The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday voted unanimously to enter into a $25,000 contract with a Hartford-based consulting firm that will study the use and turnover of parking spaces throughout the downtown and make recommendations on future use.
The work of Fitzgerald & Halliday will be divided into three separate tasks, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann: Taking an inventory of current municipal parking, studying utilization and turnover of parking over three weeks and providing guidance on how New Canaan could better serve visitors and workers who park downtown.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said New Canaan must understand how many parking spaces it has and how they’re used “so we can decide what can we do differently.”
“This parking picture has gotten so complicated with the addition of Boxcar and based on what is happening with Town Hall and Locust, we really need to make decisions over the next three months and need input,” he said at the Board’s regular meeting, held in Town Hall.
Moynihan and Selectmen Kit Devereaux and Nick Williams voted in favor of the contract.
The study comes as New Canaan weighs a proposal from Williams to eliminate metered parking downtown while still enforcing time limits. Moynihan said the objective of the new study is to make it free to park up to two hours—as on-street parking already is throughout downtown New Canaan—and also to study the budget implications of doing so.
Members of the Parking Commission have said the change would amount to a loss of about $200,000 in revenue annually. The town last year took in more than $300,000 in parking infractions, officials have said.
Mann said the consultants will study on-street parking downtown as well as commercial and commuter lots—Center School, Locust Avenue, Morse Court, Park Street, Pine Street, Playhouse, Railroad, Richmond Hill, Lumberyard, St. Aloysius (Boxcar spaces), Talmadge Hill, Telephone Co. and Town Hall. The firm has conducted parking studies for New Canaan in the past, he said.
Moynihan said Fitzgerald & Halliday also has done similar studies recently for the towns of Darien and Greenwich.
“They come highly recommended in this field,” Mann said.