In response to recent concerns over what some said is a lack of parking in downtown Darien, the Corbin District has come through.

It has created a large new parking lot off the Post Road, behind Helen Ainson, the Darien Post Office and 10 Corbin Drive.

The new parking lot “will increase parking capacity for the next couple of years downtown while the developer begins the first phase of the project,” said Steve Olvany, chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission.

The project Olvany is referring to will be a mixed-use redevelopment spanning from Corbin Drive to the Bank of America building on Post Road.

Need for parking

At the most recent Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, Olvany said an issue that came up with Glen Liquors moving in across the street (replacing Kennedy’s All-American Barber Club) was the limited on-site parking.

He added that lack of parking also came up at a meeting about the new Darien Playhouse redevelopment last month.

“Now, Baywater has addressed this issue and is fixing it,” Olvany said. “They came through in the clutch. This new lot makes the downtown more walkable.”

Businesses that were previously located where the parking lot is include Darien Electric, Spiro (Darien Shoe Repair), EPOD and Paws & Reflect.

Another way the new lot will come in handy is for the anticipated construction workers that are building the project.

According to Olvany, “a few major downtown businesses” told the first selectman’s office they were concerned about construction parking while Corbin was under construction.

“That concern has now been addressed,” Olvany said.

Temporary tent

According to Planning & Zoning Director Jeremy Ginsberg, the newly created, although temporary, tent that went up will be used short term as an outdoor location for JoyRide Cycle Studio.

Bicycles will be set up in the 60-foot-by-90-foot tent.

There will probably be no more than 50 bicycles, according to Ginsberg.

“The tent size will allow them to spread bikes further than required, to allow for participants to feel safer, should that be needed,” he added.

The tent has been approved by Ginsberg as a COVID-related temporary approval until Sept. 8.

He added that at the Planning & Zoning Commission’s first September meeting, it’ll be discussing whether to extend all of the temporary COVID approvals beyond Sept. 8, which was the date that the commissioners voted on at their May 5 meeting.

Ginsberg said that another reason the additional parking will come in handy will be for the longer term construction projects in town over the next year or two as potential parking for Corbin project contractors, trucks, and workers.

Next steps

According to Olvany, CT DOT will now need to let the town paint a pedestrian crosswalk in the Post Road for safety and traffic coming in, like the crosswalks that have been built in New Canaan, Greenwich and Westport.

sfox@darientimes.com