Not long ago, my dad was back in Stamford and found himself on the real-life Hope Street, as opposed to the blog Hope Street.
He told me the traffic got so jammed that he pulled onto a side road to get away — costing himself a chance to drive down his home stretch of Hope Street, where the old family home at 1107 Hope used to be.
Granted, he is not tremendously sentimental. And there is nothing today at 1107 to which he is attached. Still, the story says something about just how bad the traffic is these days around my grandparents’ old homestead.
According to the Stamford Advocate newspaper, the city plans to do something about it.
The next phase of an ongoing series of Hope Street improvements will widen the road between Camp and Weed Hill avenues — the stretch where my family lived — while also adding a left turn lane at the Springdale School.
Daily traffic counts have reached 7,500 to 8,000 vehicles, apparently, and that’s too much for the road to take in its present form.
Of course I can’t help but wonder what my grandfather would make of today’s Hope Street.
For one thing, his was not the easiest driveway to get into or out of, with a coat of shrubbery at its entrance and a well-traveled sidewalk demanding the driver’s attention.
Add a couple thousand more cars to the daily commute, and I’m sure notations like “WAITED 10 MINS IN DRIVEWAY” or “FENDER BENDER PULLING OUT OF DRIVEWAY” would have made their way onto his calendars.
The street’s character has not entirely been lost in the bustle, though. I note in the news story above that Mayor Michael Pavia calls the area “really the last village in the city.”
That suggests to me that some of Hope Street’s old charm is intact. I think my grandfather identified strongly with the Springfield neighborhood of Stamford, so he would be pleased to know the village hasn’t been completely forgotten, paved over or otherwise overrun.
(There’s a Springdale Neighborhood Association now that has probably done a fair amount to keep the village’s character intact. My grandparents sold up and moved away eight years before it was founded, so they were never members. I could see them joining if the option had been open to them, though.)
My grandparents lived through a few major projects on Hope Street, including the installation of sewers in the mid-1970s.
Now, it’s someone else’s turn to watch the jackhammers blast and the bulldozers churn, all to accommodate the latest wave of progress.