Westport needs to put the brakes on speeders

Westport needs to put the brakes on speeders


To the editor:

To the Board of Selectmen: I am retired and spend a fair amount of time on the roads of Westport Harbor. My usual running route takes me on Old Harbor, River, Acoaxet, Atlantic, Cross, and Howland roads.  I would like to make the following observations about the problem of speeding in the Harbor (and elsewhere in Westport) and to suggest that this is a serious problem which must be addressed:

• The double yellow lines are, for the most part, barely discernible;

• For the most part, the roads in the Harbor are very narrow, and there are no shoulders;

• There are no posted speed limits and no “Your speed is…” signs;

• On straightaways, most drivers exceed 40 mph most of the time;

• Most offenders are trucks and SUVs, many with out-of-state plates;

• There is very little police presence in the Harbor; and

• As the summer continues, attention to the problem of speeding is warranted.

Some may say there are legal speed limits but there may as well not be speed limits, since they are not posted.  

Some may say that the Harbor would be getting special treatment if changes were made. The Harbor should not get special treatment on this issue; there are other areas of Westport that must have the same attention.  

Some may say that there are no funds available to address this problem in the Harbor and in other areas of Westport In time, speeding tickets will cover the added expense to the town.

Some may say it is the responsibility of the Commonwealth of  Massachusetts to establish limits.  If that be the case, ask them to establish the limits.

So what should be done?

• Set up “Your speed is…” signs on River Road and Old Harbor Road;

• Ask the Department of Transportation to establish speed limits on River Road, Old Harbor Road,                                                                                                       Howland Road, and Atlantic Avenue;

• Post the speed limits permanently; and

• Provide police presence regularly.

It is easy to overlook the problem; in a nanosecond it becomes impossible to avoid it.  In this ever-more-crowded world, at some point there will be another serious accident and all priorities and attention will be focused on what might have been done to prevent such an accident.

I hope you feel this issue merits serious consideration and that it is worthy of a response.

Thomas Jansen



  1. Pavement markings in the rural parts of Westport are either severely faded or non-existent. For example – Hixbridge Rd near the river has dangerous curves that could use a double yellow line at a minimum. Many parts of South Westport frequently experience foggy conditions, and there are tons of cyclists that also use the roadways. By skimping out on about $1/linear foot for markings the Town is putting people at risk.