New and upgraded crosswalks, such as this one outside King’s Highway Elementary School, comprise a major need around town, according to a recently released survey of local traffic and safety issues. / File photo

By John Schwing

WESTPORT — A $450,000 federal grant, allocated to Westport to develop “a comprehensive safety action plan” for local roads, was announced by the state’s congressional delegation Wednesday — a day after town officials released a detailed survey of local traffic and safety issues.

In fact, the grant application was mentioned in the “Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Report” as one of the tools local officials were hoping to use to address concerns cited in the report, based on a series of nine neighborhood meetings last year.

The town applied for the “Safe Streets and Roads for All” grant from the federal Department of Transportation last September. 

The money, according to the report released Tuesday by First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker, is to be used to “create a comprehensive and strategic action plan to make our streets and roadways safer for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and transit users.”

The “SS4A” program, according to federal officials’ announcement, supports the Department of Transportation’s “goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on our nation’s roadways.”

“I’m pleased to see the town of Westport receive federal funds to develop a plan to ensure that our infrastructure investments protect all road users,” U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, said in the congressional delegation’s announcement. 

“This is yet another example of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act delivering for 4th District residents and making our communities safer, healthier places to live,” he said.

Westport is the only community in the 4th Congressional District to receive one of the grants.

Five other municipalities and regional agencies share in the $2.4 million allocation of SS4A infrastructure funding awarded to Connecticut on Wednesday.

Noting that pedestrian deaths in the state are at a 40-year high, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said the funding will help local officials develop “plans to save lives” by building safety features such as raised sidewalks and narrower traffic lanes.

John Schwing, the Westport Journal consulting editor, has held senior editorial and writing posts at southwestern Connecticut media outlets for four decades. Learn more about us here.