Frustration with pedestrians who walk in the main road through Waveny—rather than on new pathways specifically created for them—is quickly turning into action, parks officials say.
According to Recreation Director Stephen Benko, despite the recent additions of three brand-new pedestrian paths that hug the roadway, many who come to the park to jog, walk their dogs or push baby strollers favor the roadway that’s meant for cars, raising traffic and safety concerns.
“Unfortunately, we might have to put up a ‘No Pedestrians’ ” sign,” Benko said of the rising problem.
He said that visitors may be walking in the road because of the seasonal dryness of the pathways—a problem that will soon be addressed. The Department of Public Works is currently contracted to lay down a .25-inch layer of stone.
Regardless, Benko said he expects that the old habit will die hard, adding “I think people just like walking in the road.”
The comments are coming as town officials approve a $41,342 contract to carve out a new pedestrian path from the West Parking Lot to the park’s Lapham Road entrance—a popular route already for those who visit the park. Members of the Board of Selectmen—First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectmen Beth Jones and Nick Williams—approved measure unanimously at their June 20 meeting.
The new pathway is needed, according to DPW Director Tiger Mann, because it is one of the few remaining areas in the park that lacks a complete trail.
“In that area, people walk in the road rather than on the grass,” Public Works intern Christopher Harte said at the selectmen’s meeting in Town Hall, explaining that this only adds to traffic concerns.
A proper path would improve pedestrian safety and ease the flow of traffic. The path will be constructed using material consistent with the newer paths built under the Waveny Park Conservancy’s design. The town of New Canaan, however, will fund the project.