Saturday In Stamford

For a long time, Stamford was just another city on Connecticut noted for its dead streets, meaning no pedestrians walking around. Recently I’ve been field tripping to other cities and towns in Connecticut. There’s life in then dar streets. Sadly a typical Saturday on the streets of Norwalk now resemble the ghost towns of yore.

It doesn’t help that the City’s DPW, the states DOT departments can’t figure out how to keep sidewalks unobstructed. It doesn’t help that businesses think it’s perfectly fine to pile up snow to the curb, or just not clear the sidewalks at all.

It’s not just Stamford. Even Sunday’s in Westport are filled with people walking around. Even when it’s cold. Black Rock has figured it out too. Fairfield has its streetlife too.

  • Nora King

    Norwalk is not a friendly city for walking. A key point is the Safe Routes to Schools which hasn’t moved forward (though funding was provided) , the proposed DPW and mayor wanting to demolish the Old Tokeneke Bridge without restoration or creating a walk way and the lack of long term vision for sidewalks or footpaths. The worse part is for mothers or fathers who actually want to take their children for walks.

    Keeping sideswalks clear and actually building them or planning for them strengthen communities.

  • turfgrrl

    Nora King: The lack of vision is shared between Darien and Norwalk for the Old Tokeneke Bridge. From the wayback machine circa Feb. 2008:
    Alvord describes the situation with the Tokeneke Bridge removal, they are looking for $350k. They think it may fall in at any moment. The center pier is disintegrated, nothing is holding it up and it is closed to pedestrians.

    This is not a new topic. $650k would have restored it as a pedestrian bridge. There are no grants to restore a pedestrian bridge. Lee Levy confirms that Darien will nto contribute to the money. Alvord says that Darien’s DPW will not do anything about this bridge. Briggs suggests the has influence with Evonne Klein. DiMeglio suggests that it should be mayor to first selectmen. DiMeglio says it important to talk to Darien, Dick Linartz says its basically a waste of time. Alvord says at the DPW level the staff in Darien have no interest. Leigh Grant asks if there are notices to prevent people from using the bridge. Alvord and Linnartz agreed to check to see if the signs are still there. Briggs jumped in to say that he will approach Darien since he was instrumental in solving the the thru truck/rotue 136 issue. DiMeglio says she doesn’t think Briggs should be talking to Dairen. Briggs retorts that’s how we got the truck situation resolved.

    Meanwhile following the meeting, I spoke to someone in Darien about the issue, and they promptly informed me that Darien was pissed off because Norwalk’s DPW staff never informed Darien’s DPW staff that the bridge was dangerous, that Norwalk was going to put up barriers, and just went ahead at did it. Hrmm, where have I heard this type of story before. Typical in the he said/she said department. You would think that maybe there’s some official memo out there that would clear this up right? So far, none has turned up. The gist though is that Darien put up a white picket fence and made a park on their end of the bridge. It seems silly that Norwalk tax payers should have to shoulder the complete cost of whatever happens to this bridge.

    But investing and maintaining side walks is something that Norwalk really needs to do. There’s seemingly no support for it. DPW won’t enforce obstruction ordinances, people can’t navigate our tourist areas let alone or residential areas. The Council could of course change the ordinance to allow for another department to enforce obstructions, or create a new enforcement officer that is paid via revenue generated from enforcement actions. Hence strong council. The Council could have, at any point since 2005, allocated funds towards the restoration or teardown and replacement of the bridge. Darien should pitch in on the project though.

  • Secondhand Rose

    The question remains, why did the officials of both towns allow this bridge to deteriorate to this extent in the first place? It would have cost far less to repair it back when it first became a noticeable problem than it will cost to either tear it down or put up a new bridge whether for pedestrian or auto traffic. I don’t understand the lack of vision here – the bridge was in obvious need of repair far earlier than 2008, so why has it taken this long to get to the point where discussion of tearing it down is the only forseeable option?

  • turfgrrl

    Not really a question. They built another bridge a long time ago and this one was always supposed to come down.

  • John

    It should have been torn down long ago and should be torn down as soon as possible.

  • Secondhand Rose

    It’s not as if the bridge had never been used after the “new” bridge was built. Drivers used that shortcut for decades. And pedestrians long after it was blocked off for vehicle traffic.

  • Secondhand Roger

    I can remember driving over that bridge as a kid with my parents from Darien to Norwalk. And we would bark at the pedestrians. It’s a shame that it has to come down now. What does it have to do with the Streets of Stamford though?