Police Commission Weighs Request from St. A’s for Handicapped Parking Designation on Maple Street


Town officials are weighing a request from St. Aloysius Church to designate one or two parking spaces along Maple Street as handicapped for use by those using its main office.

Looking at St. Aloysuis Church's Stapleton Hall from Maple Street and South Avenue in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

Looking at St. Aloysuis Church’s Stapleton Hall from Maple Street and South Avenue in New Canaan. Credit: Michael Dinan

Monsignor William Scheyd told members of the Police Commission at their most recent meeting that the request—unconnected to the ongoing Merritt Village application across the street—is designed to serve those coming and going from Stapleton Hall, the prominent brick structure that starts near the corner of Maple at South Avenue.

For many of the older motorists seeking to enter the office, Scheyd said, it’s similar to finding a parking spot on Forest Street when headed out to a restaurant there.

“I used to take a friend of mine out, who would say, ‘Now say a quick prayer that there is a parking space—more often than not, it worked,’ ” he said during the Sept. 21 meeting, held in the training room at the New Canaan Police Department, drawing laughter.

Ultimately, commission Chairman Stuart Sawabini said the group would research rules governing handicapped spaces, meet with Department of Public Works officials and return with its decision.

Asked whether one handicapped space would help or whether two is absolutely necessary, Scheyd said: “One would certainly be better than none. I said two only because, remember when you talk about handicapped spaces, people come at different times. As it is now, we have a lot of older people who come.”

Commissioners asked Scheyd how many parking spots are located out front of the building on Maple Street now (about seven), whether there is parking behind the building (on the lower lot, yes, to come directly to the office), whether there is handicapped parking back there, too (for the church, yes, but it’s gated off during school hours) and what a handicapped person seeking to park for St. A’s would do now (park on Maple and hope there’s a space).

Sawabini asked about existing handicapped parking on the St. A’s campus.

“We do have handicapped [parking] behind the church,” Scheyd said, though there are times when the site’s “lower level” is gated off and presents fewer options to motorists seeking close access to Stapleton Hall.

Jeff Holland, a guest at the meeting, noted that one in 25 spaces in the church’s lot must be handicapped accessible by law, with at least one also van-accessible, and said the curbside spaces often do not work for people that use wheelchair vans because the vehicles’ ramps must come level with its wheels.

Commissioners discussed the possibility that something could be designated in order to accommodate those seeking to park, remove fold-out walkers from their vehicles and make their way to the St. A’s office—perhaps closer to a driveway off of Maple, so that no new curb cuts would be required.

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