First Selectman To Address DOT Commissioner on Potentially ‘Devastating’ Rail Service Reductions

The town’s highest elected official said this week that, facing the threat of several reduced rail service on the branch line here, he plans to lay out New Canaan’s case for head of the state Department of Transportation. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan during a Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday said he will write a letter thanking DOT Commissioner James Redeker for coming to New Canaan for a forum last week, and explaining “why the loss of off-peak trains would be devastating to New Canaan’s economy and our commuters and our real estate values.”

“The impact could be very serious on New Canaan,” he said during the board’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. Though some of New Canaan’s delegation to the state legislature have called the possibility of reduced service “an idle threat” from Hartford, what the town heard from Redeker during the Jan. 24 forum “was serious because he could save $7 million by eliminating that service on that branch line,” Moyhihan said. The comments came at the prompting of Selectman Kit Devereaux, who asked Moynihan just what he was doing to advocate on New Canaan’s behalf.

Selectmen Voice Concerns Over Threat of Reduced Metro-North Railroad Service to New Canaan, Speed of Trains

Though some are telling New Canaan not to worry, the threat that the state could cut back on Metro-North Railroad service to the town during off-peak hours on weekdays, and halt weekend service altogether, is hugely troubling, municipal officials said Tuesday. Selectman Kit Devereaux said she’s concerned because “I think there is very little downside for the government to come through with this, for Connecticut to come through with this.”

“Because they can make their point while at the same time not having a large democratic constituency to upset,” Devereaux said during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. She added: “I think if they cut away our weekend service and they cut back our off-peak service, it’s a nail in the coffin. It really needs to be stopped.”

She referred to a proposal from the Connecticut Department of Transportation from earlier this month. When First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said that’s a good question to ask of New Canaan’s delegation to the Connecticut General Assembly—a forum that includes state legislators such as State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125th) and even state DOT Commissioner Jim Redeker is to be held 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall—Devereaux asked whether the first selectman was “being proactive in talking to legislators?”

Moynihan responded: “: I am in constant contact with our legislative representatives.”

When Devereaux asked “About this?” Moynihan answered yes.

Town Pursues Parking Deck at Lumberyard; One-Third of New Spaces To Be Designated for Businesses

Town officials say they’re moving forward with plans to increase commuter parking at both the Talmadge Hill and Lumberyard lots. Members of the Parking Commission at the group’s most recent meeting said that First Selectman Kevin Moynihan is eyeing a private property in the area of the Talmadge station for acquisition by the town, and the first selectman himself has said that municipal officials have walked the Lumberyard property with an architect who is expected to produce a conceptual rendering, hopefully some time in the first quarter. Plans at the Lumberyard call for a single parking deck that will use the grade between Elm Street and the lot itself, Moynihan told members of the press at a Dec. 28 press briefing in his office. The parking deck itself would rise no higher than the street-level of Elm, he said.

‘He Just Loves His Job, And It Shows’: Frank the New Canaan Train Conductor To Retire

Frank Maltese and his wife of 32 years were traveling in western Massachusetts for the Big E fair two years ago, when the pair experienced a familiar encounter. Though out-of-state at a large, anonymous event, “we ran into people I knew from Connecticut,” Maltese recalled with a smile on a recent afternoon. “We always bump into people I know and it drives my wife nuts. She says, ‘Can’t we go anywhere that you don’t know somebody?’ ”

No, not really. For nearly 30 years, Maltese has worked as a conductor for Metro-North Railroad, including the last dozen on the New Canaan branch.

Malloy: New M-8 Trains for Heavily Used New Canaan Line

Gov. Dannel Malloy on Tuesday took a symbolic trip on Metro-North Railroad’s New Canaan branch line Tuesday by way of announcing that new M-8 cars are operating between Stamford and the Next Station to Heaven. During a press conference on the platform at Springdale station, Malloy said the first two of 25 single-car trains dedicated to the line are in place. Transportation officials estimate that travel on the New Canaan branch will increase 44 percent over the next 15 years, he said. “We are currently running 2,500 [commuters] Monday through Friday and we see that growing,” said Malloy, joined on the platform by State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125th), State Rep. William Tong (D-147th), Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker and other officials, many of whom had valid reasons to be there. O’Dea said he was “ecstatic” about the announcement and joined the governor in “calling for upgrades to the New Canaan line.”

Tong, who represents parts of Darien and Stamford, called the New Canaan line “part of the lifeline for Connecticut’s economy to “maybe the most economically important economic center in the world, New York City.”

Asked how much the cars cost, Malloy said the single-riders are about $2 million.