‘Cool, Collected and Communicative’: Karen Miller, Longtime Head of New Canaan Parking, To Retire Next Month

New Canaan resident Karen Miller, imperturbable superintendent of the town’s highly visible Parking Bureau and advocate for expansion of facilities for commuters, is retiring at the end of next month, she said. A New Canaanite since 1983 who has worked in the bureau for 18 years, Miller said major developments during her tenure include the acquisition of the Lumberyard Lot in 1999 and the introductions of both license plate readers for parking enforcement officers and the PayByPhone app for motorists. “We have to help our commuters,” Miller told NewCanaanite.com Monday during an interview in her office at the New Canaan Police Department. “Most of the people moving to town are in need of commuter parking because they work in New York City. It would be in the best interests of the town to give them a place to be, and we have the wherewithal to do that and we have all the support we need to do that and I think it’s time to stop talking about it and do it.”

A mother of two sons—Sam is living and working in New York City and Tom, after eight years with the U.S. Marines, including two stints in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, is pursuing a pre-med/physics degree at Columbia University—Miller took up her position in the Parking Bureau here as a second career.

‘It Is Sad, Really’: After Multiple Incidents with Angry Ticketed Motorists, Town To Purchase Five Body Cameras for Parking Enforcement Officers

In what New Canaan’s highest elected official is calling a sad statement on the way some motorists treat the town’s parking enforcement officers, the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday approved funds to purchase five body cameras that the workers soon will wear on the job. Approved 2-0 by the selectmen, the acquisition follows the arrests of a New Canaan man last month after a threatening incident at the Parking Bureau, a Norwalk woman this month who made a scene downtown after being ticketed, and a still-active case now two years old that saw a Greenwich man use racial slurs in arguing with a parking enforcement officer at Morse Court. “It is sad, really, that you have to do this,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said at the selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “And these are folks trying to do their jobs.”

Mallozzi and Selectman Beth Jones voted in favor of a $3,643 contract with Kansas-based Digital Ally to purchase the devices. Selectman Nick Williams was not in attendance.

After Disputed Ticket, Parking Officials To Disallow Any Motorcycles in Yellow-Striped Area at Elm and South

Parking enforcement officers in New Canaan are under instructions to make sure motorcycles aren’t parking in a yellow-striped area at the intersection of Elm Street and South Avenue following a dispute regarding a similar practice up the block. Karen and Andrew Zuckert, owners of a business on Elm Street, told members of the Parking Commission that they’d been allowed for two years to park their motorcycles in a yellow-striped area in front of the former Brotherhood & Higley building. Yet, having been told by parking officials that it was OK to pull into that area, Andrew Zuckert then suddenly was ticketed for the practice, he told members of the commission at their regular monthly meeting in the course of appealing the ticket. “I don’t understand why,” he said at the May 5 meeting, held at Town Hall. “That’s my only issue.

Selectmen Approve New $10 Fee for Those on Municipal Parking Permit Waiting Lists

Those waiting for permitted parking spaces to free up at New Canaan’s municipal lots will receive a letter this fall requesting that they pay $10 in order to stay on the waiting list through next fiscal year, following a decision that town officials made Tuesday. The new fee—approved 3-0 by the Board of Selectmen on a one-time trial basis, with the possibility that it becomes a regular annual occurrence—could become “a little bit of a burden because it’s an additional task,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said. “But it would be great to know who is truly and sincerely interested,” Mallozzi said at the selectmen’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “There are so many families that have moved into town, so many folks moving out of New York.”

Members of the New Canaan Parking Commission have made a strong case that the town needs more parking for commuters. The waiting list for the Lumberyard and Railroad lots is eight years long, while residents are waiting three years for a permit to park at Richmond Hill lot, according to data released earlier this year.

‘Tougher Than The Swiss’: Ticketed After Three Minutes, New Canaan Woman Critical of No-Grace-Period Parking Policy

A local woman appealing a $20 parking ticket she had received in Morse Court told officials this month that New Canaan’s lack of a grace period for those who overstay a meter by even a few minutes makes the town “even tougher than the Swiss” when it comes to enforcement. Jane Little told members of the Parking Commission at their most recent regular meeting that she used to live in Geneva, Switzerland, where “they created watches” and people are “as precise as precise can be.”

“Nothing is free in Switzerland—at the grocery store, you pay for parking,” Little said during the commission’s Jan. 14 meeting, held in Town Hall. “There is no free parking anywhere in Switzerland, so when confronted with this situation and I go up in French and ask the parking attendant: ‘I am here. You see me.’ They would tear it up.” (Here, Little made a tearing-up gesture with her hands.)

Parking Commission Chairman Keith Richey responded: “Unfortunately, our parking attendants do not speak French.”

Ultimately, the commission unanimously upheld the $20 ticket (it came out later that Little’s husband likely had been forgiven a parking ticket at Talmadge Hill within the past year, and may not have told his wife about it—“We don’t want to cause marital discord,” Richey said), though the discussion triggered what could amount to a new grace-period policy in the Parking Bureau.