New Canaan is “actively investigating” whether it could expand commuter parking by extending two lots at Talmadge Hill into state-owned property alongside the Merritt Parkway, the town’s highest elected official said Tuesday.
According to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, the town soon will send a letter to the Connecticut Department of Transportation “to ask for their cooperation to let us pave” the areas, which would yield some 50 additional spaces.
Combined with efforts to gain another 150 to 200 spaces for commuters through the Boxcar app and a possible northward expansion at Locust Avenue Lot, the project at Talmadge Hill is expected put a dent in waiting lists for parking permits—nearly 600 between the Lumberyard and Talmadge Hill, as of last month.
By bringing that number down, Moynihan said, the town could be looking at a smaller structure needed to bolster parking at Lumberyard itself.
“We really have to have a hard number as to how many spaces we need to build,” Moynihan said during a regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen, held at Town Hall.
He added: “Any structure at the Lumberyard would be mixed commuter and surrounding businesses but we need to know exactly what our need is.”
The comments came after Selectman Kit Devereaux asked for an update regarding parking.
According to a draft copy of the letter that’s addressed to DOT Commissioner James Redeker, New Canaan is seeking to expand “modestly” at Talmadge Hill into part of a 300-foot-wide Merritt Parkway easement so that it could gain about 60 more spaces. Moynihan will ask that the state consider granting a “revocable easement” to New Canaan, the draft letter said.
Selectman Nick Williams said at the meeting: “I would commend the first selectman for his willingness to entertain multiple options on parking in solving our parking issues, not just focusing on the Lumberyard and this and that, but really being open to all sorts of options.”
If and when the time comes for a parking structure at the Lumberyard Lot, it would take about six to seven months to build, Moynihan said.
Devereaux said she was “confused” by the idea that spaces at a new taxpayer-funded parking deck there would go to private businesses.
“If we build the deck should it not be for commuters, not businesses?” she said.
Moynihan responded: “Businesses need to park, too. We have been talking to some of businesses.” The lot currently is “mixed-use,” he said, with 70 percent used by commuters and the remainder businesses, “so you have to address both.”