Plans to install bus shelters along the Westport stretch of the Post Road, from Fairfield to Norwalk, have been in the works for two years. On Tuesday, the Architectural Review Board approved a design — shown in this example — for the shelters submitted by the Ad Hoc Bus Shelter Working Group.

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — A plan to install shelters along the Post Road for Coastal Link bus riders — from the town’s border with Norwalk to Fairfield — has been in the works for two years.

The Architectural Review Board on Tuesday discussed the proposed style and design of the shelters, agreeing the sleek glass and black metal structures “are handsome,” as alternate board member George Masumian said. 

The board voted unanimously to approve the bus shelter design as long as it is not changed significantly from its current look to the final design when the shelters are installed.

There will be four shelters, all on property in the state right-of-way at the edges of the Post Road, Larry Weisman, chairman of the Ad Hoc Bus Shelter Working Group told the ARB. 

The shelters will measure six-by-12 feet, have roof solar panels for light, electric heat and a small computer screen displaying bus arrival times. Shelters also will be installed on both sides of the street.

Each shelter will cost $60,000, with costs shared by the state and town. But additional funds will have to be raised to complete the project, Weisman said.

ARB member Vesna Herman asked if advertising will be displayed at the shelters. Ads will not be permitted, according to Weisman, who said that would violate Westport zoning regulations.

ARB member Manuel Castedo recommended that front panels be installed on the shelters to protect waiting riders from the wind. Weisman agreed, but said that feature would depend on the cost.

Before the shelters are built, Westport will have to apply to the state for encroachment variances on each piece of state-owned property along the Post Road, which should not be difficult to obtain, Weisman said. That’s because state officials have been involved in planning stages for the shelters.

Although the Bus Shelter Working Group has tentatively chosen four shelter locations, including one in front of the Stop & Shop supermarket and another in front of Whole Foods, the three bus companies that operate along the Coastal Link route also will have to agree on those sites. Currently, they do not stop at all the planned locations.

Owners of the property abutting the state right-of-way also need to agree, and sign a hold-harmless agreement, Weisman said. 

All have agreed so far “except for one holdout” — Volvo Cars Westport, 556 Post Road East. If a property owner doesn’t agree, the state can take legal steps “to take the property and they’ve started to do that,” he said.

Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist and journalism teacher for many years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman newspaper for 10 years and currently teaches journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.