BEACON FALLS — The Economic Development Commission is exploring a new way to park downtown.
The commission is discussing the possibility of creating angled parking spots along the northbound side of Main Street between Bethany Road and Burton Road.
“This is something that has been tossed around for a number of years,” said Jeremy Rodorigo, chairman of the commission. “We picked it up to determine if there was a benefit of additional parking.”
Rodorigo said the discussion is in response to concerns raised to the commission about a lack of parking downtown.
“Business owners have told us they need more parking. Citizens have told us there is not enough parking to visit businesses,” Rodorigo said.
Angled parking would significantly increase the number of parking spots, Rodorigo said. The spots would only be added in front of businesses and open areas, he said, not any homes along the stretch of road.
Adding the spots would also mean part of the street would drop from two lanes to one lane. Rodorigo pointed out part of the southbound side of the road has already been brought down to one lane due to the streetscape project.
Rodorigo said the next step is for the commission to figure out how many parking spots can be put in and to have a conceptual drawing done.
“Even if it’s a rough sketch of where we want to change and who will be affected, it will be a start,” Rodorigo said. “It’s really a situation where people have to see it. Putting pencil on paper is probably the best approach.”
First Selectman Christopher Bielik said some residents were upset when the town proposed closing a lane for the streetscape project.
“When the streetscape project moved forward, and we lost one lane, there were many residents in town who didn’t support the project for that reason,” Bielik said.
He said he expects some people to have the same concerns about this proposal.
However, Bielik has also heard concerns from businesses and customers.
“At the same time the businesses we have on Main Street have said the greatest limiter we have is customer parking,” Bielik said. “There isn’t a lot of parking.”
Bielik said the town will have to find a balance between traffic flow and customer access to current and future businesses.
If the idea advances, it will be presented to the public before any work is done.
“We will present it in public forum. We will share our vision and where we want to make changes,” Rodorigo said.