‘It Is Bedlam’: Town Officials Target Parking Congestion, Problems at Mead Park

 

Citing safety concerns and some motorists’ bad habits, officials say they’re weighing changes to how people park in two areas at Mead Park that see intense motor vehicle use at specific times.

Officials are considering a reconfiguration of parking at Mead Park. Credit: Michael Dinan

Motorists often park directly alongside the Apple Cart Food Co.-run Mead Park Lodge by the little league fields or physically on the traffic island there, according to Sally Campbell, chair of the Parks & Recreation Commission. Those entering Mead from Park Street drop into a parking situation that is confusing and haphazard, especially on “baseball nights,” Campbell said.

“It is bedlam over there with the parking” on such nights, she said during the commission’s May 10 meeting, held at Lapham Community Center.

“We talked to the baseball people when they were redoing the field and we said, ‘You really should look at the parking because it’s very congested over by the Apple Cart and with moms getting their kids out of the car and everything, it is really unsafe,’ ” Campbell said.

Department of Public Works Director Tiger Mann is working with New Canaan’s Keith Simpson, a local landscape architect who has worked extensively in Mead Park, on a proposal for the commission, according to Campbell.

One idea is to more closely define and control where motorists park by creating a grass verge along the stone wall that lines Mead Pond—a verge that would encircle cherry trees currently surrounded by asphalt that dot the edge of the parking area—and perhaps lining the new spaces at an angle, she said.

Though the large parking area has two specific areas for parking—along the wall and near the large baseball field’s right-field fence—“there is this big wide space in the middle and it is confusing,” Campbell said.

“It would be more maximized,” she said.

The comments came during a comprehensive review of maintenance and repair needs to stairs, asphalt, overgrowth and other areas at the park, presented by commissioners Laura Costigan and Francesca Segalas.

Costigan said that during last month’s well-attended Cherry Blossom Festival at Mead, parking “was very crowded.”

“There was some thought as to whether we should think about possibly putting lines in the parking lot, or the other idea is to yellow out areas where people cannot park,” Costigan said. “Because it seems to be that cars that park in the dangerous areas become the problem ones, like on the curbs there by the Apple Cart.”

Simpson, who was in attendance, said the overall plan is for him to submit a proposal to Mann which, after it gains the public works director’s support, would come back to Parks & Rec for a critique.

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