Officials this week decided to push to September the date for commuter parking permit renewals in hopes that by then train service will be restored to more normal levels.
During a regular Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said that he hoped that express trains would soon return to pre-COVID frequency.
As it is, the train schedule no longer includes “the four through trains in the evening, the four through trains in the morning, which effectively cancels commuter service,” Moynihan said at the meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference.
The New York City subways opened up 24 hour service recently, and Moynihan, as he has in the past, said he hoped to pressure Metro-North Railroad to return express trains to the New Canaan branch line.
“Commuters are going to want to get on the train,” he said. “A number of our residents are driving to Darien stations to commute instead.”
Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 to defer the commuter parking permit renewal date to Sept. 1.
The first selectman said he has expressed his concerns to Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman, who indicated he would talk to the Department of Transportation about the situation. Moynihan said DOT officials are planning to restore New Canaan service to 80% of prior levels at some point.
New Canaan’s municipal lots have seen a decrease in use due to a lack of commuter trains available, Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg said.
Moynihan said, “My recommendation is that we defer [commuter parking permit renewals] until September as the Parking Commission recommended.”
Williams said, “It makes sense regardless.”
The Parking Commission also recommended that the selectmen formalize a priority permit reinstatement period for commuter permits for up to two years. The Board voted 3-0 to do that.