The Board of Selectmen -- acting as the Parking Authority -- agreed Monday that a town-wide parking analysis is needed to effectively address the parking issues in town.
"I would like to hire a consultant to do a broad analysis of our current parking inventory and utilization, and of our parking management system and to make recommendations for both of those items," said First Selectman Jayme Stevenson.
The Parking Authority unanimously approved hiring a consultant.
The Parking Authority approved a traffic study for Leroy West parking lot on April 21 to determine if the construction of a parking garage on the lot is feasible. Funds that were approved in the 2014-15 capital budget for a parking structure feasibility study were re-purposed for a parking lot utilization and traffic study at the Leroy West parking lot. The selectmen proposed $231,040 for the parking capital fund for the 2014-15 budget.
It is unclear what the financial impact will be for increasing the scope of the study and the inclusion of the consultant, according to Town Administrator Karl Kilduff.
Selectman Susan Marks said that if the town did a broad parking analysis, it would need to go "full force, even if will cost more and take longer."
Additionally, the Parking Authority agreed to create a parking committee, comprised of community members, to provide input and recommendations to how parking should be used in town.
The Parking Authority is charged with determining the best solutions to combat the parking issues in downtown Darien and at the parking lots at the train stations.
Several ideas have been discussed, like a parking garage at the Leroy West lot, and the conversion of the Grove Street parking lot from commuter parking to downtown parking.
Another option would be to convert voucher parking spaces to permit spaces in the railroad lot to address the multi-year wait list for a permit.
According to Kilduff, the implementation of the new parking payment system is effectively underway save for minor issues that are being resolved. Across the board, more commuters are paying for their parking spaces at the parking meters instead of on the phone app.
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