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Sunday, March 24 News

Talmadge Hill parking expansion has neighbors worried

NEW CANAAN — A proposal to add new parking spots at Talmadge Hill train station has raised some concerns from neighbors.

Though no timeline has been set yet, town officials have begun the early stage of planning how to add 60 new parking spots to parking lot. The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday unanimously approved a request from the Department of Public Works to enter into a $9,400 contract with Tighe & Bond for a conceptual design of the new lot.

However, neighbors voiced concerns about the drawbacks the new parking may bring.

Resident Sanford Steever said he opposed the proposal due to potential environmental and congestion problems. Since the parking lot would be built on state land, it also couldn’t be restricted to just town residents, he said.

“I don’t see the point of us

spending money for non-town residents,” he said.

Commuter parking as a whole has been a constant problem for New Canaan residents. In June, 38 spots at Talmadge Hill Road parking lot were changed from metered spaces to permit-only spaces for New Canaan residents.

In July, the downtown area saw a loss of 15 spaces after a resident put the town on notice for violating a state law on the distance between parking and pedestrian crosswalks.

Despite this, Andrea Sandor, another neighbor, said parking at the lot wasn’t as pertinent an issue and presented photos showing the lot was practically empty by Fridays.

She said there was an agreement in 1992 between neighbors and the state Department of Transportation to not build more parking there.

Sandor also asked at the meeting for a crime study to be provided, saying a criminologist has marked this area as “ripe for crime.”

“This new lot now is going to be overlooking homes that can be watched and possibly burglarized,” she said.

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan assurred neighbors that a final decision had not been made and they’re continuing to work on the proposal.

“There’s a lot of factors going into this parking decision,” he said, adding the proposal was a regional matter on supporting Metro-North ridership.

“The fact the state agreed to this is a significant breakthrough for the state,” Moynihan said. “There’s a balance between the desire to encourage ridership on that branch line and to make sure that branch line survives.”

dj.simmons@

hearstmediact.com, 203-842-2568

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