‘There Has Been a Lot of Abuse’: Commissioner Flags Poor Parking Downtown

The restaurant “bump-outs” and revised parking and sidewalk schemes downtown have led to safety hazards because motorists are pulling into no-parking areas and even blocking crosswalks, official say. Trucks are pulling up along crosswalks so that it’s impossible to see pedestrians, according to Parking Commission Secretary Pam Crum. “There has been a lot of abuse going on as of late,” Crum said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held Sept. 10 via videoconference. 

Crum questioned whether appropriately sized planters could be set up in areas such as Elm Street near Dunkin Donuts in order to prevent vehicles from parking where they shouldn’t. “The planters were there before and it wasn’t a problem,” Crum said.

Moynihan Urges Visitors to Downtown New Canaan To Wear Masks Outside As Well As Inside Businesses 

As New Canaan prepares to see some businesses start to reopen later this week, and for restaurants to start offering restricted outdoor dining in addition to take-out and pickup, the town’s highest elected official is urging anyone visiting the downtown to wear protective masks at all times. The business district “is a necessarily congested area, so we really have to have the rule,” according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. 

“That when you are downtown, on any street downtown—that’s Pine Street, Forest Street—you should be wearing a mask. And I say ‘should’ not because it’s not optional but but because we expect you to. And the respectful thing for your fellow citizens is to protect them as they are protecting you. And unfortunately the expectation is we are going to wear masks through the summer and perhaps into the fall, especially to avoid a recurrence.”

The comments came during the “Annual First Selectman’s Report To The Business Community,” organized and hosted by the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce.

Officials Seek Workable Site in Kiwanis Park for Proposed Open-Air Ice Rink

Town officials said Tuesday they’re trying to identify just where in Kiwanis Park would be the best place for a proposed open-air ice rink. 

A leading contender for a seasonal rink site in New Canaan that would be open to the public with an admission charge, Kiwanis is attractive in that it has sufficiently large areas, parking, access to bathrooms, running water and electricity, and structures that could house changing areas, snack bar and skate shop, members of the Parks & Recreation Commission have said. Yet a level area out front of the main pavilion traditionally has been used by a local service organization for a large chunk of the late-November-through-February trial season that Parks & Rec has floated. 

And early cost estimates to level out an area behind the pavilion and install a retaining wall there appear cost-prohibitive, a group of town officials and community volunteers said during a meeting of a Parks & Rec subcommittee. It’s also unclear whether installing the ice rink deeper into the park—on the far side of the swimming hole—would create a sufficiently attractive and workable facility, officials said during the Parks & Rec skating subcommittee meeting. While excavation, fill, retaining wall construction and other costs would push the total expense for an ice rink located between the rear of the pavilion and swimming hole to an estimated $200,000 to $250,000, creating a facility out front of the building, where the Exchange Club of New Canaan in past years has set up its approximately month-long Christmas tree sale would be far less money, official said. Rona Siegel, chair of Parks & Rec, asked whether the club had ever looked at setting up its sale in the Waveny Pool parking lot instead. 

“It’s ideal,” Siegel said at the meeting, held in a conference room at Town Hall.

Podcast: 15th Annual Holiday Stroll Comes Friday and Saturday

This week on 0684-Radi0, our free weekly podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to Tucker Murphy of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce about the Holiday Stroll, a favorite annual event that will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday in the heart of the downtown and continue Saturday. This week’s podcast is sponsored by New Canaan Music. Join them from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday at Pesca on Main Street while The Scavengers play for the Holiday Stroll kick-off.  During the Stroll weekend, New Canaan Music will offer half off on Hamilton Stands as well as free assembly and local delivery for electric pianos and drum kits (a $50 value). Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

Selectman Williams Proposes Elimination of Metered Parking in New Canaan

Shoppers and diners would feel more welcome in New Canaan if they faced enforceable parking time limits instead of pay machines, Selectman Nick Williams said Tuesday. Though cars wouldn’t be allowed to sit in a parking space all day and enforcement officers would ticket overtime violators, New Canaan should look into eliminating metered parking downtown, Williams said during a regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen. “It would be, I think, great for our town in the sense that it would be a talking point: Come to New Canaan, you don’t have to worry about putting money in the meter, don’t have to worry about running out of time,” Williams said during the meeting, held in Town Hall. “You would have to consider it can’t be a situation where you can’t park all day in Morse Court or elsewhere—maybe it’s two hours, maybe it’s three hours, that would be something for discussion— but I put that out there because we need to do whatever we can to support our downtown.”

The comments came during an open discussion of general matters before the town. New Canaan offers metered parking spaces in the Morse Court, Locust Avenue, Park Street, Playhouse, Railroad and Talmadge Hill Lots.