‘It’s Busier Than People Think’: Officials Re-Examining Main Street Loading Zone

Municipal officials say they’re collecting data to help determine whether to change the parking rules or configuration in a long-discussed area of downtown New Canaan that’s seen a rise in recent years in service-oriented businesses. Members of the Police Commission are asking an officer assigned to the downtown beat to observe the area of Main Street just north of East Avenue in the mornings. Officer Kelly Coughlin will gather information for police and parking officials so they can better understand how heavily a 7 to 11 a.m. loading zone there is used by delivery trucks, and whether those seeking to patronize businesses in the immediate vicinity have ample on-street parking spaces further up Main Street or across it, in front of Town Hall. The main focus is a two-hour window from 9 to 11 a.m., when parking enforcement officers are patrolling downtown New Canaan and several businesses that front the loading zone—including greenology and StretchLab—are open and busy serving customers and clients. “It’s busier than people think,” Coughlin told the Commission at its Jan.

Three-Week Road Closure Planned for Downtown

Parts of Locust Avenue and Main Street will be closed at night as part of a three-week project slated for April, officials say. Eversource’s work on Locust from the area of Forest up to Main, and then down Main to East Avenue, is expected to start around 9 p.m. and continue until about 5 a.m., according to Project Manager Charlie Frangis. “Since it’s at night it will be less of an imposition but we just want to detour traffic, including trucks, either through or around the construction site,” Frangis told members of the Police Commission at their regular meeting, held Jan. 20 via videoconference. 

The state requires a letter from the town’s local traffic authority (the Commission) for Eversource to do its work. Commission Chair Paul Foley, Secretary Jim McLaughlin and member Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 to approve the necessary road closures and detours, contingent on including New Canaan Fire Department officials being included in the planning.

Town Officials Approve Christmas Eve Road Closure by Congregational Church

Town officials voted unanimously Wednesday night to close Park Street in front of the Congregational Church to motor vehicle traffic for five hours on Christmas Eve. Though traditional caroling at God’s Acre is canceled this year amid the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the church is holding four outdoor worship services starting at 4 p.m. Congregants will gather under a tent, observing six feet of social distancing and wearing masks. The Police Commission voted 3-0 in favor of closing the street there starting at 3:30 p.m. for the safety of attendees. “There will be no caroling, no singing, we are all going to stay in line with the governor’s requests and keep the crowds down, keep the social distancing up,” Chair Paul Foley said during the Commission’s meeting, held via videoconference. “But when you are kind of milling around there in the dark it will be nice to have that street closed so that no one gets clipped by a car coming through too fast.”

Foley and Commissioners Jim McLaughlin and Shekaiba Bennett voted 3-0 in favor of the road closure.

Town Approves Road Closure Downtown for New Canaan Crew Fundraiser Sept. 26

Saying they’d make an exception amid the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Police Commission last week approved a road closure downtown for a sports team’s annual fundraiser. The Police Commission voted 3-0 in favor of closing South Avenue before Elm Street—the former “Pop Up Park” area—so that New Canaan Crew can hold its “Ergathon” event on Saturday, Sept. 26. The appointed body noted that the crew team would have difficulty holding the event on a sidewalk downtown, given that many restaurants have “bumped out” onto the sidewalk during the pandemic to create more outdoor dining space. Chair Paul Foley said the event brings good visibility to a worthy sports and self-funded sports team.

Police Commission Approves Sunday Morning Partial Closure of Park Street for Church Services

Town officials voted last week in favor of closing the street in front of the Congregational Church of New Canaan for 90 minutes on Sunday mornings so that the faith community may gather and worship outside while maintaining social distancing. 

The Police Commission voted 3-0 in favor of the measure, which will apply to the short one-way stretch of Park Street atop God’s Acre from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Sundays. Deputy Chief John DiFederico, who received and presented the church’s request to the Commission, called it a “very reasonable request.”

“Most other churches in town have their own property and have the ability to expand outdoors into parking lots and what not, but the Congregational Church does not have that luxury,” DiFederico said during the Commission’s May 20 meeting, held via videoconference. “It is very easy to detour around,” he said. “It is not a state road or anything like that, so it would not be too difficult for us to manage. I don’t even know if we would need to station an officer out at that intersection.