‘This Is Exciting’: New Rendering Unveiled for Proposed Locust Avenue Parking Deck

Public works officials are seeking approval to kickstart next fiscal year the highly anticipated parking deck at the Locust Avenue lot, a proposal that has garnered wide support from municipal officials but has been put off with major capital projects at Town Hall and Saxe Middle School.

The estimated $4,125,000 would be bonded (minus up to $500,000 to be withdrawn from a town “parking fund”) during fiscal year 2018 and the structure itself “is in keeping with the Post Office” next door and firehouse across the street, according to Department of Public Works Director Tiger Mann.

“You see how nice it fits in with the Post Office,” Mann told members of the Board of Selectmen during a budget presentation on Jan. 24 at Town Hall.

Referring to a new rendering (see two-slide gallery above) of the deck, Mann said a view from the Forest Street side of Locust “is clean” though there’s a telephone pole and transformer in the way from Joe’s Pizza across the street.

“We are in talks with Eversource right now to see if we can have that pole removed and placed underground,” he said. “Right now it has a lot of the infrastructure—cable and phone—for Locust avenue.”

On a backburner for two-plus years during the renovation and expansion of Town Hall, the Locust Avenue parking project had been earmarked at $4 million  in the fluid 5-year capital plan. The project itself long has been pegged for 2018, First Selectmen Rob Mallozzi has said. Town officials have said they would seek state-administered funds to help offset costs.

Mallozzi noted at the meeting that the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce supports the project “and I believe most members of town government” have reviewed it.

“I believe we are at a point of having a good understanding of the dynamics and certainly the community understands the importance of this. It has been kicked down road a bunch.”

Downtown New Canaan needs more parking for commuters and others, according to town officials. The preferred new design at Locust would add some 89 new spaces, officials have said.

Selectman Nick Williams asked whether the infrastructure work vis-à-vis the transformer and telephone pole would be paid for by the town or Eversource.

Mann answered that the town would pay for it because it’s not a physical hardship.

“This is more of an aesthetic ask,” Mann said. (Note: The DPW for years has had its internal motto—“Keepers of the Aesthetic”—on its budget proposal presentations. This year, the agency added “Maintainers of the Mundane.”)

The new deck is to include two entrances—on Locust Avenue to its “street level” there, and on Heritage Hill Road to the upper level. Town officials commissioned a traffic study which determined, last summer, that there is a way to get traffic exiting the new deck safely onto Heritage Hill.

“This is exciting,” Selectman Nick Williams said. “We have been talking about this for years. I believe this will ‘supercharge’ the businesses in the northeast portion of [downtown New Canaan] and change their complexion in a favorable way.”

9 thoughts on “‘This Is Exciting’: New Rendering Unveiled for Proposed Locust Avenue Parking Deck

  1. It all sounds good, but when will it ever end. I see New Canaan in the future becoming a mini Stamford which has become a mini NYC.

  2. All very nice.
    However, I see much more real value for the town in significant expansion of the Lumberyard parking. Absolutely zero financial risk.
    Why is this not on the front burner?

  3. I fail to see how this benefits commuters. Are you implying that anyone wants to park here and then walk to the train station???

    • Jackie the thought is that permits would be issued for the upper level—for Town Hall workers as well as commuters and perhaps some others. That would limit traffic traveling on and off Heritage Hill Road, is the idea, while hourly parkers would use the lower level with entry and egress to Locust Avenue.

      • It really appears to not to be a commuter solution at all, but, again, a prioritization of Town Hall for Town Hall. No commuter is going to get a permit for the privilege to walk across town, up and down a hill, to get to the train station! Given the farcical allocation of parking spaces, the recent $10 charge just to get their lists in order (and no action since), and the complete lack of comprehensive parking planning/allocation for the commuting community (which I assume are people providing the main tax and income/wealth to NC), it is frustrating that Town Hall continues to operate in such amateurish and selfish manner. It is no wonder that housing stock is up and real-estate down, if the town has no regard and prioritization for the commuting community. What new family wants to be here when they can’t easily go to earn money for the privilege to live in NC? Go build the parking lot, but don’t sell it to the Commuters as something that is being done for us! Rather, sort out the exiting allocations, fix Talmadge hill, optimize lumberyard, and simply start prioritize NC commuting residents so we can comfortably bring in the money.

  4. 80+ new spaces doesn’t touch current demand.
    You want revenue for this town?… build a attractive three story lot (1 subterranean level?) in the lumber yard spot and charge a fair daily rate and commuters will benefit and so will town businesses.
    You think it’s bad now… wait until all the new residences arrive for all the new “in town” housing approvals and proposed…

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