Westport Police Department Staff Cpl. Alan D’Amura discusses Cross Highway's history and motor vehicle collisions with the Representative Town Meeting on Tuesday. / Photo by Thane Grauel.
Westport Police Department Staff Cpl. Alan D’Amura discusses Cross Highway’s history and motor vehicle collisions with the Representative Town Meeting on Tuesday. / Photo by Thane Grauel.
Cross Highway map, between North Avenue and Bayberry Lane
Map highlights the stretch of Cross Highway, from North Avenue (red dot at left) and Bayberry Lane (right), which will be studied under a traffic survey that won final approval from the Representative Town Meeting.

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — The Representative Town Meeting on Tuesday night approved, after much discussion, a $313,500 appropriation for a traffic study of the Cross Highway, between North Avenue and Bayberry Lane.

As officials pointed out several times, the appropriation is for more than just a study. It also will include design work for sidewalks, possible replacement of an old bridge carrying Deadman Brook under the roadway, and a plan to help people on foot or bicycles cross the roadway safely.

The corridor is an area of frequent motor vehicle collisions, and because many people — in cars or on foot — are destined for nearby Bedford Middle School and Staples High School, safety is a growing concern.

Westport Police Department Staff Cpl. Alan D’Amura discussed the history of collisions in the area, from local and state records.

“From 8 in the morning, until about 10 o’clock at night, the accidents happen,” D’Amura said.

“Once we saw this data, we were like, we need to move on this,” he said.

“We need a traffic consultant, and a traffic study to be done,” D’Amura said.

The RTM’s Public Protection Committee voted to suggest the full RTM pass the appropriation 7-1; Public Works, 5-2; the Finance Committee lacked a quorum, but suggested approval 4-0.

Richard Lowenstein of District 5, never shy to go against the flow, proposed a motion to delay the expenditure until all the traffic concerns voiced at the nine district meetings around town organized by First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker could be presented.

“This is a lot of money to be spending on a study,” he said.

“This corridor has been identified as a problem,” Tooker said, “and it only continues to get worse.”

“The time is now,” Tooker said. “There’s no reason to delay this.”

Other officials agreed.

“I want to thank everybody for their real, enthusiastic support for my motion,” Lowenstein said to chuckles from fellow RTM members before withdrawing the motion.

He was the sole vote against the appropriation, which passed 30-1.

Thane Grauel, executive editor, grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond more than three decades. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.