Project expands parking availability on Governor Street in Ridgefield

Photo of Alyssa Seidman

RIDGEFIELD — Although construction crews were not able to complete renovations at the Governor Street parking lot before Tropical Storm Henri rolled into the region, it is still slated to reopen this week.

Workers spent most of Saturday repaving the area, which will provide an additional 37 public parking spaces near Main Street. First Selectman Rudy Marconi said striping would “hopefully” be completed by Wednesday at noon, weather permitting.

The project was approved three years ago as part of a capital plan. Four of the spots will have electric vehicle charging stations similar to the ones behind Town Hall, and lampposts will also be added to illuminate the area at night.

As of now drivers can only enter and exit the lot from Governor Street, but officials are eyeing another outlet to provide access to Bailey Avenue in the north. The objective is to increase accessibility to businesses there as well as on abutting Main Street.

“If you park all the way down at the end (of the lot) you would have to walk south to Governor Street and then back up (to Main Street),” Marconi explained, “and what we’re trying to do is come up with a way to cut through to Bailey Avenue.”

Such an outlet would require cooperation from neighboring property owners, he said, “but we’ll definitely be looking at that.”

Governor Street isn’t the only place where residents and visitors can now find additional parking. Earlier this spring, Ridgefield’s mail-handling operations moved to the United States Postal Service annex in Danbury, which freed up roughly 40 parking spaces downtown.

“It eliminated 21 people coming into work at the post office every day ... but it also moved all of the postal trucks out of that location,” Marconi said, “so there’s that secondary lot that is not being used.”

The selectman visualizes one ingress/egress point on Catoonah Street for parking near the post office. From there, drivers could either turn right into a pocket park in front of the building or drive further north to access the secondary lot in the rear. But the idea is purely conceptual at this point.

Local officials are currently in talks with Congressman Jim Himes’ office to arrange a sublet with the USPS and the property owner so the town can utilize the lot formerly occupied by mail-delivery trucks. If both parties agree to the modified lease, it would provide even more parking for employees who typically park on Main Street.

The perimeter lots would collectively add 80 new spaces in town, which would allot more parking to shoppers visiting Main Street. Both projects coincide with an impending realignment of the thoroughfare, which aims to improve traffic flow downtown.

Construction on that project is set to break ground next spring and will take approximately six months, with a completion date of Thanksgiving 2022.

“Hopefully it will create a ... Main Street that is set for the next 20 to 25 years,” Marconi said. “Maybe longer.”