Railroad Parking: Less Is More

The other day, an alert “06880” reader asked if the recent renovation of the train station’s westbound parking lot (#1) resulted in the loss of any spaces. (He was pretty sure it did.)

I did not know the answer. But I knew who would.

Foti Koskinas — who as Westport’s police chief is also responsible for railroad parking — responded (as usual) almost immediately.

He said: Yes. The original plan would have meant 6 fewer spaces. When another exit was added, an additional 2 were lost.

During the project however, realignment of spaces and crosswalks added 2 back. So the 1st number stands: There are now 6 fewer spaces than before.

The reason for the loss, Foti noted, is that the old lot was non-conforming to current regulations. Spaces were too narrow, resulting in many dented doors.

Pre-renovation: an aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center).

Pre-renovation: an aerial view of train station parking lot 1 (center).

But Foti added lots (ho ho) more information. And it’s all good.

Throughout the summer, the Police Department examined every parking area. New spaces will appear, sometime before the holidays:

  • 12-14 additional parking spots in Lot #2 (the smaller westbound lot, just up the hill from Lot #1 and Luciano Park)
  • 8 new spots on Park Street (coming down the slight hill from Exit 17, opposite the old Blu Parrot/Jasmine/Arrow restaurant)
  • 15-17 more spots on one side of Franklin Street, under I-95
  • 54-60 additional spots in Lot #7, off Franklin Street (due to leases the town took over from the state — not easy, but they got it done!).

But wait! There’s more!

The department has contacted the next 150 commuters on the wait list. They’re in the process of getting their permits.

And more permits may come, once the projects in the bullet list above are completed.

Now, if only Metro-North could respond as quickly and efficiently as the Westport Police…

Click on or hover over to enlarge this railroad station parking map.

Click on or hover over to enlarge this railroad station parking map.

8 responses to “Railroad Parking: Less Is More

  1. I was skeptical,about fewer exits but the new lot is great and no issues

  2. Chip Stephens - Staples 73

    Foti deserves not only credit and praise for this successful undertaking of transforming a suboptimal and unattractive parking area. Foti was also the leader in the rehabilitation and repurposing of the East and West bound train buildings. If you have not seen what a difference in those buildings I urge you to stop in the east bound building to see what a beautiful historic rehab was accomplished with Foti’s leadership and historic rehab perfectionists such as Bill Dohme. Foti has led the charge on these projects because he cares, he is driven by accomplishment and not looking for praise or headlines. Westport is so lucky to not only have Foti on our side but as the newest Chief of Police he is on the move again building a more interactive and community centric police force, these days where it is so needed. Great job, Thank you Chief.

    • Second the above comments re: Foti. You can’t say enough about the depth and breadth of his leadership.

  3. I am glad to hear that we did not lose spots as a result of spending $1.5 million to upgrade and reconfigure Parking Lot 1. That’s a small comfort. But the notion that all is well in connection with the overall parking situation at Saugatuck is just wrong . By far the worst and most painful part of my commute to lower Manhattan is getting into and out of the Westport Train Station. Many of the new spots listed in your post are 10 or more minutes walk from the platform. When you also include the traffic backup simply getting across the Cribari Bridge (made worse by the town’s failure to support shuttle bus service to this area, you are talking about a 20 minute process to simply start your trip on Metro North. This is interolable. We can and should do better for our commuters.

  4. I now leave the house 15 minutes earlier so I can troll the parking lots looking for a space. Naturally, I’m thrilled to hear about the 150 new permits that will be issued.

  5. Don Bergmann

    First of all, I am delighted to read the positive comments about Chief Koskinas. I thought highly of Chief Koskinas as Deputy Chief under Dale Call and I continue to be supportive in his promotion to Chief of Police. As to “trolling” for parking spaces, I expect that the State Study Grant for Saugatuck awarded to Westport this past summer will result in a meaningful consulting study that will, among many topics, consider the benefits and cost of a parking system that makes drivers aware of the location of available parking spaces.
    Don Bergmann

  6. Jennifer Johnson

    For the record, there are a total of 302 parking spaces in the recently repaved and re-configured Lot 1. Of those, 7 are for electric cars. As reported by the Westport Police Department in the June 2014 update of the Westport Rail Stations Parking Study (done by SWRPA), Lot 1 had 324 spaces before reconstruction. Doing the math, there are now 22 fewer parking spaces in Lot 1 (29 fewer spaces for non-electric cars). Not 6 as reported above. Yes, we now have a nicer Lot 1 that complies with the fire code, etc. That being said, the facts are the facts. Its a longer and more dangerous walk from Lot 8 and Lot 7 to the rail platform. Hopefully as the Town moves forward with parking improvements, safety enhancements for Lot 8 and Lot 7 (better signage, road crossings, lighting and security cameras) will become a strong priority.

  7. Based on the numbers provided in your article, I calculate a net loss of 53 parking spaces when another 150 permits are issued (and that’s using the high side number for new spaces). Just exactly how many permits are issued compared to available permit spaces? It certainly seems like permits outnumber spaces by a significant number. What’s the formula here? More importantly, what’s the reasoning?