There is a commuter and commercial parking shortage in New Canaan. All of the town parking lots, whether commuter or commercial, are desperately needed. Unless that situation changes, under almost no circumstances should the Town ever accept any proposal that eliminates or degrades any town parking lot or the off or on-street parking within the Magic Circle.
Insufficient Parking at certain times of the day Seasonal Recent causes: Population increase New Canaan recognized as a place to go to More people working from home More people eating out More SUVs, fewer compacts Commercial development just outside Magic Circle Developments within the Magic Circle More people working in Magic Circle More people shopping, eating, etc. in Magic Circle Less privately owned parking available. No increase in publicly owned parking.
In accordance with Article X Section C 10-5 of the town Charter, the Parking Commission has the following general responsibilities: Recommend to the Board of Selectmen rules, procedures and fees for Town off-street parking facilities 41-2 of Town Code says the Parking Commission shall establish the rules, procedures, fees, etc. Recommend acquisition of land by purchase or lease for off-street parking. Consider gifts or other devises or money for parking and make recommendations concerning these matters to the Board of Selectmen. Recommend the installation of parking meters. The Parking Commission also serves as the Board of Appeal for those wishing to appeal parking ticket fines but this is not stated in the Charter/Code.
Town Plans in the 1960s/70s/80s 1996 Business District Parking and Traffic Study 2002 Business District Parking and Traffic Study 2003-04 Parking Facilities Committee New Business District Study In all fairness this study encompasses many issues besides parking including square footage buildout potential, curb cuts, sidewalks, merchant needs and other aspects of the new zoning regulations that affect our downtown village.
So far all studies note tight parking situation downtown and for commuter parking and support acquiring more land or tiering, recommend expansion of the Talmadge Hill parking lot
Employees taking up much of the parking on Main and Elm Street Not a new problem! October 9, 1967 The Town has no legal authority to prevent merchants or their employees from parking on Elm or Main streets.
Put some form of meters on Main and Elm streets If done simultaneously with initiating free permits for Magic Circle employees in town commercial lots, this would motivate employees to get off the streets and into parking lots. Implement a price differential for the commuter parking Lots: For example: Railroad Station Lot $500, Richmond Hill and Talmadge Hill Lots $350. But what does this really accomplish? Number Locust Lot & make for either permit or metered
Change the Magic Circle rules so that while existing businesses would be "grandfathered", any incoming business would be required to provide each Tenant and Employee with off-street parking (either a parking spot on site or via a permit). Recommended as a Charter revision and to P&Z in April 2005.
Tier the Park Street Lot. Tier the Locust Lot. Tier the RR/Lumberyard Lot. First recommended in 2001. Parking Facilities Committee determined that cost would be around $5 million.
Parking Revenue should be set aside for parking department costs, maintenance costs, acquisition and construction costs. In this way, when we make recommendations to purchase land (Lumberyard, etc.) or develop it (Talmadge Expansion, Tiering), there will be funds available and these projects won't have to compete for funds against schools, facilities for the elderly, open space, etc. which are not generating any revenue. Proposed as a Charter revision in April 2005
Expand the Talmadge Hill Parking Lot as previously proposed and approved by the Planning and Zoning and Environmental Commissions. This is the most efficient proposal in terms of parking spaces (49) versus cost. There are currently over 200 people on the waiting list for Talmadge Hill. In addition to the above, we understand that the State was willing to allow the town to use some state owned land adjacent to the Lot for 50 additional parking spaces. We recommend that this be investigated and taken advantage of if the offer is still available. First recommended in 1989, then again in 2000 and every year since. Asphalt some of the grass at the Center School lot to provide more parking spaces (about 11) that can be used for employee/merchant parking and overflow for the library. Next best balance of cost to benefits, but hate to lose the grass.
Offer Locust Street and Center School Lots to downtown employees with permits at low cost or free with proof. We can police this, but we doubt that merchants and employees will use the lots without some compulsion.
New Canaan charged $345 in 2005/06 for all lots. Greenwich currently charges $385 for Indoor permits at Greenwich Plaza, while outdoor permits at the town's four Metro-North Railroad stations sell for $225. There is a 4-6 year waiting list for permits. Darien charges $288.00 for Railroad permits These are all outdoor. $88.00 for downtown business permits. Stamford charges $780 for both indoor and outdoor commuter parking. Norwalk charges $650.
In New Canaan all funds raised by parking (meter, permit, etc.) goes into the Town General Fund Surplus and all parking expenses are drawn from the Town General Fund Surplus. In Greenwich, most of the money from the sale of the parking permits -- about $1 million per year -- goes into the town's Parking Fund, which pays for upkeep of municipal lots and the salaries of the town's parking enforcement officers. The balance of $110,000 goes to Greenwich Plaza under a contractual agreement between the town and the commercial property's owner.