Woog's World / Little things that can make a big difference in Westport life

Hey, UPS and FedEx: Can you ring my doorbell when you drop something off? How hard is that? I’ll tell you: It’s a lot easier than my getting up every half hour to see if the package you promised is already there.

We have miles of perfectly good sidewalks. So why do people insist on walking in the road, right next to those sidewalks? Perhaps it’s the headphones they’re wearing, making them oblivious to the rest of the world — not just sidewalks, but oncoming traffic, bicyclists, nature. You name it, they miss it.

Some of those non-sidewalk-users are early morning joggers. I understand if the road is lit better than the sidewalk. But if you do run alongside the road, can you wear reflective clothing — or at least something light? Yeah, I’m talking to you, Guy on the Post Road at 5 a.m.

If you’re one of those dog walkers at Winslow Park, Wakeman fields or the beach who carry a plastic bag to scoop up poop: thank you. If you are one of those people who does it all for show, and then deposits it on the nearest tree stump, fence post or anything else sticking out of the ground: What’s your problem? And if you don’t clean up after your dog at all: karma’s a bitch.

I understand the trend to faux stone walls — the ones that are meticulously built, perfectly level, and higher than those traditionally found around here. Stone walls of any kind are a nice homage to our New England heritage. What I can’t understand is the trend of putting fences on top of stone walls. It’s one thing to want a bit of privacy. It’s another entirely to create a streetscape in which no one can see any signs of life.

And what’s with the trend toward ever-smaller parking spaces? Compo Shopping Center — already one of the most dangerous lots on earth — seems to have shrunk its spaces considerably. The YMCA has one entire section dedicated to “compact cars” — though Suburban and other SUV drivers don’t seem to care. A shout-out to Super Stop & Shop, which still has normal-sized stripes — and ding-avoiding open-your-door-wide zones in between each of them.

Mew Parks and Recreation policies seem to have worked well this summer. Compo Beach was uncrowded. Access was easy. Picnic tables were so plentiful, no one had to break the rules and reserve them with rocks and tablecloths. But some longtime Westporters — those who downsized, and now live in smaller digs in Fairfield and Norwalk — could not afford to buy a sticker this year. How about offering a low daily rate after, say, 5 p.m.? They could enjoy the sunset as they’ve always done, and we would not be overrun with out-of-towners.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Myrtle Avenue should be two way, from the Town Hall exit back to Avery Place. There’s no good reason for every driver leaving that building to have to make two left turns, at two lights, to get where he could be in five seconds.

Congratulations to Starbucks for heeding the nationwide cry — particularly loud in Westport — to reduce the use of plastic straws. (They’ll still be available for customers with disabilities, who have difficulty using alternatives.) But couldn’t someone somewhere on the corporate ladder have realized that the solution — large straw-less lids — actually uses more plastic than the straws did?

Speaking of Starbucks — which we so often do — can someone explain why customers are willing to wait in their cars for 15 or more minutes at the Post Road drive-through, when they could park, walk inside, order and be out in, well, 10? (Oh, I know: There are not enough parking spots! Well, there are two more than the previous spot, diagonally across the street. My bad!)

I know this falls on deaf ears — I don’t think interstate truck drivers read “Woog’s World” — but wouldn’t it be nice if those signs warning of the low bridge on Saugatuck Avenue by the train station actually got heeded?

The Levitt Pavilion has just completed its 45th season. Since 1973, it has presented nearly 60 nights of free entertainment, by the river and under the stars. It’s a wonderful Westport institution. Yet its publicity machine is stuck almost in the Nixon administration. Its website should highlight each night’s performers, and provide easy access to a weekly and summer-long calendar. Now that the gnats are gone, that’s the only fly left in the ointment.

Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his “Woog’s World” appears each Friday. He can be reached at dwoog@optonline.net. His personal blog is danwoog06880.com.