On April 9, the Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee held a meeting at town hall. The meeting was extremely contentious, as almost 100 people turned out to express their disappointment (and in some cases, outrage) at the committee's plan to eliminate perimeter parking in favor of a centralized parking lot and designated drop-off areas, which would require pedestrians to use one of three specific crosswalks. (An additional 85 residents had previously expressed their disapproval of the Committee's plan by posting comments on http://06880danwoog.com.)

At the meeting, residents objected on the following grounds:

1) The plan, touted as one that will improve safety, may actually be more dangerous than the current arrangement, since it will require parents to walk young children (like "ducklings," said one resident) across a busy parking lot and may inadvertently encourage jaywalking, since the designated crosswalks are bound to be inconvenient for some people;

2) The plan will prevent seniors and other persons who are unable to walk long distances from enjoying the beach;

3) The plan will make it more difficult to unload and carry bulky beach and BBQ equipment;

4) The plan will prevent people from parking near the beach just to enjoy the view or sunset, which many people like to do even in cold or bad weather;

5) The plan seems to be an expensive solution in search of a nonexistent problem, since Compo is already statistically proven to be very safe;

6) This plan is estimated to cost millions, which will likely raise taxes; and

7) This plan will convert our charming, small-town beach into something more akin to a state or commercial beach -- something nobody wants.

Westporters have made it abundantly clear that they love the beach the way it is -- and that except for reconfiguring the entrance to avoid backups, repairing the storm damage at the pavilion, and possibly extending walkways and adding restrooms near the grill area -- Compo doesn't need much fixing.

It's time for the committee to revise the plan to reflect what residents want -- not what the committee thinks they should have. The message is clear: leave the parking alone.

Sidney B. Kramer, chairman

Save Westport Now