Parking Officials: More Spaces Needed for Commuters


Pointing to longer waiting lists for permits in New Canaan’s municipal lots, parking officials are urging the town to create more spaces for commuters.

Though the overall number of permits sold is down, permit-holders now are using them at higher rates than in the past, according to Keith Richey, chairman of the New Canaan Parking Commission.

“This has the effect of reducing parking revenue, while increasing the number of people waiting for permits and the wait times,” Richey said. “The long wait hurts housing prices, as most of the people who can afford to buy in New Canaan work in New York City.”

Here’s a table that looks at municipal parking lot demand in New Canaan:

Parking Permits and Demand in New Canaan

Parking LotTotal SpacesMeteredBy PermitPermits SoldWaiting ListYrs Waiting
Richmond Hill70070985523
Talmdadge Hill366962704262881
Park Street1209822See Note*n/an/a
Locust Lot155sharedshared124none0
Telephone Lot1801827131
Center School Lot1687593238none0
Source: New Canaan Parking Bureau

* The Park Street Lot has several grandfathered permit holders and 17 permits for 175 Elm St., and Town Hall workers and municipal vehicles are now taking 28 spaces in the Park Street Lot


In the past year, the wait list for the Railroad/Lumberyard Lot—the most coveted in town, right next to the train station—increased from 1,000 to 1,209, Richey said, while the waiting list at Talmadge Hill has grown from 200 to 288 in the same time period. Because there is no waiting list currently for the Locust Avenue Lot, the commission is weighing whether to sell permits to commuters who would park there.

Otherwise, it isn’t clear just when or how New Canaan will gain substantially more spaces for commuters.

The Parking Commission for years has argued that both the Locust Avenue and Lumberyard parking lots should be tiered.

Two designs for a proposed parking deck on Locust Avenue.

Two designs for a proposed parking deck on Locust Avenue.

Officials throughout town government, including funding bodies, have voiced support for a Locust Avenue parking deck at some point. Public works officials have said they now favor a new design there that would add some 89 new spaces.

Before the town moves ahead, officials said, a traffic study is needed to determine the impact of a new parking deck on Locust Avenue as well as Heritage Hill Road.

There’s about $190,000 left in funds already approved to start designing the parking deck, and an RFP for that traffic study has gone out. Once work starts it’s estimated to take 18 months to complete, Department of Public Works Director Michael Pastore has said.

Asked about the project’s status, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi noted that Pastore has been clear that no capital work can start in the next fiscal year, for several practical reasons.

“It’s not in a format that we can go to the bond market today and create a project,” Mallozzi said. “Hopefully it will be there for the 2017-18 budget year.”

The town also has more work to do in terms of looking at possible sources of funding for the deck, Mallozzi said, such as the local parking fund and grants.

Richey said he fears the parking crunch downtown may be exacerbated by the opening of the new Post Office just east of the Locust Avenue Lot, as well as with new construction on Cross Street.

“We had thought that perhaps the need for commuter parking was lessening as people were able to work from home,” Richey said. “Now we see that any weakness in the demand for commuter parking was due to the recession. With the economy stabilizing and New York City remaining the hot spot for high paying jobs, the demand has increased dramatically. We always have had a shortage and it keeps getting worse.”

One thought on “Parking Officials: More Spaces Needed for Commuters

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