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Norwalk roundup: ConnDOT, OHPA & NPD

The Walk Bridge program include reconstructing the North Water Street overpass, resulting in more clearance.

NORWALK, Conn. — Here’s some Norwalk news for you:

  • Walk Bridge program delayed, Burns says
  • Four set to join Oak Hills Park Authority
  • Norwalk Police seek public feedback

 

 

ConnDOT activities ‘may have delay’

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has yet to meet the 90% design benchmark on its Walk Bridge program,Department of Public Works DPW Principal Engineer Lisa Burns said recently.

“Different activities” associated with the various projects that are part of the program “may have delay,” or “this delay may just be folded into” the overall picture, she said.

ConnDOT reached the “60% design phase a year ago. Burns said in early June that the project was expected to reach “90%” in April, but it’s looking like it might be August. She’d know more in mid-July, she said.

“City officials will be meeting with CT DOT staff following the Fourth of July holiday to review the overall program schedule,” Norwalk Communications Manager Joshua Morgan wrote Monday. “There are many moving parts related to the project and the City has requested a full briefing on the project schedule and to hopefully learn more to why the 90% design is delayed.”

The Walk Bridge Program most notably features the construction of a new railroad bridge over the Norwalk River but also includes replacing all of Norwalk’s railroad overpasses and work on East Avenue. Related projects to expand the Danbury Dockyard and create a series of track switches north of the river are already underway, as is work on the Ann Street railroad overpass.

A timeline offered to the public in November shows construction on the bridge beginning late this year. The Fort Point Street, Osbourne Avenue and East Avenue work would begin in fall of 2020.

Delays in the project’s timeline are nothing new: in October 2015, Harbor Management Commissioners said the project was planned to start in February 2017 and be completed in July 2021. ConnDOT took more than three years to move from “30%” to “60%.” The Walk Bridge reconstruction itself has been described as perhaps the most complicated engineering feat ever in the world of building bridges

Then- Norwalk Department of Public Works Director Bruce Chimento in 2017 the “percent design” is “just a classification,” and although ConnDOT was still at 30 percent they were probably much further along.

If they declared themselves to be at “60 percent design” certain statutes would kick in and there would be resultant requirements, he said.

 

OHPA turnover

Mayor Harry Rilling has presented five Oak Hills Park Authority appointments to the Common Council for a Tuesday vote:

  • Isaac W. Storandt
  • Michael DePalma
  • John C. Goodchild
  • Darius Williams
  • Raeann Bromark (a reappointment)

 

Chairman Bill Waters and former Chairman Jerry Crowley are terming out: after serving eight years they are not eligible to be reappointed.

Storandt, an unaffiliated voter, has been chief operating officer and general manager for The Shore & Country Club since March 2015, according to his resume. He was clubhouse manager for three years prior to that. His resume shows many years spent working for country clubs, from the summer of 2006 to January 2012, the last 1.5 years as assistant manager for The Los Angeles Country Club. His term would expire on June 24, 2021.

DePalma, an unaffiliated voter, served on the Council as a Democrat from 2015 to 2017. He’s been a channel development manager for Datto since March 2015, according to his resume. Before that he was a project engineer for Gilbane Building Company for eight years and served as finance director for DeStefano for Governor from January 2005 to November 2006. His term would expire on June 24, 2022.

Goodchild, a Democrat, has owned American Heating & Air Conditioning since April 2004, according to his resume. He’s been a contractor for Gault since October 2012. His term would expire on June 24, 2022.

Darius Williams, a Democrat, is a freshman at the University of Connecticut, studying political science and expecting to graduate in 2022, his resume states. The member of the Brien McMahon High School Class of 2018 was an early childhood/rec room operator at Birchwood Country Club from March 2017 to January 2018 and was a marketing/communications assistant for the Mid-Fairfield Aids Project seasonally from June 2014 to August 2017. His term would expire on June 24, 2021, as he is filling Jeffrey Taylor’s unexpired term.

