City works to upgrade beach parking lot
NORWALK, Conn. — Construction continues at Calf Pasture Beach on a parking lot revamp that will make “probably the best beach on the East Coast even better,” according to Mayor Harry Rilling.
It’s going to be pedestrian-friendly, Superintendent of Parks and Public Property Ken Hughes said last month, promising it will be done May 15, “fingers crossed.”
Norwalk Director of Communications Michelle Woods Matthews told NancyOnNorwalk that the project is designed to “enhance safety and accessibility at Calf Pasture Beach by creating a pedestrian-friendly and car-free pedestrian boulevard between the new parking lot and beach entrance.”
A diagram she provided shows the gatehouse relocated to the parking lot’s rear corner, so that drivers will enter the park and then loop around the first opening in the driveway to get to the gatehouse.
Visitors already get a feel for the new design when they exit. It’s not possible to drive straight from the waterfront parking spaces to the exit we’re all used to. Instead, just past Ripka’s there’s a detour sign directing drivers through the lot.
Woods Matthews said:
“The pedestrian boulevard will provide an aesthetically pleasing and safe place for beachgoers to walk to and from the beach without worrying about vehicles crossing their path and where they can safely unload their coolers, chairs, strollers, etc.
“The new parking lot will accommodate parking spaces for 379 resident-only vehicles and 150 non-resident vehicles. Additionally, we have removed the jersey barriers from the old non-resident parking area and included a color-coded system that designates parking spaces for non-resident parking. This brings the total number of resident-only parking spaces at Calf Pasture and Shady Beach to nearly 650, which also includes 100 parking spots along the water, 100 along the marina fencing, and 65 at Shady Beach.
“The new parking lot will also include several infrastructure upgrades, such as an easily accessible parking area for handicap placard holders and a redesign of the entrance and exit signage to reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety for everyone.
“Additionally, we are beautifying this area by increasing green spaces to improve overall aesthetics and residents’ quality of life. We are planting over 20 trees, dozens of shrubs and hundreds of perennials flowers to create more shade, remove pollutants from the atmosphere, and generate a healthier and more relaxing ambiance for the community’s enjoyment.
“Finally, this project will improve the water quality in the Long Island Sound through the installation of a permeable pavement system that will allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground, reducing the amount of runoff that enters the nearby waterways.
“By creating a more sustainable, accessible and safer environment at Calf Pasture Beach through these efforts, the City hopes to increase the quality of life for all.”
The packet for the Feb. 14 Common Council meeting shows that FGB Construction was awarded the $1,973,035 contract based on:
- $1,365,292 base bid
- $278,000 for thermoplastic markings beach and water
- $36,461 for maintenance driveway and water main crossing
- $135,392 for the South parking lot
- $157,890 for Shady Beach
It’s funded by both capital funding and federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, Woods Mathews said.
Nora King March 6, 2023 at 12:43 pm
Thank God for Ken Hughes. Norwalk is lucky to have him!
Nancy Rosett March 6, 2023 at 5:56 pm
I am looking forward to not having to dodge vehicle traffic to get from the beach to my car – particularly after the Wednesday evening concerts.
Thanks for another job well done, Ken.
Tysen Canevari March 6, 2023 at 11:12 pm
Ken Hughes is the best. Hope we never lose him. Will the mayor require we back into the spots like Wall Street? Still trying to figure that strategy out. LOL
Lisa Brinton March 7, 2023 at 6:38 am
Good! Calf Pasture is a gem that must be protected and continually invested in.
Tom Belmont March 13, 2023 at 10:27 pm
My only concern is clean Sound water. Keep the Sound water clean. Pollution tolerance: 0