A long-awaited sidewalk between the Old Norwalk Road bridge and Kiwanis Park finally will be built this summer, Assistant Director of Public Works Tiger Mann told the New Canaan Town Council June 18.
The 5-foot-wide sidewalk, which has been in the planning for about a decade, will stretch for 825 feet on the south side of Old Norwalk Road, or roughly between the intersection with Main Street and Holly Road.
Mann said the project likely would begin in August and he hopes be completed before school starts.
The stretch has been a growing concern of residents who have to walk through the area alongside cars and trucks. Many children also walk there as the New Canaan Community Preschool and Kiwanis Park are both located in that area.
John Buzzeo, who lives on the north side of Old Norwalk Road, said the sidewalk should have been built "at least 10 years ago."
"This is a dangerous road," he said. "It's too busy and they got the school here."
Betty J. Lovastik, another Old Norwalk Road resident, was one of several who attended the meeting to thank the town for moving forward with the project.
"I've been a neighbor of Old Norwalk Road for 16.5 years," she said. "I go through that dangerous intersection daily."
That part of the road also will be repaved as the sidewalk is built. The estimated cost of the sidewalk is about $80,000, while repaving will cost about $87,000, according to Mann. A final dollar amount will be known once the bidding process is complete.
The sidewalk's design, done by Cabezas DeAngelis Engineers, cost the town $8,600.
At the meeting, Councilman Roger Williams questioned the Department of Public Works' method of choosing what sidewalks to work on first, saying Mann seemed to prioritize areas with a more vocal crowd.
Mann said the project has been on the top of his sidewalk construction index for years. First Selectman Robert Mallozzi noted that a sidewalk on the stretch between Old Norwalk Road and Main Street is long overdue.
"That road has been devoid of paving because we've been waiting and waiting," Mallozzi said. "There are kids going to school on that road ... I can't imagine a better candidate right now for a sidewalk than that small stretch."
The second sidewalk on Mann's priority list is a stretch on Mead Street near Park Street, and the third one is between Elm Street and Irwin Park on Weed Street.
Williams noted that he's "a big believer in sidewalks."
"We're getting to a point where we do need more sidewalks," he said. "I think it's better for people to be walking than driving around this town. I'd like to see us do more, not less."
The 2014 Plan of Conservation and Development recommends adding sidewalks between Main and Forest streets, Elm and Cherry streets, among other areas.
Three trees will have to be removed for the sidewalk project on Old Norwalk Road, Mann told the council. Two of them "are well beyond their useful life," he said.
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