Tag Archives: Westport railroad station

Roundup: Crosswalks, Branches, Lanternflies …

Connecticut’s Department of Transportation begins work next year on several local crosswalks — including the notorious “worst intersection in the state” (Routes 1 and 33, aka Post Road West, Riverside Avenue and Wilton Road).

The DOT will also work on:

  • Route 33 (Wilton Road) at Merritt Parkway Connector and Spring Hill Road
  • Route 57 (Weston Road) at Broad Street and Good Hill Road (Weston)
  • Route 33 (Saugatuck Avenue) at I-95 southbound ramps
  • Route 1 (Post Road East) at Playhouse Square Shopping Center
  • Route 1 (Post Road West) at Sylvan Road
  • Route 1 (Post Road East) at Turkey Hill Roads North and South
  • Sherwood Island Connector at Greens Farms Road and Post Road East.

The good news: Upgrades include countdown pedestrian indicators, accessible pedestrian push buttons, and “concurrent pedestrian phasing.”

The bad news: There are no actual traffic, sightline or other improvements.

The timetable: Design plans are expected to be completed in February, with advertising for construction in April.

So don’t expect to cross at the green quite yet.

Upgrades (of a sort) are coming here (“soon”).

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Speaking of the Post Road: Pam Kesselman sends along this photo of dead branches towering over Compo Road South, near the Route 1 intersection:

(Photo/Pam Kesselman)

She worries that they could fall on a driver or pedestrian, and hopes the town takes notice.

Tree maintenance there is (I believe) the responsibility of the state (state roads) or the owner of Compo Acres Shopping Center.

At any rate, Pam is not the first “06880” reader to have noticed these dead branches recently.

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Last week, when Y’s Men acting gardening chair Chuck Greenlee learned that a spotted lanternfly was spotted at the Westport Community Gardens, he did 2 things.

He sent a photo to “06880”:

Spotted lanternfly (Photo/JP Montillier)

And he reported it to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station (reportSLF@ct.gov).

They quickly replied: “Thank you for your inquiry concerning spotted lanternfly. The insect you have photographed is indeed a SLF. Your town is already known to be infested. For tips on dealing with SLF, please click here. Should you find any more insects, please kill them immediately with any means at your disposal. Thank you again for your interest.”

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Speaking of the environment: Tickets are on sale now for Earthplace’s famed Woodside Bash fundraiser. It’s October 1 (7 p.m.), under the stars and beside a firepit.

Though it’s adults-only, kids are welcome the following day (October 2, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), for the also-annual Fall Festival. Earthplace buzzes with a corn pool, obstacle course, climbing wall, food trucks and more. Click here for tickets.

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Last week’s story on Ed Capasse’s star turn as a Staples High School marching band member/Saturday Evening Post cover model cast a new light on Stevan Dohanos’ famous 1946 painting.

Ed Capasse is in the upper left.

It used to be sold at the Westport Historical Society. Now it’s available only online.

But — as former Westporter/longtime Oregonian/avid “06880” reader Robert Gerrity discovered — there are plenty of places to purchase it. Among them:

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Speaking of posters: Yesterday’s music memories from Woodstock — the “lotta freaks!” festival that ended 53 years ago (!) today — brought an email from longtime Westporter Matt Murray.

Plus this photo:

Matt explains:

“This is an original. I worked for the guys who started and funded the concert (Joel Roseman and the late John Roberts). They were partners in the NYC recording studio, Mediasound.

“I was an assistant engineer and gopher (go for this, go for that). Another guy and I saw a stack of these in their office. We asked if we could have a few. Sure!

“Still have ’em, 47 years later.”

Matt adds: “For the studio’s Christmas party, leftover Woodstock tickets were used as bar chits. Being youthful, I used mine for drinks. The bartender tore them in half. A fellow worker thought better of that idea, and hung on to his tickets. Smart person.”

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Today’s Entitled Parking post comes from already-narrow Railroad Place:

(Photo/Karen Kramer)

No, that’s not a parking space. And it never was, even back in the day when that very cool Camaro rolled off the line.

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August is usually a very green month in Westport (though the summer-long lack of rain makes it a bit browner than usual).

