13 thoughts on “‘Something Is Not Adding Up’: Owner of New Canaan Valet Seeks Clear Answer on Forest Street Proposal

  1. Parking in our town is a nightmare. This is a great idea for business!
    We really need figure this out -we have lost so many spaces due to restaurants and the cross walk situation. Its very hard to just “run into town”these days.
    Westport offers free parking-we should too.

  2. This is actually a great idea for Forest Street. The Design District in Miami, which has many high-end restaurants and retail stores, has car valets on every block. It is a great way to leverage limited parking space in high use congested areas, and an appreciated service. It would be good for New Canaan.

  3. As owner of New Canaan Valet, it’s important to highlight some of the information in this article, such as quotes attributed to me, have been taken directly from private emails sent to Town Attorney Ira Bloom and specific Town of New Canaan officials. We may have disagreements with the Police Commission position, but we do still believe in the process and in our Police Commissioners. I have great respect for each one of them volunteering their time to serve. We understand that there needs to be process that Town of New Canaan leaders must go through to approve any use of public property to offer services. We don’t necessarily understand how it functions. And we have questions about that, but we support our public officials and are thankful for their service to the community. We look forward to working with Town of New Canaan officials, both elected and appointed, in every possible way, to work through this. We hope to earn the opportunity to serve restaurants owners, residents, and visitors. Our goal: to offer a new level of parking convenience to access the restaurants on Forest Street, and to offer much better accessibility for our limited mobility, disabled, and senior community and their families. We believe Forest Street restaurants deserve an equal opportunity to be as accessible to customers as Elm St. and Main St., which both have better access to on-street parking and closer proximity to municipal lots. Our valet parking services will do that. Our valet parking will reduce the traffic congestion on Forest Street, not add to it; it will increase mobility, not hinder it. Early on we sought input from the local business community and Forest Street restaurant owners were the most vocal. They had the most obvious problem. We now have formal letters of support from 5 of the 7 restaurants located on Forest Street, supporting our company offering valet parking services on Forest Street. We have obviously provided these letters to each official involved, but we also value your input. Please consider commenting on this article with your opinion, either pro or con. And share this with others. We’ll let the approval process work itself out. Thank you in advance.

    • This is not a good idea. Forest St. is a one way street and very congested already. With the dance studio on both sides and many people walking across the street during the dinner hours a valet service would be a nightmare and dangerous! I do know quite a few restaurants on Forest street and the residential building that are not in favor of the NC Valet service to be stationed on Forest st. I cant imagine the Police commission would be in favor of this proposal.

      • Thank you for submitting your comment, Alice. To be clear, you’re speaking on your own behalf only and not on behalf of the Heritage Square condo association that’s located across the street from this proposed valet stand, is that correct? Also, could you clarify your assertion regarding “quite a few restaurants” that are opposed? We heard from the applicant that five of seven restaurants are in favor of this concept. Or are you referring to a future tenant of the former Embody space in your mixed-use development? I know that in the recent past, a prospective occupant of that commercial space drew opposition from your association. Thank you.

        • Hi Michael, Yes I am commenting on my own but also I can say the Heritage Square Association as well. Emails have been sent to Police Commission etc. against the NC Valet proposal from business’s on Forest St. as well as the Condo Association. Thank you.

  4. Hello Alice, thank you for your input. We do appreciate your position and we understand you have a vested interest in this matter; your voice and opinion on this is important. I can assure you that a valet stand on Forest Street is supposed do the exact opposite of what you expect, and we are simply asking for an opportunity to prive this will be a solution. If it doesn’t work, if it made matters worse, we would be the first to say so and we would not expect to stay. That would go against the entire reason we are doing this. As far as Forest Street restaurant support, we submitted individual signed letters addressed directly to the Police Commission from Cava, Gates, Tequila Mockingbird, New Canaan Diner, and Locali who all stated the idea deserved a chance for a trial. And one reason was, because it could allow better traffic flow without all the drop offs and pick ups. We could easily park cars for the dance studios as well, helping to ease the log jam there. Again, I am more than happy to listen to your concerns and have a conversation with you about this. You are blessed to be able to walk across the street to dine at these restaurants. Some choose not to go, especially in bad weather, simply because of lack of parking. We are asking for a trial period to prove valet can help all individuals involved. Thank you again for your input. Stay well.

  5. There is a large public lot located a block away from most of the restaurants on Forest st. with free parking at night. There is a large public parking lot directly across the street from the restaurant on Main st. free parking at night, and there is another large public parking lot located directly behind the restaurants on Elm st. with free parking at night. Have the people of New Canaan reached a point where they need a valet to park their car to avoid walking a block or less to eat?

  6. Hello Paul. You bring up a good point. I think it’s important to single out Forest Street to note that the Locust Street clisestvto Forest St. lot can fill up quickly to service the 3 restaurants on Main St. next to the Fire Station: Chef Prasad, Pesca, and Chings Table. The walk from there is also difficult fir people with limited mobility and seniors. Forest Street only has two handicapped spaces for 7 restaurants, and if approved, we will be parking all cars with official handicapped placards as a free service. The only other option for people is to park on Cherry Street, which many do. That then requires a walk up a hill and around the block. It’s not an easy walk. This is where the bottleneck mainly occurs, with people dropping off family members, then parking, then picking up family members after. This issue is only compounded in Winter weather. We are not seeking to park on Main or Elm. I do appreciate your input.

  7. How would service eligibility be verified ? That could easily cause a bottleneck in itself.
    What happens if someone just wants to park in one of available handicapped spots without using service? Will they be allowed to?

  8. Hello Richard, thank you for your question. Everyone is eligible to to park, so we would every car that would like to vaket park. We use a parking technology to check cars in that only takes 60 seconds per car and each car receives a ticket. No payments are taken. That is all done electronically via phone to be a touchless as possible to follow COVID-19 best practices. We can still take cash, but it would be at the delivery of the vehicle. We want the lanes clear for receipt of cars so the process is exactly the same for each car, we task for first name last initial and a cell phone number. The only difference is ith our handicapped customers which we will park at no charge, is thst we will identify vehicles with a visible handicapped placard, and they will receive a no charge ticket. We will treat everyone the same, with a big smile and a welcome hello. Our system is designed for speed and efficiency, folks with certified handicapped placards will just not be charged. But even better, our system allows for guests to request their vehicle from the restaurant via their text messages on their phone from their table prior to departure. All a guest needs to do is click on a text, press a button to request their cars. We then notify them by text of an estimated arrival time in minutes, and then text them when their vehicle is outside. So with out system their is no standing outside waiting in weather for vehicles and no lines. We keep the the car outside for two minutes, if the guest does not arrive, we notify them by text thst we are circling that vehicle one time to give them a second chance. This does two things, it leaves the valet area clear to receive cars and deliver others, and it reduces idling time. It’s a really cool and simple system that we chose to use to make things more efficient and specifically reduce any chance for bottnecks. It does cost us money, but it’s worth it. Our private party customers really love it. You can watch a video about the technology here: https://youtu.be/uhmaUb9Ts_8. Thank you again for your input, I am very glad you brought it up.

  9. Billy thank you for the detailed explanation. I’m glad that I asked, as I had the wrong impression from reading the articles that program was only going to be for senior citizens and the handicapped. If it is for everyone it sounds like would be a great service for “restaurant row”.

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