Residents who live near the Talmadge Hill Train Station raised concerns about expanding parking after hearing selectmen were considering adding 60 spaces.

Two neighbors said more spaces are not needed and they worry about an uptick in crime and congestion during the Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday Jan. 8.

Selectman Kit Devereaux and First Selectman Kevin Moynihan — without Selectman Nick Williams in attendance  — approved a contract with Tighe & Bond for $9,400 on conceptual designs for more spaces at the intersection of Route 106 and Talmadge Hill Road.

“I opposed that on several grounds,” said Dr. Sanford Steever, who lives near the station.

“The Talmadge Hill parking lot is now the largest and has been the largest of any Metro North station in a residential area,” he said.

“Having more spaces at Talmadge Hill will not solve the problem here because people from the Town don’t want to park in Talmadge Hill,” he said.

Another neighbor voiced concern over an uptick in crime. Already there is “a list of crimes on the police blotter” in the area, said Andrea Sandor.

People who had parked at Talmadge Hill parking lot created “trails in the snow going up to homes in Darien and there were people standing looking in the kitchen window at,” one home, she said.

Years back “they literally took the whole change machine,” and in “October they broke into the change machines,” said Sandor.

“At commuting times, traffic is quite heavy and we can’t get out of our driveways, it’s quite difficult,”  she said.

When the designs are done, the Town will receive three possible concepts, showing how many spaces could be added, the traffic flow, drainage and landscaping, Director of Public Works Tiger Mann explained.

Mann expects to get grants from the Connecticut state program Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP) to pay for the final project.

“There is a lot of factors going into this parking decision and I would emphasize there is no final decision made,” he said.

Not just for New Canaan

Parking for commuters is “a regional matter, a matter of supporting Metro North ridership, it is not simply about New Canaan residents,” Moynihan said.

It is important to encourage “ridership on that branch line, to make sure that branch line survives. The train stations must meet the needs of riders from Wilton, Norwalk and New York,”  he added.

Supervisor Kevin Hansan of Town of Pound Ridge came down to encourage more parking in New Canaan stations because the Westchester residents drive over to the Hudson Line, said Moynihan.

“We are happy to accommodate” the New York residents, said Moynihan, “but I would rather accommodate them in Talmadge Hill.”  And, “I think we had 47 New York state parkers yesterday at the two state lots downtown,” he added.

“There is no question residents prefer to park downtown, but, if we are also working on perhaps having the state make some changes on who is allowed to park downtown,” he said.

If someone has driven from Pound Ridge or Vista to catch a train, it is just as easy to park at  Talmadge Hill, he said.

As for congestion, “I think when we do a traffic study, we are going to discover the addition of 60 cars there doesn’t measure on the Richter scale,” he said.

“Do you really believe there is a need for more parking there?” Devereaux asked.

“On balance we know we need some more parking,” Moynihan aid. “I’m not sure we need the 500 spaces that we thought we needed. But, we definitely need more spaces.

“We are also in discussion with Walgreens to add at least 50 more underground parking spaces on Pine Street,” he said referring to an unused parking lot under the large store.

The parking app Box Car takes reservations for parking in Talmadge HIll and Devereaux wondered if the app was successful.

“Are the spaces full every day?” she asked.

“Not yet,” Moynihan said. “This why it is is a puzzle we have to figure out.”

“I understand that if there is a road block this will go no farther,” said Devereaux.

“We are not in a rush to do this,” said Moynihan.

“Then why are voting on it today?” she asked.

“This is the first time we have heard from the neighbors and we will investigate their concerns,” he assured Devereaux.

Moynihan told Sandor, “We will meet with you and the neighbors and we will discuss a lot of the questions that you raised and nothing is final here until we address issues and deal with the other bodies that have to be dealt with.”