Parking Commission Votes 3-2 To Keep Permit Rates Flat Next Year

A divided Parking Commission voted last week to keep rates for all permits to town lots flat for next fiscal year. With some commissioners pushing for relief especially for commuters who already face the highest annual fees for parking permits, the appointed body voted 3-2 during its March 14 meeting to keep rates flat. The recommendation now moves to the Board of Selectmen. 

Commissioner Chris Hering noted that the MTA is already raising its own rates. “I really think we want to drive ridership and given our that our Talmadge Hill parking lot is not full—we don’t have waitlist there—and, this is anecdotally, but people are happy when they are the newcomers and they can commute and get a permit in Talmadge Hill it’s nice,” Hering said during the meeting, held in Town Hall. In pushing back against one proposal for an across-the-board 2 percent increase in permit rates—which would see the cost of commuter lot permits go up more than others—Hering said that New Canaan already is a less attractive town for many commuters because it’s a longer ride and more difficult to find parking at rail lots than many others. 

“It’s a matter of creating an incentive for them or having them drive down to Darien for less money,” Hering said.

Town Officials Vote 4-1 To Charge for Disabled Parking Spaces at Railroad Station 

After research showed that several nearby towns already do so, officials last week recommended that six spaces for disabled parking at the train station be included among those charged $6 per day. The Parking Commission’s recommendation by a 4-1 vote is limited to six spots fronting the train platform on the north side of the station downtown and does not extend to municipal lots. The measure still requires approval from the Board of Selectmen. Commission Chairman Keith Richey said during the appointed body’s March 14 meeting that state officials have confirmed “the town has latitude and discretion to charge a parking fee for handicapped designated spaces at the rail stations.”

“This is a common practice at many New Haven line station facilities,” Richey said, citing a memo from the state Department of Transportation’s supervising rail officer. 

Currently, disabled people using the six spots at the train station are not charged. Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg said a survey conducted at the request of First Selectman Kevin Moynihan showed that of five comparable towns—Stamford, Westport, Fairfield, Greenwich and Darien—only one (Darien) does not charge for disabled spots at train station lots.

Town Upholds $30 Ticket for Woman Who Parked Against Bike Rack on Elm

Town officials last month voted unanimously to uphold a $30 ticket for a Wilton woman who parked against a bike rack downtown and then claimed that there were no lines in the roadway indicating she couldn’t do that. Told that a temporary line already had been painted around the bike rack at Elm Street and South Avenue when she parked there on the afternoon of Oct. 25, Katherine Cornbrooks said to members of the Parking Commission at their most recent meeting that “there was no line.”

“There was nothing drawn,” she said during her Jan. 10 appeal hearing at Town Hall. “It was all scraped away.

Town Upholds $75 Ticket for New Canaan Man Who Parked by Hydrant Near Fire Station

Town officials this month upheld a $75 ticket for a local man who had parked in front of a fire hydrant on Main Street. During an appeal hearing at Town Hall, Bryan Bourdier told members of the Parking Commission that it was “a little unfair” that he got the ticket, in part because his girlfriend was in the car while he ran in to Organika Kitchen to pickup a to-go order. “Let’s say if something was to break down and they actually need the hydrant, someone from the car probably could have moved the car,” Bourdier told the Commission at its Jan. 10 meeting. When Commissioner Peter Ogilvie asked why Bourdier’s girlfriend didn’t pick up the food, he responded, “She could have but she was on the phone.”

Ogilvie, Chairman Keith Richey, Secretary Pam Crum and Commissioners Chris Hering and Stuart Stringfellow voted 5-0 to uphold the fine.