Elm Street Poised To Regain Lost Parking Spaces by Playhouse


Advised that a 25-foot buffer doesn’t apply to the area because it’s not an “intersection” under the state’s definition, town officials say they plan to re-stripe parking spaces on either side of the crosswalk in front of The Playhouse on Elm Street.

Public Works Director Tiger Mann said plans include a “bump-out” to prevent vehicles from parking too close to the crosswalk and “protect pedestrians.”

“So we actually kind of kill two birds with one,” Mann said during a Jan. 9 meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure, held at Town Hall. “It’s not actually just putting the parking spaces back.”

It wasn’t immediately clear just how many spaces New Canaan will regain once the plans are approved by the Police Commission. 

The town had lost a total of 13 spaces in the summer of 2018 after a town resident put New Canaan on formal notice about its noncompliance with a 1949 state law that prohibits parking within 25 feet of a marked crosswalk at an intersection. After repaving Elm Street, which has four crosswalks between Main and Park, the town redrew parking spaces in observance of the law.

Yet local attorney Richard Stewart advised the town that the crosswalk in front of The Playhouse is exempt from the law because it doesn’t sit at an “intersection” as defined under state statute. The town attorney agreed with that opinion, and the Police Commission asked DPW for the revised striping plans that now are in hand.

After the Elm Street complaint, the town was prompted to re-designate 12 parking spaces for disabled motorists due to an anonymous ADA-related complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice. Then state officials received a complaint that Main Street also was out of compliance with the 25-foot buffer law, and they said New Canaan must address the situation. The town retained a traffic engineer to propose a re-striping plan there.

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