State Proposes 5% Reduction to New Canaan Weekday Train Service

New Canaan stands to see an approximately 5% reduction in weekday train service this fall, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Under an analysis that’s required any time the state agency proposes fare changes or major service changes, the New Canaan branch line will see a reduction in weekday service from 41 to 39 trains per day, according to a press release from the DOT. Ridership on the New Canaan line is down about 45% year-to-date in 2023 compared to 2019, according to the DOT. 

Metro-North Railroad in Connecticut also would see fare increases under the proposed changes, the DOT said. “Fares are critical to CTDOT and its service providers’ ability to operate a safe and reliable transportation system, while helping to support rising costs,” the state said in its analysis. “To address the loss of fare revenue, CTDOT proposes to increase fares for Metro-North Railroad services in Connecticut, Shore Line East, and the Hartford Line.

‘It’s a Scary Proposition’: Pedestrian Safety Issue Emerges Near Saxe Middle School

Farm Road motorists are blowing through a crosswalk with a pedestrian-activated flashing beacon near Saxe Middle School, raising serious safety concerns for the town, officials say. The crosswalk at Farm Road between Field Crest Road and Village Drive already has a “Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon” or “RRFB,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. 

Though the overall motorist “adherence rate” to the devices (there are six in New Canaan) is about 92 percent—a high figure—“we are having a little bit of a problem with the one at Saxe,” Mann told the Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting. “People were running through it,” Mann said at the meeting, held Sept. 5 in Town Hall and via videoconference. “Kids will press the button and people are still running through it because they want to get through South Avenue and then through South and Farm and then get onward towards the Merritt or wherever else they need to go.

Selectmen Approve $17,000 Contract for ADA-Compliant Rails at ‘9/11 Memorial Plaza’ Downtown

The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting approved a $16,780 contract with a Norwalk company to install guardrails and handrails at a 9/11 memorial plaza at the train station. The town installed a new sidewalk recently, above the Elm Street 911 Memorial Plaza, and in that work “they kind of stripped all the landscaping away,” according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “We’re working with the Beautification League on replanting that area,” he told the selectmen at their Sept. 5 meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. “They’re paying for the plantings and they’ll replant that area,” he said.

Town Seeks Public Input on POCD via Online Survey

Town officials are asking for the public’s input in a community-wide survey as they prepare to update the major guiding document for land use decisions in New Canaan. By state law, the Plan of Conservation and Development must be updated every 10 years. In New Canaan, the POCD underwent its most recent major update in 2014. The document informs P&Z “of how we should alter or stay the course” in the appointed body’s decision-making, said Town Planner Sarah Carey. 

She continued: “This is your chance as a member of the public to give us your opinion of: What are we doing well as a town? What do we need to improve on?