‘We Felt It Immediately’: Downtown Merchants on the Loss of Parking Spaces on Elm Street

One month after town officials preliminarily “lined out” a new parking configuration on Elm Street that loses downtown New Canaan more than a dozen spaces, some merchants say the change already is having a dramatic effect on business. Though parking woes already were aired daily by customers, the new scheme that includes a legally required 25-foot buffer zone between a crosswalk and parking space “has had an immediate impact,” according to Maxine Berg, owner of Jade, a popular luxury fashion fitness boutique at 7 Elm St. “We felt it immediately, the minute those spaces were taken,” said Berg, who purchases parking permits for the Center School Lot for herself and staff at the shop. “Especially on my part of Elm. There were four, five spaces.”

Prompted by a resident’s formal complaint about New Canaan’s non-compliance with what appears to be a seldom-observed state law, the town rather suddenly in mid-July was compelled to eliminate 13 parking spaces on Elm Street, which has five crosswalks.

Did You Hear … ?

The Summer Theatre of New Canaan kicked off its 2016 season on Friday evening with a Broadway Stars gala featuring Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara, held at the Woodway Country Club. O’Hara was joined by fellow Broadway stars David Friedman, Robin de Jesus, Janelle Robinson, Jodi Stevens and Chip Zien. Scroll through the gallery above for images from the evening, including performances. ***

We’re hearing that Democratic Registrar of Voters George Cody won backing from New Canaan Democrats at Tuesday evening’s caucus, held at Town Hall. For the first time since his election to the office in 1994, Cody this time faced a challenger for the position, from fellow New Canaanite Bernard Simpkin.

Did You Hear … ?

New Canaan on Thursday put a lien on the Forest Street property cited for violating the town’s blight ordinance. Signed by Blight Officer Brian Platz, the town’s chief building official, the 1829-built multi-family home at 74 Forest St. is deteriorating and its .3-acre property is unkempt. The “Blight Lien and Certification of Continuing Lien” notice in the Town Clerk’s office says that $9,800 was owed as of May 22 and $100 per day additional is to be assessed as of that date (bringing the total to $11,500 as of Monday, June 8). ***

More than 40 residents attended NewCanaanite.com’s inaugural Community Coffee on Friday, and the sole topic of discussion for the hour-long talk was the Pop Up Park downtown, suspended by the committee that created and managed it after some merchants raised concerns about traffic and the makeshift plaza’s effect on business.