 

NPD survey

Norwalk Police plan to conduct a public satisfaction survey, contacting people who have recently had contact with police “to gauge the general opinion of services provided to members of the public,” a press release said.

The phone survey will generally take five to 10 minutes, with calls made to people selected randomly from the database of those who have called police for service, the release said.

“All information is kept confidential. The caller will NOT ask for any personally identifiable information, and will address the individual by name. We urge the public to never provide their personal information to anyone over the phone,” the release said. “When the Police Department calls for this survey, we will NOT ask for any of your information. The questions will be routine in nature and geared towards your level of satisfaction during the interaction, and outcome, with the member(s) of the Norwalk Police regarding your particular incident.”

“I encourage everyone contacted to take a few moments to discuss your interaction with our department,” Chief Thomas Kulhawik is quoted as saying. “Your feedback is critical as we always seek to improve on our delivery of services as well as our customer service.”

16 comments

Christine Names June 25, 2019 at 6:24 am

Please reconsider using a phone call survey. We get so many scam/political/marketing/donation request calls that we don’t answer our phone unless it’s a known caller.

Roger Shields June 25, 2019 at 9:38 am

Feedback to Chief Kulhawik;

Quality of Life Issue:
On and around Plymouth Ave in Norwalk a group of teenagers have been doing wheelies and speeding on city streets upon their unregistered dirt bikes and other two wheeled motorized bikes. This has been ongoing for at least one year and is being committed by a growing group of teens. Since my 911 complaint last summer, when the operator stated they have received similar complaints, I have seen an increase in this activity and yet no action by the police (such as a police car stationed on the streets to react to and deter such activity).
Last night at dusk I listened to probably 5 such vehicles (they have no lights) speed down our street.
So, I am not at all satisfied with the police departments reaction.

Rusty Guardrail June 25, 2019 at 12:35 pm

A SURVEY???

As in “Answer your phone, and tell us that we ignore speeding, tailgating, and failure to grant right-of-way. We didn’t know that.”

The police officers doing these call-outs should be on the streets writing tickets instead.

Ask anyone, the police in Norwalk don’t do anything about dangerous drivers whether it’s trucks, or SUVs, or kids on motorbikes, or SCHOOL BUSSES (yes that’s right, school busses ignoring stop signs, school busses recklessly careening around blind curves).

Audrey Cozzarin June 25, 2019 at 1:19 pm

As a member of the Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee, I feel that Oak Hills Park Authority has gotten more on board with protecting nature not only in the nature center area, but on the golf course as well.

As host of this Saturday’s (June 29) Norwalk Citizens Traffic Safety meeting at Norwalk Library (Belden Avenue) from 10-11am, I invite all citizens to attend as we begin to look more deeply at driver behavior issues and related traffic problems in Norwalk. It is about “Quality of Life” as we go forward, and I feel positively about how the city and police are moving forward with the public now. Let’s please give it a chance. Meet & greet others concerned about traffic safety in Norwalk this Saturday! Please RSVP to me: [email protected]. Looking forward to a great meeting.

EnoPride June 25, 2019 at 1:28 pm

May I humbly suggest that Chief Kulhawik and some policemen represent the department by attending the traffic safety meeting which will be taking place at the library this Saturday, June 29th? The in person accounts they will hear there from residents will be more valuable than a phone call survey where like was mentioned, many will not pick up their phones due to scammers posing as police. Traffic violations flying under the radar and lack of enforcement or police visibility are areas which have significantly brought down quality of life around our great city. We get the dirt bikes and motorized bikes at odd hours on our street too. We also get cars driving down our street and blasting their music through opened windows at 1:00 AM. More strategically located police presence could easily cut down on this type of stuff.

Rusty Guardrail June 25, 2019 at 2:40 pm

The meeting is a good idea for complaints and suggestions to be aired.

But I’m telling you that at best we’ll get minimal lip service. NPD policy is to not police the roads. The 3-member mayor-appointed Police Commission holds sway over police policy. The Commissioners won’t attend, and likely won’t even KNOW about the meeting.

