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Talking Transportation: Rail Station Parking – A Fresh Look

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

What is wrong with this picture?  We say we are encouraging people to get out of their cars and try the train. Yet, we have a six-year waiting list for parking permits at some stations.

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But wait, there’s more: in a year we’ll finally be adding new M8 cars to our fleet, increasing capacity on trains. But we have no plans to expand parking at stations from Fairfield to Greenwich. (In fact, we may lose 800+ spaces while the Stamford garage is demolished and rebuilt for two years.)

Parking at rail stations in Connecticut is a mess. In Darien you’ll pay $315 for an annual permit. Next door in Stamford, it’s $840 a year. And at the South Norwalk station, $936. And that’s after waiting anywhere from 18 months to six years for the chance to buy a permit.

I’ve written before about possible solutions, including a Dutch auction that would let the market demand decide the value of the limited supply of spaces. But, instead, how about expanding the lots and adding more spaces?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “Preemptive Resistances”
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “Lost Paradise”
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Presidents, Politicians & Popular Heroes”
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Paintings by Gay Dearborn”
6:45 p.m. – Westport Public Library – MovieLine: “Mamma Mia” (2008)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Auditorium – Zoning Board of Appeals (live coverage cable channel 79 and westportct.gov)
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – Architectural Review Board
7:30 p.m. – Earthplace – Action Forum: Westport Water Quality Initiative

Compo Rooster May Be Headed Out of Town

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The rooster who has been annoying residents of Westport’s Compo Beach area may be headed out of town. The Ordinance Committee of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) heard today that there may be a non-legislative alternative that avoids the RTM having to consider an ordinance sought by neighbors that bans roosters. Elieen Flug (2nd l.), committee chair, said that a farm owner from outside of Westport has expressed interest in adopting the rooster and that the rooster’s owners are considering that option. Neighbors first asked the RTM to consider the ban last April and renewed their effort in November. (See WestportNow Nov. 18, 2008) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Winter Storm Watch Issued

The National Weather Service office in Upton, N.Y. has issued a winter storm watch for Westport and area in effect from late Tuesday night through Wednesday evening.

Snow should overspread the area late Tuesday night and could become heavy at times during Wednesday morning with accumulations of 5 to 8 inches possible, an advisory said.

As warmer air moves in aloft but temperatures remain at or below freezing at ground level, the snow should change to freezing rain and sleet by Wednesday afternoon with a glaze of one tenth to one quarter inch of ice also possible.

Precipitation could briefly change back to snow before ending Wednesday evening, the advisory said.

Town Appoints Internal Auditor

Westport First Selectman Gordon F. Joseloff announced today that Lynn R. Scully has joined the town as Internal Auditor.WestportNow.com Image
Lynn Scully: was Trumbull internal auditor for three years. Contributed photo

Scully, who previously served in a similar position in Trumbull for three years, will audit municipal departments, boards and commissions and agencies as well as the Westport School District.

Joseloff said as required by the Town Charter, she shall “be responsible for monitoring and reporting on all town expenditures, the cost of town capital projects, other financial activities, and other items as designated by the Board of Finance, the Finance Director or the First Selectman.”

In addition, he said Scully will conduct financial, operational, and management analyses of all areas of town government and measure and evaluate the effectiveness of controls and procedures.

Curran Auto Dealership Planning Layoffs But Will Stay Open

UPDATE The president of the Curran Cadillac Pontiac GMC auto dealership on Post Road East said today the business will stay open but lay off some employees as it struggles to survive in difficult economic times.WestportNow.com Image
Jim Curran: There will be layoffs but his Westport auto dealership is not closing. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Jim Curran, in an e-mail message to WestportNow, did not explain why his sales manager said on Saturday that the dealership, which has been in operation at 561 Post Road East since 1964, would be closing its doors on Friday. (See WestportNow Jan. 25, 2009) Later in a telephone interview, he said: “I didn’t understand why he said that.”

“Curran Cadillac is not closing,” he said. “We are laying off additional employees by the end of this month,  but we will be open for service and sales.” There are 15 employees at the dealership.

“If we can’t make it as a GM store, we have been approached by several other automakers about the use of our site,” Curran said. “But our first choice is to keep it as it is—selling and servicing GM vehicles.”
—Dave Matlow contributed reporting for this story.

Monday, January 26, 2009


9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Westport/Weston Health District – Wellness Clinic, adults and children
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “Preemptive Resistances”
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – “Lost Paradise”
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Presidents, Politicians & Popular Heroes”
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Westport Historical Society – “Paintings by Gay Dearborn”
10:30 a.m. – Town Hall Room 201 – RTM Ordinance Committee
2 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Westport Arts Center – Kindercreate Mondays
7:30 p.m. – Town Hall Room 309 – RTM Planning & Zoning Committee
7:30 p.m. – Staples High School, Cafeteria B – Board of Education

Three Arrested, $10,000 in Counterfeit Currency Seized

Westport police arrested three Bronx, N.Y. residents today and seized more than $10,000 in counterfeit currency after one of the suspects attempted to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at a Walgreen’s store near the Fairfield line.

Police said they received a call at 2:52 p.m. from someone at Walgreen’s at 1870 Post Road East that a woman was attempting to pass the fake bill. Arriving officers spotted a car leaving the parking lot they thought might be linked to the suspect and detained two occupants.

After an investigation, they arrested the woman inside the the store along with the two others in the vehicle, said Sgt. Foti Koskinas. A search of the vehicle and suspects turned up more than $10,000 in fake currency, he said.

Agents of the U.S. Secret Service responded to the Westport Police Department to assist with the investigation. They said that the counterfeit bills may be involved in an ongoing case that the Secret Service is currently investigating, Koskinas said.