Main Street snow removal troubles
WESTPORT — Main Street employees — and soon possibly shoppers — are angry about a temporary solution to snow removal along the town’s shopping hub.
A new plan to remove snow during storms on Main Street will mean the elimination of seven parking spots on the east side of the street.
Both Benefit Cosmetics and LF Stores, two downtown chain stores, will lose all parking directly in front of their stores and have to face mounds of snow instead. The decision was approved by the Board of Selectmen on Wednesday.
“The snow is going to affect us tremendously, especially if it’s piled up in front of our door,” Tracey Bernoudy, who works at Benefit Cosmetics, said.
Bernoudy added she is concerned about the piles of snow spilling over to the sidewalk, an area the Benefit employees are responsible for clearing, “Snow, that’s going to be an issue for us — drainage. We have to shovel that ourselves. We don’t want to do that. And it’s bad enough that there’s no spots anyway. It’s absolutely going to affect our business tremendously.”
Marissa Leggiadro, an LF Stores employee, also believes the decision will cost the store business.
“No one’s going to want to park far away to go shopping. It’s going to slow it (business) down a lot,” she said.
Public Works Director Steve Edwards, who requested the designation of the parking spaces, said due to the limited spaces for snow storage from ongoing construction, he thinks it is a temporary solution.
“We could just go ahead and pile the snow in there with the understanding that as soon as the storm is gone, we would then offload it and take that to Imperial Avenue Parking Lot,” Edwards said.
Edwards said Randy Herbertson, president of the Westport Downtown Merchants Association, approved the decision. Edwards noted Herberston was not “overly pleased” about losing the parking spaces, but also understood parking is less in demand during snow storms.
Citing traffic issues and busy streets, Edwards said he plans to have his department move the snow from the spots at around 10 p.m., after all the restaurants and shops are closed.
First Selectman Jim Marpe said, “All this is kind of a little bit of an experiment.”
The board concluded the town will see how the removal goes during the first snow storm and after a meeting with Edwards, can make a better determination as to whether or not it is an effective, temporary solution.