Public works officials are seeking $125,000 next fiscal year to create a widely anticipated sidewalk connecting the top of Elm Street to Irwin Park.
The sidewalk would run along the west side of Weed Street and, according to preliminary engineering plans (see PDF below), could involve removing one row of maple trees and a tree stump, and relocating a set of mailboxes at Woods End Road.
The sidewalk wouldn’t run up against the roadway but would have a “grass shelf” between it and Weed Street, Department of Public Works Assistant Director Tiger Mann said Tuesday during a budget request presentation to the Board of Finance.
“All we will need basically are handicapped accessible ramps on either end and across Woods End Road and some of the driveways and what have you,” Mann said at the finance board meeting, held in the Sturgess Room at the New Canaan Nature Center. “But we will not be adjacent to the roadway, so we will have grass shelf and that gets a lot easier and a lot less expensive to construct.”
The $125,000 for the new sidewalk is part of an overall $785,000 request for engineering in fiscal year 2016 (see page 29 here), along with $5 million in bonding for the town’s regular street paving program ($2.5 million per year over two years).
Here’s a look at the preliminary plan, courtesy of the DPW—article continues below:
Mann noted during his presentation to the finance board that the proposed sidewalk is designed to connect downtown New Canaan to the town’s parks—the most recent example of that being the stretch that runs between Main Street and the entrance to Kiwanis Park.
Irwin Park, if the New Canaan Land Trust has its way, may also end up connected to the New Canaan Nature Center property through the woods between Weed Street and Oenoke Ridge Road.
A conservation easement in December was granted as part of a subdivision at 929 Weed St.—specifically, a narrow strip of land that connects Land Trust-owned properties to Weed itself.
The New Canaan Land Trust now is in negotiations, Mann said, to connect via a pedestrian route of some kind—whether that’s an additional sidewalk or trail set back in the woods remains unclear—to the other end of Irwin Park, at its northeast corner.
“It would just be one other way to stay with our Plan of Conservation and Development and try to connect every single park,” Mann said.
Meanwhile, the preliminary engineering plan for the new sidewalk calls for a crosswalk from the south side of Elm where it comes into Weed, directly across the street to where the new sidewalk would begin. As traffic officials already have discussed, the town would additionally put in stop signs on Weed, creating a three-way stop there.
In an interview after the meeting, Mann said that three other new sidewalk projects—connecting a final stretch of Mead Street to Park, Grove Street at Pine down to Richmond Hill, and Richmond Hill from Park down to where the sidewalk now picks up near the Gold Star Walk—rank 2-3-4 on the list.
Those new sidewalk construction projects are difficult, Mann said, because he has no formal plans for them, and there are some snags with neighbors.