & Shop — and they’re all courtesy of “06880” readers.

“I’ve never felt so much joy in my heart,” says Amanda, about the moment she handed the cards (and flowers) to the woman.

“She said she couldn’t believe it. She felt her mom” — who died before she was a teenager — “was looking out for her. We both hugged and cried.”

Thanks go to Amanda — and the more than 100 very generous “06880” readers, who helped make one life a little brighter today.

Amanda DeRose (right) and her Starbucks friend.

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Rex Fowler has played the Levitt Pavilion before. So has Dodie Pettit,

But they’ve never played the Levitt together before.

They’re on stage Thursday (June 24). Of course, Rex and Dodie are not some fill-up-an-empty-date wannabes.

They’re Aztec Two Step 2.0. They’ve toured internationally; their music is known far and wide.

But on Thursday, the husband-and-wife duo will be performing in their home town.

Joining them are other noted musicians, including Westporter Joe Meo and Westonite Chris Coogan. It’s free, but tickets are required. Click here to register, and for more information.

Aztec Two Step 2.0 (from left): Muddy Roues, Joe Meo, Dodie Pettit, Rex Fowler, Peter Hohmeister, Chris Coogan.

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Speaking of music: REO Speedwagon and Styx will open the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport on July 28.

It’s part of the “We Are Back Tour 2021.”

The name is fitting. In 1971,  the most popular track on Speedwagon’s debut album was “157 Riverside Avenue.” That’s where — in Westport — they stayed while recording at Leka’s studio. Which (speaking of “we are back”) was in Bridgeport.

“157 Riverside Avenue” remains one of the band’s concert favorites. No word on whether they’ll take a side trip next month to their old stomping grounds.

If so, they won’t recognize it. Ten years ago, it became just another teardown.

(Tickets for the Bridgeport show go on sale Friday, June 25, 10 a.m. at LiveNation.com.)

(Photo/Peter Tulupman)

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Staples High School’s graduation ceremony last week was special for 450-plus graduates.

It was extra special for 12.

Russell Sherman writes: “In 2009, a group of kindergarten boys started their Little League careers together on a team called The Bats.

“Over the years the boys stayed in touch, and so have the parents. Thursday night, following Staples graduation 12 years later, they gathered for a reunion to celebrate.

“They are fantastic kids. It has been a privilege watching them all grow up. Obviously it is an emotional time for all of us parents. But we can’t help but be proud of them, and excited for what’s to come.”

The Bats, all grown up …

Front row (from left): Danlel Rosenkranz, John Vincini, Owen Sherman, Tucker Lawrence. Middle row: Coach Steve Vincini, Quinn Jumper, Eduardo Andrade, Sam Kleiner, Mathew Ambrifi. Standing: Coaches Russell Sherman and Eduardo Andrade.
Missing: Lucas Dimyan, Steve Greenberg, Mike Greenberg. (Photo/Scilla Vincini)

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Next on the Planning & Zoning Commission agenda: bus shelters.

On Thursday (June 24, 6 p.m.) the board holds a public hearing. A proposed text amendment would define bus shelters, exempt them from coverage requirements, and permit them within the front landscape area setbacks.

An explanatory statement notes that in Westport, bus shelters are considered structures with no special exemptions. Installing them adjacent to the roadway and within the 30-foot front landscape area requires a variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The proposal will explicitly define bus Shelters, specify which features are permitted there, specify which agencies are responsible for overseeing the locations, exempt bus shelters from coverage requirements. and allow them to be located within the 30-foot front landscape area setbacks adjacent to the roadway without a variance.

The P&Z meeting will be live streamed on www.westportct.gov, and on Optimum Government Access Channel 79 and Frontier Channel 6020.  Comments may be sent prior to the meeting at PandZ@westportct.gov, and during the meeting at PandZComments@westportct.gov. Interested parties may join virtually to offer live testimony during the meeting if the meeting link is requested by sending an email to maryyoung@westportct.gov by noontime on the day of the meeting.

Waiting for the bus — without a shelter. (Photos courtesy of Planning & Zoning Commission Bus Shelter Working Group

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Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is Molly Alger’s darling dahlia:

(Photo/Molly Alger)

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And finally … happy 68th birthday, to the amazing Cyndi Lauper!

Gimme Shelter

We see them standing forlornly along the Post Road, at most hours of the day and in every type of weather.  They’re the men and women who work in our stores, our yards, our homes — and whose only transportation is the Coastal Link bus.

No, that’s wrong.  We don’t really see them.  We stare right past them.

Otherwise, we’d have done something to protect them long ago.  Right now the only shelter is on Bulkeley Avenue South, a bit off the Post Road.  It was built a couple of years ago, courtesy of the Rotary Club.

A year ago, Westport’s Human Services Commission recognized the need for more bus shelters.  But as with most things governmental, a good idea was no match for rules and regulations.  There were applications to fill out, issues of jurisdiction,  insurance questions to answer.

Steven Hill, director of finance and administrative services for the Norwalk Transit District — the entity that operates Westport’s bus service — was key to making things happen.

The planned shelter — in front of Stop & Shop, where many bus riders gather — is on a state right-of-way, adding several layers of bureaucracy.  At last, all parties have agreed.  The town of Westport will pour concrete for the base of the shelter in early June.  It will be finished soon after.

That’s one shelter, out of many that are needed.  Barbara Butler, Human Services director, promises to work on others.

Next month, look for Westport’s newest bus shelter.  And while you’re at it, keep an eye out for the men and women who use it too.

Coastal Link bus route