Every time Andrew Masi crosses Post Road East in downtown Westport, he holds his breath. As the mail clerk at Meryl L. Moss Media Relations Inc. at 155 Post Road. E., Andrew often makes multiple trips each day to the main post office just across the street. This means he crosses the busy street, in the designated crosswalk at the Bay Street intersection, many times a day which is no walk in the park.
"I've been working here for about three years, and when I first started, I didn't think crossing the street to get to the post office would be that bad," said Masi, 23. "I'm sometimes afraid to go that way. What happens if someone doesn't see me because they are fiddling with their radio or texting?"
Masi said he's had about a half-dozen or more close calls in the crosswalk, which is clearly marked by a sign informing drivers to stop for pedestrians. One time, Masi said, an oncoming car stopped for him. But when he went to cross, the car behind the one that had stopped passed in the other lane.
Deb Zipf, one of Andrew's co-workers, has had similar experiences in the crosswalk.
"I've almost been hit a couple of times. I once even saw a woman crossing with a baby carriage almost get hit," said Zipf, who has worked in the office for about four years. "It's almost like people have no regard for human life. When a woman with a baby carriage can't cross the street that's crazy."
In an attempt to be safer, Judy Zuklie said she and other co-workers often cross the street together. But even as a group, she said they sometimes don't get drivers' attention.
Similarly, Masi tries to make his presence better known by sometimes wearing a bright yellow reflector vest when or a flashing red clip-on light at night. But for Masi, Zipf and Zuklie, the solution to making that crosswalk safer lies with more police enforcement.
"I'd like to see a police presence here," said Zipf. "People are always speeding through here, even though it's a congested area. The cops need to watch the traffic here and give out tickets. I think it would help to get people in their pocket books."
This is Part 1 of two stories about pedestrian safety in Westport. Check back with The Daily Westport for Part 2, with responses from the police department and state DOT.
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