Soon, we’ll be awash in a gorgeous palette of leaf-changing colors.

Meanwhile, there’s this beautiful “Westport … Naturally” display, spotted by Fred Cantor on Hillspoint Road:

(Photo/Fred Cantor)

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And finally … August 17, 1969 marked the final day of Woodstock. Among the performers then:

Crosby Stills Nash & Young played that day too. This song later became an anthem for the event:

Pics Of The Day #809

One view of the Saugatuck railroad station …

… and another (Photos/Gene Borio)

More Saugatuck News: Railroad Parking Lot Closed Beginning Monday

It’s official: Construction begins this Monday (July 11) on railroad station Lot 1 — the one across the street from the former Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow. The projected completion date is after Labor Day (September 5).

Alternate parking locations have been created at both the Saugatuck and Greens Farms stations. Commuters should figure on an additional 5-10 minutes on Monday to get used to the new setup.

Saugatuck railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Saugatuck railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Commuters are encourage to use the shuttle service from the Imperial Avenue parking lot to Saugatuck train. The link to the schedule for the shuttle is listed below. Shuttle service may be expanded, depending on need. Click here for more information, including schedules.

For more information on railroad parking, click here.

Greens Farms railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Greens Farms railroad station temporary parking. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Mark Groth Remembers 1968’s Nightly Le Mans

It’s been a long time since Mark Groth lived in Westport. A 1968 graduate of Staples High School — where he served as president of Staples Players’ Stage and Technical Staff — he’s now media production director at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

But — like many other expats — he’s an avid “06880” reader. A recent post noting a 5-year wait for a railroad station parking sticker piqued his interest.

He recalled a different era: a time when not every family had (at least) 2 cars. So someone had to pick up Dad every night. Mark writes:

Every night, the New Haven Railroad commuter train arrived in Westport at 6:26. A hundred mostly male workers disembarked for a ride to home, hearth and dinner. Some would have napped for an hour. Some spent convivial time in the bar car. Many wives came to pick up their husbands.

New Haven RailroadLike many others, I spent time in the back seat on this nightly exercise. But in the late ’60s I took driver’s education at Staples High School. My classmates and I could handle this mundane daily task, and free up our mothers for a few minutes before dinner was on the table.

This was also a chance to exercise our planning and driving skills. I had an older brother, so I knew the importance of leaving the uninitiated proles in the dust. Many dads willingly participated in this testosterone-pumping event.

Two good friends, Lee and Paul, were my major competitors. We would arrive early, then sit with engines running in the exit lane waiting for the hard core to exit the train before it stopped.

Hitting the ground running, assured that their ride was waiting, clutch in, our fathers slalomed between parked cars. We leaned over opened the passenger door, and they slid in.

When he wasn't picking up his father, Mark Groth played guitar.

When he wasn’t picking up his father, Mark Groth played guitar.

Out the east end exit we flew. We took the 90-degree left turn (watching out for annoying late arrivals), then the 180 degrees down and under the railroad bridge, and a quick right onto Riverside.

Snowy roads and an occasional 4-wheel drift under the bridge were tricky.

But summer was swell. Paul and I had convertibles, so our fathers did not have to duck to jump into the passenger seat. That gave us a split-second lead on sedans.

There were no trophies for the evening races, just the satisfaction of a certain style for a teenage driver.

One night, I was running late. I saw the big diesel engine pull in as I zipped under the bridge. Paul and Lee were already in position. I didn’t have time to go down to the parking entrance, getting caught in the melee as I failed my father and brought shame on our family.

So as I came up under the bridge I slammed on the brakes, threw it into reverse and backed up into the exit, right in front of Paul. His mouth dropped.

Carl Groth goes for the gold.

Carl Groth goes for the gold.

I had great position. My father dodged the parked cars, and slid in. Idling in first with the clutch in, I hit it. The door slammed. We went out the exit, under the bridge and off to freedom. I have joyously relived and savored that extremely lucky night ever since.

Paul and Lee sometimes beat me. It was pretty even who got out first. But we all had a wonderful time. We turned a tedious chore into our own chariot race.

The camaraderie of that brief teenage game made it a memorable part of our adolescence. Westport had its own true Golden Age.