Municipal officials on Wednesday night voted unanimously to extend on-street parking limits in the center of downtown New Canaan to two hours.
Changing to two-hour limits both the one-way stretch of Elm Street and a central piece of Main—both 90 minutes now—will not only give motorists more time to shop and dine, but also create more consistent parking times overall by bringing them in line with areas just beyond the “magic circle,” officials said during the Police Commission’s regular meeting.
“I would go for it,” Commissioner Paul Foley said of the change, recommended last week by the Parking Commission.
Foley and fellow Police Commissioner Sperry DeCew voted 2-0 to make the change. Chairman Stuart Sawabini was absent.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the change also will apply to 90-minute parking areas on other streets in the business district, such as parts of Locust Avenue or Forest, Cherry, Park and Pine Streets.
In considering the item, the commission called on Tucker Murphy, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, for her view.
Murphy said parking is a huge priority for visitors to the downtown as well as businesses, and that she’s seen comment threads online where some complain that 90 minutes is not enough time to have lunch.
“I think it’s more the consistency piece is why they [parking commissioners] approved it, to make all of the downtown streets—Main Street was one hour, Elm was 90 minutes—and so they just want them to all be the same thing so that people can’t come back with appeals and say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know,’ ” Murphy said. “Just make them all two hours. It makes enforcement easier because they can just do the loop.”