Hundreds of bargain-hunters visited the downtown Saturday for the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce’s annual sidewalk sale. Held on pedestrian-only stretches of Elm and Forest Streets, shoppers hit the downtown early as temperatures were expected to soar into the mid-90s amid a sustained heat wave in the region. “The street is full of all sorts of great merchants and organizations,” Chamber Executive Director Laura Budd said amid the crowds near Elm and Park Streets where two food trucks kept visitors fed. “It feels like a classic New Canaan summer day and we’re really excited to see all the people down here despite the heat. There’s a nice breeze coming down Elm Street so we feel pretty lucky.”
Nonprofit organizations, including Wildlife In Crisis, Staying Put in New Canaan and local party committees, set up booths alongside retailers and service businesses in curbside tents, many of them passing out water to downtown visitors.
A citizen-led group is asking New Canaan’s highest-elected official to appoint a formal committee to plan for creation of electric vehicle charging stations in town. The group, which includes Leo Karl III, Chris Hering and members of the Department of Public Works, has met informally to talk about EV charging stations, according to Laura Budd, chair of the Parking Commission. Karl “is working something up send to the first selectman that we’d like to get an official committee working, because it’s so complicated.”
“There are so many options with the EV chargers,” Budd said during the Commission’s May 5 meeting, held via videoconference. “There is one going up at the Town Hall Annex, the former Outback [Teen Center], which is great and then they are hoping from some rebates they get from that to put the second one in Morse Court. So we are trying to get ahead of it but it’s so complicated.
Town officials this month upheld a $30 ticket issued to a man parked illegally on Elm Street.
According to the enforcement officer who issued the ticket at 12:52 p.m. on March 4 (a Friday), the man had been asked four times to move his car to a legal parking space. “I stepped out of my vehicle and asked a fourth time (window was down),” the officer wrote in their report. “He ignored me again so a citation was issued.”
Members of the Parking Commission cited the officer’s report prior to voting 4-0 during their regular meeting April 7 to uphold the ticket. Those voting included Chair Laura Budd and members Nancy Bemis, Drew Magratten and Marley Thackray. Secretary Jennifer Donovan was absent.
Parking officials last week upheld a $150 ticket issued to a delivery driver using a disabled space in a private lot on Pine Street. The Parking Commission during its regular meeting April 7 voted 4-0 to uphold the ticket, given to a driver in the heavily used Pine Street Concessions lot. Parking Manager Stacy Miltenberg said at the meeting that disabled spaces fall under state statutes, including those in private lots “so we are allowed to go in there and ticket anybody who dos not have a handicapped permit and is parked in a handicapped space in a private lot.”
“And in addition, that particular area we get several complaints that people just utilize that spot as a regular spot and do not leave it open for people who need it, so it’s monitored on a regular basis,” Miltenberg said at the meeting, held via videoconference.
Chair Laura Budd and Commissioners Nancy Bemis, Drew Magratten and Marley Thackray voted to uphold the ticket. The driver himself did not appear at the hearing. He said in a written appeal that he’d only been in the space for five minutes, the Commission said.
Town officials this week approved a plan to re-install barricades along the north side of Elm Street’s one-way stretch for nearly its entire length. Put in place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the water-filled white barriers will run from the area out front of Patisserie Salzburg to the alley in front of Chef Luis, following a unanimous vote by the Police Commission during a special meeting Tuesday. They’re designed to expand outdoor dining options in New Canaan, and could become part of an effort to widen the sidewalks on that side of Elm Street permanently, even beyond the stretch from South Avenue to the Playhouse whose construction is now underway.
“The weather is starting to warm up and I think it’s time to discuss and hopefully approve more expanded outdoor dining,” Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said during the Commission’s meeting, held via videoconference.
“I know our residents love it and every time I walk up Elm Street I know people are very appreciative of what we can do, he said. “And given that I am starting to see more positive COVID cases in town and starting to see it surge a little bit, I think it’s smart for us to move that forward and expand the outdoor dining as much as possible to support our great restaurants and merchants in town. I think it’s a very appreciated endeavor and I think it’s time to move that forward again.”
Because the town is legally required to preserve an unobstructed four-foot pedestrian way—and cannot, following a complaint of Americans with Disabilities Act violations filed last summer, funnel pedestrians into the street, even if they’re protected by barriers—restaurants will have the option to set up tables in the barricade-protected areas of Elm Street itself, rather than on the sidewalk, according to those who attended the meeting, including municipal department heads from Public Works, Health and Land Use.