Darien considers options for alleviating parking problems
The issue of parking, especially at the railroad lots, was revisited as the Board of Selectmen discussed possible solutions for freeing up permits including imposing penalties for late renewals and increasing daily parking rates.
Obtaining a parking permit in Darien is a notoriously lengthy process as the average wait-list time for a permit is seven to eight years. As a possible solution to alleviate the wait time the BOS previously discussed changing 38 voucher spaces to annual permit spaces at the Noroton Heights parking lot. However, during a meeting Monday night the BOS also considered imposing penalties on residents who took too long to renew their permits.
Administrative Officer Karl Kilduff said many residents took months to renew their permits, which are supposed to be renewed at the beginning of the year, and suggested imposing fines or even removing permit holders from the list altogether. Another option for alleviating parking problems was to increase the cost of daily parking at each of the train stations. Daily parking is currently set at $3 but Kilduff said the town could set their fees closer to what other towns charge which is about $5, he said. He said the town could also increase the fines for parking in the limited parking spaces designated for the Depot. Parking in one of those spots result in a parking ticket in the amount of $15 but that penalty could be increased up to $250, Kilduff said.
One of the final options to address parking issues was to purchase a license plate scanner, at a cost of about $18,000, which would scan license plates and then reference a database to ensure the permit matched the registered vehicle.
Jim Cameron, president of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, applauded the efforts by the BOS to improve parking in town but said the efforts wouldn't be enough. Cameron suggested the town should have a discussion with the Department of Transportation about increasing the size of the parking lots which would decrease the amount of time residents stay on the permit waiting list.
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