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.
Asked about the efforts during Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Moynihan said an internal team that includes officials from the Parking Bureau, Parking Commission and Public Works Department is analyzing parking habits and needs with an eye on bringing forward a formal proposal.
It appears that a plan to bring 250 new spaces to the Lumberyard lot also will be designed to benefit not just commuters but also nearby New Canaan businesses. Of those 250 additional spaces, Moynihan said, 175 would be for commuters while 75 would serve businesses.
Currently, about 68 of the 351 spots at Lumberyard are dedicated for area businesses as per “contractual obligations,” Moynihan said at the selectmen meeting, held at Town Hall.
“So currently it is a mixed use lot,” he said. “There is much demand from surrounding businesses for additional parking in that neighborhood, so I envision a second level that would also be mixed-use, probably one-third surrounding businesses and two-thirds commuters.”
As of November, the waiting list for permits for Lumberyard lot stood at 606 people. The discussion about increasing the number of spaces there comes as transportation officials contemplate significant cuts to rail service on the New Canaan branch line. The Connecticut Post reported Thursday that while Metro-North Railroad ponders fare hikes, it would reduce off-peak weekday service on the New Canaan line while eliminating weekend service altogether.
Selectman Kit Devereaux said during the meeting that she was concerned given the size of the waitlist “that we would be contemplating spaces other than for commuters.”
Moynihan had said during the December press briefing that companies near the Lumberyard Lot that include Stamford Hospital, Unimin Corporation and Hobbs Inc. are some of those who would get additional “business parking” in the Lumberyard lot.
Unimin, an industrial mineral producer with about 100 to 110 employees in New Canaan, had put its building on the corner of Elm and Grove Streets on the market in October 2016, telling NewCanaanite.com at the time that it planned to find new headquarters to accommodate growth.
Moynihan said during the selectmen meeting that Unimin is contemplating a merge with an Ohio company as well as going public, possibly moving its headquarters to the Midwest.
“So one question I have is whether, if they were allowed to build additional space on Elm, whether they would stay here,” Moynihan said.