Elm Street Poised To Regain Lost Parking Spaces by Playhouse

Advised that a 25-foot buffer doesn’t apply to the area because it’s not an “intersection” under the state’s definition, town officials say they plan to re-stripe parking spaces on either side of the crosswalk in front of The Playhouse on Elm Street. Public Works Director Tiger Mann said plans include a “bump-out” to prevent vehicles from parking too close to the crosswalk and “protect pedestrians.”

“So we actually kind of kill two birds with one,” Mann said during a Jan. 9 meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure, held at Town Hall. “It’s not actually just putting the parking spaces back.”

It wasn’t immediately clear just how many spaces New Canaan will regain once the plans are approved by the Police Commission. 

The town had lost a total of 13 spaces in the summer of 2018 after a town resident put New Canaan on formal notice about its noncompliance with a 1949 state law that prohibits parking within 25 feet of a marked crosswalk at an intersection. After repaving Elm Street, which has four crosswalks between Main and Park, the town redrew parking spaces in observance of the law.

Re-Digging Up Roads: Water Main Won’t Serve New Canaan

New Canaan won’t benefit from the 36-inch main line that likely will see a stretch of Main Street dug up for the third time starting this year or next, officials say. The water company’s transmission line is designed to move water from Bridgeport’s system to Greenwich, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. “Believe it or not, Greenwich actually contracts to sell their water to Westchester towns, and when we had the drought and we had that temporary pipeline, they had to move water which is available in Bridgeport reservoirs over to Greenwich,” Moynihan said during Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, held at Town Hall. “this is a permanent fix for that, I guess.”

The comments came during an update on general matters before the town. 

Public Works Director Tiger Mann had discussed the future project during a meeting last month. The line is coming from Wilton and will run through New Canaan to Stamford, Mann said. 

Most of the route will stick to state roads, but it will come off of Route 106 near East School before hooking back up with Route 124/South Avenue near Waveny, according to Mann.

Town To Make Temporary Repair at Downgraded Ponus Ridge Bridge

A bridge in western New Canaan recently was downgraded due to new state regulations and fire vehicles are prohibited from traversing it, officials say. New Canaan Fire Department vehicles now must go around the bridge on Ponus Bridge near Collins Pond, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. 

“It’s not adding much to their time but it’s still sensitive in that area since that services Dan’s Highway—they already had a structure fire there—[and] certain other areas,” Mann said during a Dec. 11 meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure, held at Town Hall. 

He referred to a Nov. 16 fire that rendered a Dan’s Highway house uninhabitable, opening a discussion about installing more dry hydrants in New Canaan’s outlying areas. As a temporary fix, Mann said, the town will install a shear slab over the top of the road “that should take care of almost every single one of their vehicles.”

And a consultant is analyzing what’s required under new Connecticut Department of Transportation regulations, he said.

Public Works: Praise for New Traffic Island at Laurel and Canoe Hill After Signage, Striping Went In 

Complaints about the reconfigured traffic island at Canoe Hill and Laurel Roads have stopped since the town put in new signage and striping, officials said Wednesday. Town officials had grappled for years with ways to improve the intersection, where motorists sometimes ignored instructions to keep right around an existing traffic island. Last fall, the Police Commission green-lighted a plan to push the island itself deeper into Laurel Road, no longer requiring westbound Canoe Hill traffic to drive wide around it. According to Public Works Director Tiger Mann, residents used to lodge complaints with the town about “people going the wrong way around it.”

“Specifically box trucks, FedEx trucks, landscaping vehicles, things like that,” Mann said during a meeting of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure, held at Town Hall. “If you’re going the wrong way and somebody doesn’t notice you’re going the wrong way, that’s a bad accident waiting to occur.”

Construction of the newly configured traffic island “lagged a little bit,” Mann said, and “while it was being installed, people were unhappy with it, because they didn’t understand how they were supposed to travel.”

“I’m still uncertain as to why that was true, because it’s pretty self-explanatory to me, but we put the signage in, we striped it, and I have gotten nothing but compliments since that time,” he said.