Saying it’s needed for pedestrian safety and to accommodate use during peak hours, the YMCA is seeking to expand a parking lot along the side of its South Avenue building by 20 spaces. Fewer than 5% of the Y’s current 247 space are available when the nonprofit organization is busiest, according to an application filed with the Planning & Zoning Commission.
“Cars circling the parking lot looking for a parking space create an unsafe condition for pedestrians, many of them children, and may invite patrons to park on South Avenue or Putnam Road,” according to a letter that accompanied site plan and Special Permit applications filed on the Y’s behalf by attorney Ted O’Hanlan of Stamford-based Robinson+Cole.
In approving the Y’s extensive renovation five years ago, P&Z noted that if more parking is needed, the organization should submit a site plan along those lines, O’Hanlan noted.
“That time has arrived and is motivated by genuine concern for safety and convenience,” he said. “No increase in either programs or membership has motivated these applications.”
The application includes a traffic study that “clearly demonstrates that more on-site parking will better serve the YMCA’s existing parking demand.”
“The traffic analysis states that, because the YMCA is not adding any new programs, there will be no increase in trip generation to and from the property, and, therefore, no traffic impact on South Avenue and the surrounding street network,” O’Hanlan said. Plans call for 20 striped parking spaces on what the applicant is calling the “south side of the building,” running roughly parallel to Putnam Road. The spaces are to be used by Y staff and “as overflow parking for patrons.” Two new landscape islands with curbing are to be installed, along with a 6-foot-high wooden fence, forsythia hedge and access gate for emergency vehicles.