On Tuesday, July 5, Cabezas DeAngelis engineers delivered their engineering analysis of what it would take to install sidewalks on lower Main St. in New Canaan. The report was delivered to the town engineer, , and will be presented at the meeting of the Fire Commission Tuesday night.
A copy of the engineers’ report is attached at right.
Installation of the sidewalks were included in a approved by the . Inclusion of the sidewalks in the road bond was the focus of a referendum, which was held on April 27, and which was .
Patch asked the two Republican candidates campaigning for First Selectman to respond to the information in the report. Both and responded to the following question. Their answers, provided by e-mail, follow.
Patch: The engineering report for the Main St. sidewalks was released on Tuesday, and I wonder if you would share with me your response to the report and what your recommendations would be to the Town Council in terms of moving on this report and the installation of the sidewalks.
Response from Paul Giusti:
I had an opportunity this morning to review the information regarding the road and sidewalk design. As you requested, here are my thoughts:
In reviewing the preliminary design plans for the road and sidewalks for Main Street, there are a number of steps that need to be taken and a number of questions that remain to be answered in order to gather the facts and make an informed decision.
The plans need to be reviewed by the Fire Commission as well as the Police Commission in order to obtain their input. The Department of Public Works needs to obtain bids to establish the cost of the project. The design also needs to be reviewed to determine if there are opportunities for value engineering to find ways to reduce the overall project cost without sacrificing what is needed. All of this information will be provided by the Department of Public Works when they make their presentation to the Town Council.
The efforts to obtain the needed input and to determine the construction costs are moving ahead. Once that information is available, the Town will have all of the facts and can bring the interested parties together, gain informed consensus and take the appropriate action.
Response from Rob Mallozzi:
There was a total lack of leadership and inadequate planning on the part of this administration that led to this inevitable situation. Who isn’t in favor of sidewalks? I use them, you use them, and they are a wonderful component of our great town. But pitting neighbor against neighbor because the Town voted to move forward without a true cost estimate or a defined path made no sense to me back in February and throughout the spring. I don’t for one minute believe that the majority of the 1300 citizens who voted against spending money on sidewalks intended to deny sidewalks to Main St residents or South School families. This issue came up in a road bonding discussion and caught folks by surprise.
I would ask the Town Council to establish a ceiling on what we will spend on these sidewalks before we go much farther. Remember, the estimate the Town Council and based their vote for the inclusion of new sidewalks in the Road Repaving Project was $400-500,000. If installing sidewalks requires the taking of private property or the removal of utility poles, I believe it would be a deal breaker. It appears from the report that this is a likely scenario. I also think the referendum decision would be null and void if the amount exceeds what the residents understood when they voted for sidewalks in April.
As I have lobbied for all along and was quoted in Patch when I announced my back in February, we need to pave Main Street as it is in terrible condition. I have also mentioned many times and have investigated with Richard Stowe, that we should seriously consider adding bike lanes to the paving project (very little cost), so we can make headway toward the goal of delineating a path/walkway from the road. But we must repave Main St. at the earliest possible time frame.