Town officials are seeking state funds to pursue a long-sought sidewalk installation at Talmadge Hill that’s designed to improve pedestrian safety for rail commuters.
The estimated $350,000 project would see a new, five-foot-wide concrete sidewalk and granite curb run along the northern edge of Talmadge Hill Road from Route 106 up to and past the highest parking tier above the heavily used railroad station, according to Public Works Director Tiger Man.
It would replace and extend what’s there now, a blacktop sidewalk with a blacktop curb, Mann told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting Wednesday.
“This has been an area that people have asked for for a number of years,” Mann said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.
Before and after work, scores of rail commuters make their way to and from the platform at Talmadge Hill, between cars parked in the lots as well as idling cars that pull over on the narrow road to drop them off and pick them up.
New Canaan is seeking the funds through the Connecticut Department of Transportation-administered Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program.
The board—First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectmen Beth Jones and Nick Williams—voted 3-0 to green-light an application for funds.
Mallozzi said he’s “reasonably positive we will get it,” as New Canaan originally had a $2 million request for funds to support a plan to deck the Locust Avenue parking lot—scuttled, at least for now—which did not come through.
According to Mallozzi, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, or ‘WestCOG,’ “was cognizant of the effort that we put into making a good case and said, ‘Listen you’re not going to get the $2 million but put in for something else and we will stand behind the town of New Canaan at the state level and try to get you funding for something.’ ”
“And Tiger really worked this hard and this was something I have been talking about for six years,” Mallozzi said.
He added: “It will be a nice addition over there for the Talmadge Hill commuters.”
Williams asked whether the $350,000 would cover the entire project (yes) and what the timing was (hopefully next spring).
Jones said she visited the Talmadge Hill train station and was “so surprised how people are constantly crossing the tracks there instead of using the sidewalk.”
Mann said Metro-North Railroad also is concerned about that practice and sometimes stations its officers there “because we have people cutting there under the barricades as the gate is closed, still running underneath the gate.”
Jones said that at some point, perhaps Talmadge Hill could get a platform on the east side of the tracks, as well.