Selectmen Voice Concerns Over Threat of Reduced Metro-North Railroad Service to New Canaan, Speed of Trains

Though some are telling New Canaan not to worry, the threat that the state could cut back on Metro-North Railroad service to the town during off-peak hours on weekdays, and halt weekend service altogether, is hugely troubling, municipal officials said Tuesday. Selectman Kit Devereaux said she’s concerned because “I think there is very little downside for the government to come through with this, for Connecticut to come through with this.”

“Because they can make their point while at the same time not having a large democratic constituency to upset,” Devereaux said during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. She added: “I think if they cut away our weekend service and they cut back our off-peak service, it’s a nail in the coffin. It really needs to be stopped.”

She referred to a proposal from the Connecticut Department of Transportation from earlier this month. When First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said that’s a good question to ask of New Canaan’s delegation to the Connecticut General Assembly—a forum that includes state legislators such as State Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125th) and even state DOT Commissioner Jim Redeker is to be held 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall—Devereaux asked whether the first selectman was “being proactive in talking to legislators?”

Moynihan responded: “: I am in constant contact with our legislative representatives.”

When Devereaux asked “About this?” Moynihan answered yes.

State, Town Agree To Co-Fund Re-Working of Difficult Locust Avenue-123 Intersection

The state has agreed to pay for most of the work needed to make one of New Canaan’s most harrowing intersections safer for pedestrians, officials said Tuesday. The Board of Selectmen approved a $7,000 contract with Bridgeport-based Cabezas-DeAngelis Engineers & Surveyors to create a formal design—likely with push-button signals, sidewalks, pedestrian ramps and crosswalks—to help pedestrians cross Route 123 where Locust Avenue and Brushy Ridge Road come in. Brought to the attention of town officials in June by a resident of the area, the complicated intersection at the moment allows for “no pedestrian access across [New Norwalk Road],” Tiger Mann, the assistant director of the Department of Public Works, said at the selectmen’s meeting, held in Town Hall. “The push buttons that are there are behind the guardrail, you can’t get to them, there’s no connectivity as far as where the sidewalk ends on Locust to anything across the street—River Street, Brushy Ridge—and you have several residents trying to cross the street. It’s a busy intersection, it’s got four legs into it.”

Residents in the area have told town officials that awkwardly timed traffic signals are prompting motorists to speed and run red lights at the intersection.

Question of Funding Lingers as State Sketches Out Safe Pedestrian Crossing of 123 at Locust

The good news for residents who live near a bustling Route 123 intersection that motorists enter six different ways is that state officials have sketched out a plan—it includes new push-button signals, sidewalks, pedestrian ramps and crosswalks— that would help them get safely across New Norwalk Road. As it is now, that’s an ill-advised, dangerous prospect where Locust Avenue and Summer Street converge at the northwest edge of downtown. The bad news is that the Connecticut Department of Transportation in its proposal has indicated that the state agency would pay for the crosswalk striping only—an approximately $250 piece of a project that municipal officials peg $33,000 to $35,000 all in. New Canaan would need to build some 75 feet of sidewalk with granite curbing, move two walk signals with conduits, re-time them “and do a whole bunch of other stuff” including signage and striping, according to Tiger Mann, deputy director of the New Canaan Department of Public Works. “If the residents want it, they have to now kind of elevate that cause,” Mann said Tuesday during a meeting of an administrative team that fields requests for traffic calming, held in the Training Room of the New Canaan Police Department.

DOT: Grove Street To Close at Railroad Crossing for One Week Starting July 31

Starting next Friday, July 31, the railroad crossing at Grove Street will be closed to motor vehicle traffic for seven days while state officials work on it, officials say. Cars will be detoured (see PDF below) around the Metro-North Railroad branch line crossing by way of Elm and Park Streets and Richmond Hill Road, according to a Connecticut Department of Transportation notice filed with the New Canaan Department of Public Works. Due to curvature of the track, the state will install rubber panels instead of concrete at the Grove Street railroad crossing, DOT officials say. The state on Thursday is notifying area businesses and residents affected by the road closure, officials say.

CT Transportation Commissioner: No Immediate Plans for Canopy for Commuters at Talmadge Hill Station

Though it’s not planned just now, state officials say a canopy will be installed on the platform at Talmadge Hill Station along Metro-North Railroad’s New Canaan branch line. Following a press conference Tuesday with the governor at Springdale station, asked Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker about the canopy at Talmadge Hill—a project that was to have been completed 10 years ago. “Right now it’s not programmed for an investment,” Redeker said from the platform at Sprindale. “You can see here we actually installed these canopies this past year, platform extensions. So we believe as part of this line upgrade we should have all those canopies done and we should upgrade all of our stations in addition to taking a look at parking expansion.”

The Talmadge Hill station has only a few scattered weather shelters, but not a canopy—the responsibility of the state, as per New Canaan’s lease with the DOT.