Monday, May 20, 2013
Comings & Goings: Steam to Green’s Farms Station
A new coffee, bakery and sandwich shop, Steam, will open at the Green’s Farms Metro-North station by late June, according to co-owners Briana Pennell and Chris Barrett. They were awarded the right to use the site in a Town of Westport competitive bid process. Deputy Police Chief Foti Koskinas was at the station today with the couple. “Renovations began about one week ago, and the new business should be operational sometime in mid to late June,” he said. Norwalk resident Pennell, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, is a pastry chef. Barrett, a Stamford resident, has a background in the restaurant business. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Police Close Commuter Lot to Accommodate Buses
The Westport Police Department said today that parking lot No. 2 at the Westport station in Saugatuck will be closed to commuter parking until 9 a.m. Tuesday to accommodate buses.
A Norwallk Transit District bus picks up passengers today in a parking lot adjacent to lot No. 2 at the Westport station. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for WestportNow.com
The lot is at the end of Railroad Place adjacent to the New York-bound tracks.
A statement said Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Norwalk Transit District (NTD) shuttle buses will be using this lot to stage, drop off and pick up riders.
“In order to turn buses, no cars can be parked here,” the statement said. “This will impact about 50 spaces until 9 a.m.. If demand is low then the lot will be opened sooner.”
Dense Fog Advisory
The National Weather Service in Upton, N.Y. has issued a dense fog advisory for Westport and area in effect from midnight today to 10 a.m. Tuesday.
An advisory said visibility at times will be one-quarter mile or less at times.
Metro-North President: Extra Track Inspections Ordered
Howard Permut: safety highest priority. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The president of Metro-North Railroad, Howard Permut, told riders today the railroad has upgraded its inspection of tracks following the derailment and collision in Bridgeport.
In a message posted on the Metro-North website, Permut said: “Since Friday, we have taken extra precautions, including additional track inspections, and will increase this effort going forward.”
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said they had taken particular interest in a fracture in a section of the eastbound track at the collision site. But they were unsure whether the fracture happened before the derailment or as a result of it.
“I assure you that all the employees at Metro-North are working diligently to operate the railroad in the safest manner possible,” Permut said.
For Some Commuters, Disruption, Late Work Arrivals
By James Lomuscio
Nicole Bell and Luz Cabal had already spent an hour riding the shuttle bus from Bridgeport to Westport to get the train, but their morning commute to work at The Home Depot in Norwalk was far from over.
Commuters arrive and depart today at the Westport train staton. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for WestportNow.com
“We have to get to South Norwalk now to take a shuttle bus to get to the Wheels hub to take another bus to get to Home Depot,” Cabal said as she waited patiently for the southbound 9:37 a.m. at the Westport train station in Saugatuck.
It would be one of the few trains running due to disrupted service because of Friday evening’s derailment and collision in Bridgeport that sent 60 to the hospital, some with serious injuries.
“I was supposed to be at work at 8 today,” Bell said. “But, they know. I’ll have to be up at 5 a.m. tomorrow.”
‘Orderly’ Resumption of Train Service from Westport
UPDATE It was relatively smooth going today as Metro-North train service on the New Haven Line resumed from Westport for the first time since Friday night’s Bridgeport crash caused a rail shutdown.
Commuters await the 6:34 a.m. out of Westport today on the side that is usually New Haven-bound. The train arrived five minutes late. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
“It’s been very orderly,” said Police Chief Dale Call shortly after 8 a.m. “Commuters seem to have heeded the governor’s request to stagger departure times. Many are staying home today. Some were surprised the trains were running.” But he expressed concern about Tuesday morning, saying more commuters are likely to return to the trains then.
State Department of Transportation officials estimated the number of morning commuters was down about 81 percent from normal ridership, according to Westport First Selectman Gordon Joseloff. He reviewed the morning’s operations in a late morning conference call with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state officials.
Malloy, who advised commuters on Sunday to stay home, scheduled another public update at 6 p.m. today.
Commuter Coffee: ‘It’s Dead Here’
Today’s resumption of service from the Westport train station was a disaster for the Commuter Coffee shop on Railroad Place, blocked off for only buses. “It’s dead here,” said Fred Whelan who was behind the counter awaiting customers. “No one knows there are trains,” he said. “And they are boarding trains on the other side. They go right to the platform.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Police Chief: ‘Orderly’ Today, Concern About Tuesday
Westport Police Chief Dale Call (r ), supervising operations today at the Westport train station with Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas, said the morning commute so far has been “very orderly.” “Commuters seem to have heeded the governor’s request to stagger departure times,” he said. But he expressed concern about Tuesday morning. “Many are staying home today,” Call said. “Some were surprised there were trains running.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Reverse Commute: Change at Westport
A Moment of Unusually Light Traffic
UPDATE Traffic seemed unusually light at 7:45 a.m. today on Riverside Avenue approaching the Westport train station in Saugatuck. Police directed all drop offs to the New Haven-bound side. Police anticipated a crush of traffic and commuters as service resumed from Westport for the first time since Friday night’s Bridgeport derailment. Westport Police Capt. Sam Arciola said many people who stayed home from work drove to the Westport staton to see what the situation was. “Many commuters came here to board a bus to South Norwalk and were surprised to learn that trains were running,” he said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Keeping Traffic Flowing
Westport police made use of newly acquired electronic variable message signs—paid for with federal funds—to help direct traffic around the Westport train station today. Westport’s top police brass, including Chief Dale Call and Deputy Chief Foti Koskinas, were on the scene to supervise activities. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
New Bus to Train Commute
Commuters arrive at the Westport train station today after getting off a Greater Bridgeport Transit bus. Buses brought riders from points east to Westport where Metro-North said there was limited service. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Better Late Than Never
The first scheduled New York-bound train out of Westport today, the 4:47 a.m., was delayed until 5:11 a.m. due to “mechanical failures,” according to announcements at the Westport station..“Despite the delay, early commuters were thrilled to have train service,” said rider Don Uselmann. Metro-North said there would be limited service from Westport today as service resumed for the first time since Friday night’s derailment and crash in Bridgeport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Don Uselmann for WestportNow.com
Monday, May 20, 2013
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Westport Arts Center - “SOLOS 2013”
6 p.m. – Staples Room 1025C – Board of Education Executive Session
7:30 p.m. – Staples Cafeteria B – Board of Education Public Meeting (live coverage cable channel 78, AT&T channel 99, and www.westport.k12.ct.us)
7:30 p.m. - Town Hall Room 102 - Westport Animal Shelter Advocates (WASA)
7:30 p.m. - Westport Public Library - Ron Berler, “Raising the Curve: a Year Inside One of America’s 45,000 Failing Public Schools”
See more events: Celebrate Westport Calendar
Note: WestportNow Publisher Gordon F. Joseloff is also First Selectman of Westport