Town Officials Bemoan Anonymous Nature of Traffic Complaint to State

Print More

East Avenue and Main Street in New Canaan is a state road intersection. Streetview

While he or she has a right to flag the issue, the anonymous nature of a complaint lodged with the state that will likely result in downtown New Canaan losing some parking as well as pedestrian crosswalks is troublesome, Selectman Kit Devereaux said Tuesday.

Town officials have said representatives of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, as a result of the complaint, are seeking “immediate compliance” with a 1949 state law that requires a 25-foot no-parking zone on either side of pedestrian crosswalks on Main Street.

Reached by NewCanaanite.com, DOT officials said the complaint came in via phone and there’s no record of the complainant’s name.

The “anonymous aspect of one of our residents requiring this work” is bothersome, Devereaux said during the Board of Selectmen’s regular meeting.

“I just wish they would come forward and justify what they are doing so we can all understand rather than feel it’s some kind of anonymous assault,” she said at the meeting, held in Town Hall.

The comments came as Devereaux and First Selectman Kevin Moynihan approved a $7,000 contract with Fairfield-based transportation consultant Frederic P. Clark Associates to study the situation and recommend a solution that will minimize the loss of parking (Selectman Nick Williams was absent). Public Works Director Tiger Mann has said that could involve removing the northern crosswalks where Main intersects with Elm Street and East Avenue.

“It’s not the best alternative, because right now people walk where they want to,” Mann said. “If we remove [the crosswalks], the fear is that they still would continue to follow that same [path] and be unprotected.”

The consultant is expected to finish the study within about 10 days, Mann said.

Mann agreed with Devereaux regarding the anonymous nature of the complaint.

“We are open to residential complaints and suggestions,” Mann said, adding that the Department of Public Works responds within 24 at the outside. 

“I am quite upset about it as well,” he said. “I think there were other avenues to pursue rather than contacting DOT headquarters, but we are where we are.”

The complainant specifically flagged Main Street between Cherry and East Avenue, a stretch that doubles as state Routes 106 and 124.

A local man’s formal complaint last summer led to a local road, Elm Street, losing 13 parking spaces when the 25-foot buffer zone was painted into newly repaved asphalt at five crosswalks.

Mann said that with the consultant’s recommendation in hand, town officials intend to explain the nature of downtown New Canaan to the DOT, including that while there’s high traffic volume, there’s also high pedestrian traffic, that there have been no incidents of pedestrians struck by motor vehicles along the stretch in question and that vehicular speeds are low.

Moynihan asked why, if that’s a state road, the DOT doesn’t pay for the work. Mann said it’s “because they consider parking stalls under the municipality.”

“They don’t do parking stalls, they don’t do parking work,” Mann said, though towns must follow state law.

8 thoughts on “Town Officials Bemoan Anonymous Nature of Traffic Complaint to State

  1. It is disturbing that this person does not have the guts to come forward personally. Who would do this? We are such a “downtown village” and they want to take away our parking????

  2. This issue came up years ago and it was my understanding that when a town has a designated Parking Authority they can override the State Regulations, therefore we were permitted the have the layout that existed for years and worked well – similar to other municipalities. Is this the same individual who made a big deal of the number of handicapped spaces in the Center School lot (which were sufficient) and we had to create many more handicapped spaces that today are largely UNUSED every day? We had to take three regular spaces to create on handicapped space! If the demand had been there we would have been happy to create more spaces… this individual needs to find a more productive way to give to the town! The new Elm Street layout has hurt the downtown businesses- and we’re spending $7000.00 tax dollars on a study? Shameful.

    • Thank you Karen. I don’t know why the Town doesn’t resist this. Here’s the operative provision from the statute:

      ‘Nothing in this section shall be construed . . . to prohibit a vehicle . . . from stopping on any highway within the limits of an incorporated city, town or borough where the parking of vehicles is regulated by local ordinances.”

      We could probably use some additional visibility at some of the crosswalks, but we shouldn’t feel obliged to slavishly observe the State regulation. The Town should make its own assessment based on local conditions.

  3. Precisely what will the State do if New Canaan does not comply? Withhold money??!! This whole thing is a farce.The first debacle was too.

  4. What a coward the complainant is! ARGH!!! SOME people!? He/She should’ve contacted local government first. This costs all the local taxpayers by costing the town; and AS IF we needed to lose more parking.

  5. Even though Ringling Brothers is alive and well in Hartford, it doesn’t mean that New Canaan has to answer to clowns. Let’s keep all of the parking spaces, all of the crosswalks and continue to support our local businesses. If our local complainant failed to identify himself, then his complaint was – and is – a moot point.

  6. While I am not the complainant, I can see why the person chose to remain anonymous! I would remind everyone that the various branches of New Canaan Town government all operate in conformance with State of CT laws and regulations. I don’t see why the crosswalk regulations are any different than, say, the school regulations. We simply don’t get to pick and choose which ones we’ll obey. The issue that has gotten lost in the dialogue is how the Town was unaware that it was out of compliance with the state law on cross walks for such a long period of time. Some of the ire directed at the complainant might more properly be directed to the responsible parties in Town government.

  7. Whomever this person is they are trying to destroy NC businesses and our once amazing and bustling downtown. Someone with a vendetta perhaps?? A 1949 law really????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *