Tag Archives: Westport sidewalks

Use The Sidewalk. It’s The Law!

It’s not the weightiest question ever — nothing like, say, what came before the Big Bang, or who killed JFK.

But it sure puzzles me. Why — when there are perfectly good sidewalks — do so many Westporters choose instead to walk in the road?

North Avenue.  South Compo. Long Lots. You name it: If there’s a sidewalk, most people won’t use it.

Sometimes they’re on the opposite side (walking incorrectly, with traffic). Sometimes they’re on the same side as the sidewalk. Yet they ignore it — or worse yet, treat it with contempt. Like, screw you, sidewalk. I’m not going walk on you.

Sidewalks are for other people.

For a long time I thought that was my pet peeve. But I have company.

The other day, alert “06880”reader/former Staples High School classmate, and — most importantly for this story, retired Westport Police detective — Dave Eason emailed me.

He had just gotten home after running errands. No one was on the sidewalks — but he saw plenty of folks on the roads.

Turns out, we’re not the only ones aggravated by this. Dave sent along Connecticut General Statute 14-300c (a). It says:

No pedestrian shall walk along and upon a roadway where a sidewalk adjacent to such roadway is provided and the use thereof is practicable.

I don’t imagine this is Chief Foti Koskinas’ top enforcement priority. Nor should it be.

But here’s your warning, streetwalkers: The law is on our side.

Sidewalks are there on the side too. Use them!

The Sidewalks Of Westport

Westport’s annual Sidewalk Sale takes place this weekend.

But this is not a story about that.

In fact, when they move here or visit from other parts of the country, people often remark on the lack of sidewalks in Westport.

We’ve got them.

We just don’t use them.

The other day, I drove from the beach, down South Compo, up North Compo, then Cross Highway and North Avenue to Staples.

There are sidewalks most of the way.

The number of folks on them: Zero.

Nada. Nil.

Okay, maybe they’re crossing the street. But this is the closest photo I could find to showing people in the road, when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk nearby.

I did see people on the sides of the road, sandwiched between speeding cars and grass, on the other side of which were perfectly good, safe and completely empty sidewalks.

I saw people walking abreast, chatting.

I saw people walking alone, headphones on, oblivious to the world.

I saw several women (and one man) pushing mega-strollers, right there on the street.

I’m not sure why Westporters don’t use sidewalks.

Is it laziness (you may have to cross the street to get there)?

Is it ignorance (people don’t know they’re there — or have no idea what they’re used for)?

Perhaps the sidewalks are cracked or uneven (though as a bike rider, I know our streets are not exactly baby-bottom smooth)?

If you’ve got a theory, please click “Comments” below. And if you’re one of the (many) non-sidewalk-using Westporters, I’d really like to know!

Sidewalks And Snow

Clearing sidewalks of snow is not just courtesy.

It’s the law.

Here’s what it says (thanks, RTM moderator Eileen Flug!):

“Sec. 50-407. – Business use sidewalks—Snow and ice removal.
The owner or person in possession and control of any property adjoining any business use sidewalk shall provide for the removal of snow and ice from such business use sidewalk within 24 hours after the deposit or formation of snow or ice.”

Here’s the definition of “business use sidewalk”:
“Business use sidewalk means any adjoining sidewalk abutting a public street located in any district in which business uses are permitted under the Planning and Zoning Regulations of the Town. The term “sidewalk” shall include curbing, integral, adjoining or detached, and that portion of the pedestrian walkway which crosses a driveway.”

Alert “06880” reader Molly Alger knows at least one property owner who has not complied:

snow-on-sidewalk-post-road

I wonder where that poor guy is going to go in a couple of yards.