Selectman Corbet Calls for Town’s ‘Traffic Calming’ Group To Reconvene Public Meetings

Citing an ongoing need for traffic improvements at Route 106 and Carter Street, Selectman Kathleen Corbet this month called for a group of public works, safety and parking officials to reconvene their regular meetings. 

The ‘Traffic Calming Work Group,’ whose members in the past have included the public works director, police deputy chief, fire chief and representatives from emergency response and parking, and “been in place for a number of years” before discontinuing its public meetings in the summer of 2020, Corbet said during the Board of Selectmen’s most recent regular meeting. “I think over COVID that sort of work has still been going on, but sort of the formal meetings that we’ve had on a monthly or every-other-month meeting, I’d like to recommend that we reinstitute so that there is more public participation,” Corbet said during the Oct. 5 meeting, held at Town Hall and via videoconference. She referred to a work group that last met July 13. During that meeting, as it intermittently for a number of years, the group discussed problems at the intersection where Canoe Hill Road and Carter Street come into Silvermine Road, which doubles at that stretch as state Route 106. 

New Canaan has petitioned the state in the past for a stop light or four-way intersection there three or four times, and those requests have been denied, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. 

Corbet flagged the problem at a selectmen meeting last month, and since then the intersection has seen two more crashes, she said.

‘That Is My Property’: Business Owner Pushes Back On East Maple Street Traffic Study’s Recommendations

The business owner involved in an ongoing dispute with residential neighbors on East Maple Street on Wednesday night pushed back on a traffic consultant’s suggestion to change the way he uses his own parking lot in order to improve traffic and safety. Instead of asking him to alter a stone wall (if not remove it) at AC Auto Body and no longer park cars in the northwest corner of the lot, the sight line problem at the corner of Main Street would go away if traffic on East Maple Street is made one-way toward Hoyt Street, according to the business’s owner, Anthony Ceraso. The wall “is on my property that we did have the approval to have erected when we did renovation, as well as the fence,” Ceraso told members of the Police Commission at their regular meeting, held in the training room in the New Canaan Police Department. “So my concern is and my original observation was the easiest way to rectify this was a one-way street. We don’t have to put up any stop signs, any traffic lights, we don’t have to worry about monitoring traffic going in or out of there with the police department giving tickets or warnings, because now it [would be] changed to a one-way street.

‘Merritt Village’ Unveiled: New Details, Concerns from Neighbors Emerge at First Public Hearing of Proposed Development

In considering a dramatic proposal to create up to 123 condos and apartments in an area at the edge of downtown New Canaan where 38 now exist, the town should find out how such a project would impact other property values, officials said Tuesday. Filed this month on behalf of M2 Partners, which owns a combined 3.29-acre parcel fronting Maple and Park Streets—and viewable here on the town website through a dropdown menu—plans for ‘Merritt Village’ call for four 4-floor multi-family dwellings that will include 60 townhouse-style condos and 62 midrise apartment units. According to Planning & Zoning Commission member Tony Shizari, a question central to the project’s merit is: “What will be the impact on the market of introducing several hundred thousand square feet of additional living space?”

“The question goes to the impact on property values,” Shizari said during a regular meeting of P&Z, held at Town Hall. “There are a lot of condos there—although I totally agree that we need single-floor access … But adding 90 units to what is allowable right now, what does that do to that surrounding area? Because that’s a lot of condos right there.

‘I’m Just Worried About the Scale’: P&Z Raises Concerns About Proposed Mixed-Use Building on Park Street

Though a proposed new mixed-use building on Park Street meets New Canaan’s development guidelines generally in terms of planning for housing and streetscapes, it could dramatically alter an important vista downtown if it’s located too close to the road, officials say. Replacing the small 1.5-story house at 121 Park St. with a two-story retail-and-residential structure that sits just five feet off of the sidewalk may not work “if you look at any context of the elevation looking down that street,” according to Planning & Zoning Commissioner Dan Radman, an architect. “All of us drive down that street multiple times a day—you are going to have a 2.5-story structure right at the corner of that transformer, looming over Park Street,” Radman said during the group’s regular monthly meeting, held March 29 at Town Hall. “That creates a condition going southbound on Park Street which has a very will create a very large impression on the street, in particular because you have a got a new structure existing past [Mrs. Green’s] by about eight or 10 feet.

YMCA Exit Onto South Avenue To Become Single-Lane

The New Canaan YMCA’s exit onto South Avenue soon will change from two lanes to one, following a recommendation from state transportation officials. A consulting firm that’s conducted a traffic study of the driveways and parking lots in the expanding facility will install shoulders and stripe the exit lane so that it’s 18 feet wide, “removing the signing that goes with two lanes—left-turn and right-turn only,” according to Michael Galante, executive vice president of Fairfield’s Frederick P. Clark Associates Inc.

“And that is accommodating their [Connecticut Department of Transportation officials’] concerns,” Galante told the Police Commission at its Feb. 25 meeting, held at the New Canaan Police Department. “The state looks at it like this: They would rather have the cars waiting longer in the driveway, rather than have the cars processing more traffic on two lanes.”

The change arises as the YMCA undergoes an expansion and Galante’s firm studies motor vehicle volumes in its driveways to determine the project’s impact on traffic. State officials recommended a similar change from two lanes to one at for the exit driveway at Saxe Middle School, which is set to undergo a rather large capital project next door.