New Canaan Resident Puts Town on Formal Notice Regarding Parking Requirements

The width of parking stalls in Morse Court fails to meet a 9-foot minimum specified in New Canaan’s own Zoning Regulations, according to a town resident who has advised the first selectman’s office on the matter. State law appears to require that municipalities abide by their own regulations, according to Jeff Holland, and “[i]t also appears that a town cannot cherry-pick which regulations apply or which don’t.”

“Parking Commission minutes show that several people have been ticketed for parking outside of the lines demarcating spaces,” Holland said in a Nov. 14 email to Tom Stadler, administrative officer in the first selectman’s office. 

“Most of these instances are on Elm and in Morse Court,” Holland continued in the letter, obtained by through a public records request. “I have also heard that drivers avoid parking in Morse Court because their car doors get damaged, as the parking is so tight. The parking spaces in Morse Court are nowhere near the minimum width of 9 feet … It’s easy to see how drivers are getting tickets—it almost seems like entrapment. Just one car parked slightly out of place creates a chain reaction of violations down the line.

Future of ‘Pop Up Park’ Uncertain After Some Merchants Voice Concerns

After a handful of merchants voiced concerns about how the Pop Up Park at South Avenue and Elm Street affects traffic and business, members of the municipal body that oversees street closures in New Canaan said Wednesday night that they’ll take the feedback into consideration in deciding on the future of the downtown amenity. No immediate decision is needed regarding the Pop Up Park, which saw part of the South Avenue’s first block cordoned off as a pedestrian-only space—with tables, chairs, WiFi, planters, grass, fountain and events—from the July 15 Sidewalk Sale to Labor Day. However, approval from the Police Commission is needed each “offseason” to get the volunteer-run Pop Up Park in place. Launched five years ago, the town had approved an all-summer run in 2015, but the Pop Up Park didn’t run at all that year after some merchants raised concerns. During the commission’s regular meeting Wednesday, some of those who long have said the park creates problems that hurt the downtown and its businesses reiterated their concerns.

Officials Reject Proposed Rotary at Farm and White Oak Shade

Calling it a complicated solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, town officials rejected one resident’s proposed rotary for the difficult intersection of Farm and White Oak Shade Roads. Police Capt. John DiFederico called New Canaan resident Jeff Holland’s rendering of a rotary at the offset intersection that also includes Main Street and Old Norwalk Road an “excellent sketch” that’s “very good” in execution. However, if New Canaan is to invest heavily in a solution for the intersection, it must address the most pressing problem facing traffic officials—namely, how to get pedestrians safely across it, according to DiFederico. “I think probably an easier solution and more cost-effective solution would just be to put a crosswalk on White Oak Shade” and install a new sidewalk on the south side of Farm Road DiFederico said at the most recent meeting of the Traffic Calming Work Group. As it is now, a painted east-west crosswalk with a warning sign in the middle connects the southern end of Main Street with the western end of Old Norwalk Road, the start of a sidewalk that runs down toward Kiwanis Park.

‘Pop Up Park’ Organizers Eye Extended Summer Season Downtown

The organizers of New Canaan’s ‘Pop Up Park’ downtown will seek permission to run it continuously from July 16 to Sept. 4. If approved by the Police Commission, the dates—from just after the Sidewalk Sale through Labor Day—would expand by several weeks the longest continuous run for the Pop Up Park, which was in place for three straight weeks last August. Tucker Murphy, an advisor to the Pop Up Park Steering Committee from the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said many visitors were disappointed last year when the park—located on South Avenue between Morse Court and Elm Street—was disassembled before what turned out to be a beautiful Labor Day weekend. The committee is “trying to build upon last year while still recognizing that some of the merchants and some people have concerns about traffic flow,” Murphy said.

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. 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.