New Canaan Officials to Walkers at Waveny Park: Use Paths, Not Road

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Frustration with pedestrians who walk in the main road through New Canaan’s Waveny Park, just over the border from Darien — rather than on new pathways specifically created for them — is quickly turning into action, parks officials say.

A road-walker in Waveny. Photo by Charlie Hobbs

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— This article originally was published by NewCanaanite.com.

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According to New Canaan Recreation Director Stephen Benko, despite the recent additions of three brand-new pedestrian paths that hug the roadway, many who come to the park to jog, walk their dogs or push baby strollers favor the roadway that’s meant for cars, raising traffic and safety concerns.

“Unfortunately, we might have to put up a ‘No Pedestrians’ sign,” Benko said of the rising problem.

He said that visitors may be walking in the road because of the seasonal dryness of the pathways — a problem that will soon be addressed. The Department of Public Works is currently contracted to lay down a quarter-inch layer of stone.

A road-walker in Waveny. Photo by Charlie Hobbs

Regardless, Benko said he expects that the old habit will die hard, adding “I think people just like walking in the road.”

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The comments are coming as town officials approve a $41,342 contract to carve out a new pedestrian path from the West Parking Lot to the park’s Lapham Road entrance — a popular route already for those who visit the park.

The Board of Selectmen approved measure unanimously at its June 20 meeting.

A road-walker in Waveny. Photo by Charlie Hobbs

The new pathway is needed, according to New Canaan Public Works Director Tiger Mann, because it is one of the few remaining areas in the park that lacks a complete trail.

“In that area, people walk in the road rather than on the grass,” Public Works Department intern Christopher Harte said at the selectmen’s meeting in Town Hall, explaining that this only adds to traffic concerns.

A proper path would improve pedestrian safety and ease the flow of traffic. The path will be constructed using material consistent with the newer paths built under the Waveny Park Conservancy’s design. The New Canaan town government, however, will fund the project.