Cars wait at Starbucks, 1000 Post Road East, often backing up onto the roadway. / Photos by Gretchen Webster

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — Drivers on Post Road East, near the Sherwood Island Connector, know Starbucks at 1000 Post Road East is very popular — especially in the morning.

So popular, there’s usually a line of cars backed up along the side of the busy thoroughfare as customers wait to order their morning brews.

Hoping that modifying Starbuck’s driveway will help ease the congestion, the Board of Selectwomen — acting in their capacity as the town’s Local Traffic Authority — on Wednesday approved a plan to widen the coffee shop’s driveway by eight feet.

Traffic engineer Veronica Prezioso explains plans to widen the Starbucks driveway by eight feet and remodel the parking lot to the Board of Selectwomen on Wednesday morning.

“We want to make sure that there’s no queuing out on Post Road,” Veronica Prezioso, a traffic engineer from Kimley-Horn engineering consultants, representing Starbucks, told the selectwomen. “We want to improve the efficiency of the store.”

A Starbucks employee was posted at the end of the shop’s driveway around noon Wednesday, taking orders on a digital tablet as cars pulled in. She was stationed there so customers can bypass the drive-through window to help speed up the ordering process, she said, with the goal of cutting down the line of cars backed up on the Post Road. She declined to give her name, citing Starbucks corporate policy.

“We have reviewed [the widening project] and we see no negative effects,” Public Works Director Peter Ratkiewich told the selectwomen. The Police and Fire departments also had no objections, he said.

The selectwomen approved the plans unanimously. 

In addition to approving the project, the selectwomen’s vote authorized First Selectwomen Jennifer Tooker, as head of the Traffic Authority, to notify the state Office of the State Traffic Administration of the planned changes, because the Post Road is a state highway. 

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 teaches journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.