NEW CANAAN — Officials are still trying to understand the parking situation across permit and daily fee spots in town.
That might be important before they make what is estimated to be a half-million dollar investment in a 60 parking spot expansion on state-owned property at the Talmadge Hill Road train station.
“We finally figured out that we don’t understand our commuter parking situation well enough,” First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said to local media at a briefing Oct. 4.
Earlier this summer, the Board of Selectmen converted 38 meter spots at the two topmost tiers of the Talmadge Hill Road parking lot into permit spots exclusively for New Canaan residents.
This change was made to bring down the number of residents on the wait list but, Moynihan noted, the topmost lots remained mostly empty upon observations from the Parking Authority after the summer.
“The effect of removing the daily fee spots eliminated the waitlist,” Moynihan said. “We were at around 100 (people on the waitlist) in the spring but people are finding other places to go.”
Through Boxcar, a mobile phone application that requires users to create accounts by providing their emails and car information, town officials are hoping to gather more information regarding the supply and demand of parking space around town.
The parking lot at St. Aloysius, located on 21 Cherry St., is the first trial site for Boxcar where there are 60 spots currently allotted for the digital service. Attendance has been on the lower side, however, with 15 spots used daily this month though that’s an increase from the numbers a month ago when the the app-based option took off.
Additionally, the fact that two parking machines were vandalized and whose “innards were taken out” at the train lot, with an eight-week period to pass before replacements are installed, helped promote the use of Boxcar at the train lot.
Moynihan said that Boxcar-labeled spots would be marked at Talmadge Hill starting next week. These spots would be priced at $6 per day, with $1 from that going to Boxcar, per the selectmen.
Heading into budget season, the price tag that sticks out is the proposed $500,000 cost of the possible expansion of the Talmadge Hill lot, though that might be put on hold if officials find other viable, less expensive options to address parking spots in town.
“We shouldn’t rush into this, whether it’s commuter parking or parking on Elm Street,” Selectman Nick Williams, Republican, said at the board of selectmen meeting Oct. 9.
Kit Devereaux, Democrat selectman, and Moynihan agreed.
“We would be doing the construction,” Moynihan said, referring to the expansion of the Talmadge Hill parking lot. “We need more information before we commit to that transaction.”