Kevin Kane June 25, 2019 at 2:46 pm

I agree that most will bail on a survey via phone and I’d argue email as well.
Here is a thought, why not hit the streets? Go door to door….get a flavor beyond a survey of what peoples concerns are. Hit the train platforms and start asking questions. Stop by a PTA meeting. Head to the diners. Here’s a good one – show up at any sporting event, start with K-8 and chat between games or half time.

Here are some numbers: Today’s Department
Today’s force consists of 179 sworn officers, 40 civilian personnel including 23 who work in the Combined Dispatch Center, and three police dogs. The three-member Police Commission, comprised of the mayor and two mayoral appointees, is responsible for the overall management of the Department

The above doesn’t make full sense here on my lunch break but round numbers: 180 all in, let’s say 1/3 drive desks or might not be best suited to hit the pavement. So that’s 120….Ok, let’s just say 100 officers who could fan out at random times over the course of the warmer 8? months. Thats a llllllllot of doors that could be hit. Besides, isn’t that what candidates for office do? 100 officers…..10 house per officer budget = 1,000 doors… Llllllot of info to be had. No one home? Leave a note. Look for shady activity while you are at it.

Audrey Cozzarin June 25, 2019 at 3:37 pm

The many comments here are excellent and circle-in to a main point: Citizens are very concerned about traffic and other quality-of-life issues, and we have a system/systems that need reforming, evolving, changes, willingness to respond to issues cropping up right now in Norwalk. I do see this happening–small rays of hope appearing–and let’s be open to solutions arriving in ways we may not expect.

Today’s CT Mirror has a piece related to traffic: https://ctmirror.org/category/ct-viewpoints/drunk-distracted-or-just-dont-care-reckless-drivers-are-a-menace/

EnoPride June 25, 2019 at 5:26 pm

Thank you, Audrey. I look forward to attending Saturday’s meeting. I hope some NoN commenters and concerned residents are able to make the meeting and provide their excellent input to work toward solutions!

carol June 25, 2019 at 11:08 pm

i see more people talking on there phones while driving than ever before. no police to ticket them?????

Bryan Meek June 26, 2019 at 9:29 am

Like a broken clock, the exit 9 bridge worked out. DOT still can’t figure out how to put cameras on the Merritt Parkway, but it is devising a tolling system. I see at least one illegal trailer just about every day while I’m parked on the Merritt for about an hour to go 8 miles to Stamford. Tolls will destroy neighborhood traffic and the state will need a small army of enforcers to collect from all NY registered cars that live here and clog our streets.

Piberman June 26, 2019 at 12:44 pm

For many years line of spring and summer delights was dining at the splendid Oak Hills restaurant indicated by former Mayor Knopp. It’s ambience was unmatched by any private club in the County. Sadly under the new transformation of a pro shop and a new vendor Oak Hllls is a far less attractive expeience. Judging by some recent visits Norwalk residents agree. Not many visitors.

Oak HIlls Authority lost a major opportunity to preserve a major dining experience in our public park.
And best I can judge neither the Common Council nor City Hall much careers. The hundreds of once major events at the Restaurant now go somewhere else. Like many of our long resident homeowers.
City Hall could have done much better in appointing an Authority that would have encouraged a major success of the Oak Hills dining experience. Rather than one solely interested in golfers.

Kathleen June 26, 2019 at 3:01 pm

I agree that a phone survey may yield fewer results as the robocalls are out of control. I, for one, don’t answer a call where I don’t recognize the number. There is even one for a “police union” that asks for money. A search of that number indicated that it was a ruse. On another note, we had great success with the dangerous bike tactics of kids on Strawberry Hill after notifying the police. Bikes were confiscated, and the NPD officers came to the schools to address the issue with students. Thankfully, the problem has not returned.

Debora Goldstein June 26, 2019 at 6:12 pm

I called the NPD to make a report. Was transferred to someone’s voicemail. They never called me back.

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