New Canaan Seeks $2 Million in State-Administered Funds For Locust Avenue Parking Deck


Town officials on Tuesday voted to put in for $2 million in funds administered on the state level that would go toward the widely anticipated and much-needed parking deck in the Locust Avenue Lot.

Two designs for a proposed parking deck on Locust Avenue.

Two designs for a proposed parking deck on Locust Avenue.

Created under a 2013 state law (see Section 74 of this bill), the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s “Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program” or “LOTCIP” is designed to make it easier for municipalities to make capital improvements.

The funds that could be made available under LOTCIP in New Canaan’s region in the state could total about $17 million for road improvements, bridges and sidewalks, according to Town Planner Steve Kleppin.

An original "donut" design for a new parking deck on Locust Avenue.

An original “donut” design for a new parking deck on Locust Avenue.

“There is no guarantee, but $2 million would pay for half the deck,” Kleppin told members of the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting, held at Town Hall.

Few disagree that New Canaan needs more parking. Citing longer waiting lists for permits at New Canaan’s municipal lots—a problem created largely because permit-holders are using them at higher rates—the town’s Parking Commission recently argued that more spaces are needed for commuters. The group for years has argued that both the Locust Avenue and Lumberyard parking lots should be tiered. Public works officials have said they now favor a new design at Locust Avenue that would add some 89 new spaces. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, citing the need for a peak-time traffic study, among other pieces, has said he is eyeing the 2017-18 fiscal year for the project.

The LOTCIP funds are to be administered locally through the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, a group that provides transportation, environmental and other planning services for 18 towns in parts of Fairfield County and western Connecticut.

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, who serves as vice chairman of the “WestCOG” transportation group, praised Kleppin for his diligence and applying for the funds and said “if we get it, we get it.”

“It would be a shame if we left money on the table, and with all on he [Kleppin] had on his desk, he really jumped through hoops to get this done and get the application in on time,” Mallozzi said.

The selectmen voted 3-0 in favor of making the grant request.

Selectman Nick Williams said he’s hopeful that New Canaan “can start digging in ’17.”

“I think it’s important that as you look at Post Office going up and construction on Forest Street, it is whole new vibe in the northeastern part of the village and I think we need to capitalize on that,” Williams said.

He added: “My experience with the state of Connecticut is that if there is money out there to be used, use it as soon as possible. Because you want to use it before we go bankrupt.”

In the past, larger Fairfield County municipalities such as Greenwich, Norwalk and Stamford have been beneficiaries of similar grants, and Mallozzi and Kleppin both said they emphasized that in making a case for New Canaan to win funding for the Locust Avenue parking deck.

It isn’t clear just when New Canaan will hear back on its application, they said.

Each of New Canaan’s delegates to the state legislature (see state Senate votes here, House here) voted against the bill that includes LOTCIP funds.

Under Section 74 of state Public Act 13-239 (on page 75 here), “Any transportation improvement funded pursuant to the program established in this section will have a service life of approximately twenty years.”

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