Officials on Thursday will consider two changes to parking in New Canaan that are designed to meet the needs of shoppers and diners as well as those who staff downtown shops and restaurants.
One change would see the maximum parking time at Morse Court raised from two to three hours, and the other would set aside new premium-priced permits in the Park Street and Playhouse parking lots for workers in the village center.
The proposed extra hour at Morse Court could give downtown visitors what appears to be a much-needed buffer when using services-oriented businesses, according to Stacy Miltenberg, interim superintendent of the New Canaan Parking Bureau.
“I get feedback from people using the salon on Main Street, getting their hair done and the process is going over two hours and then they have thave somebody run out, or at a doctor in Morse Court, they would get stuck in the waiting room, so in the middle of a procedure their time is running out,” Miltenberg told NewCanaanite.com. “So it seemed that they needed a little longer. This way we are also more consistent across other metered municipal parking lots. Even the short-term spots at the Playhouse Lot are three hours.”
The Parking Commission will weigh the proposal at its regular meeting, to be held at 8 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall.
They’ll also talk about creating a new class of parking permit in New Canaan—for employees of the downtown, with spots set aside in the Park Street and Playhouse lots that climb the hill behind Town Hall.
An idea developed at the suggestion of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce following the organization’s survey of those workers, the permitted spots are designed to help move the people who staff the shops and restaurants off of the free spaces on Main and Elm in order to make way for those patronizing them.
“I think the employees want more options and they are willing to pay for it,” Miltenberg said.
Downtown workers often feel that the two lots designed to serve them—at Center School and on Locust Avenue “are further away than they would like,” she said.
“If the town provides parking a little bit closer to the stores, they would be willing to pay a premium for those permits,” Miltenberg said.
The chamber’s Laura Budd said the proposed permitted spots would meet a demand for increased flexibility.
“We know there are many merchants and downtown business owners who would like the opportunity to have a permanent parking area that allows for the flexibility to come and go throughout the day, and that incentivizes them to park off the street,” Budd said.
“We are very much in favor that of maybe experimenting with one lot to start and see how it works out,” she said.