NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The more parking in downtown New Canaan, the better, says Bob Watters, owner of the Forest Street Deli on a commercial street just off Main Street.
“We’re in desperate need of more parking,” said Watters, looking over the street with about 25 parking spaces. Those spots usually fill up quickly with shoppers and visitors who are getting a bite to eat at the Forest Street restaurants.
So the town’s plans to add tiered parking to the Locust Avenue parking area is welcomed news. “I think that’s a great start,” he said.
The Board of Selectmen voted last week to approve a contract with engineering firm Tighe & Bond of New Haven to design the new parking tier, which will add more than 100 spaces. The current lot has about 155 spaces for commuters and downtown visitors. Adding parking has been a major concern for residents and business owners. The issue was stressed in the Long Range Planning Committee’s final report as well as by the Market Demand Study Committee.
“I think people will be excited by this,” First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III said. “People are interested in it, and it will be a huge help” to downtown.
Margaret Schwartz, co-owner of the Summer House on Forest Street, agreed. “In terms of the store, it would probably be a good thing,” she said. “I’m glad they’re looking at new ways to help businesses.”
Brian Herlihy, co-owner of the Greek restaurant Kouzina, would like to see more spaces available. Customers who find it easy to park will continue walking in other areas, he said.
Lorenzo Colella, owner of Joe’s Pizzeria on Locust Avenue, just yards from the Locust lot, also says the new parking tier will be a nice addition because the lot and spaces on Locust Avenue and Forest Street fill up quickly. Colella said the town should buy machines that let users pay for their parking with credit cards.