Stevenson: Building at Noroton Heights Station Creates Safety Problem for Pedestrians

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First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said she’d like to fix a safety problem for commuters walking past a small storage building at the Noroton Heights Train Station, but it doesn’t look easy.

The building, several hundred feet to the east of Darien EMS-Post 53 on the south side of the station, is in the midst of station parking lots on either side of it. Commuters going to and from the station platform walk around it on a sloped driveway they share with passing vehicles.

Building Noroton Heights Train Station 3-3-16

The building close to the center of the south side of the Noroton Heights Train Station grounds leaves enough room for a driveway between different parts of the parking lot.

At a recent meeting of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council held in Darien Town Hall, a Stamford woman asked the officials about the spot.

Esther Giordano of Stamford said she was asking on behalf of a colleague at work who leaves from the Noroton Heights station.

“It’s incredibly dangerous walking up to the lot at Post 53,” her colleague wrote in a note Giordano read at the meeting. “It’s very narrow, with cars speeding by in both directions.”

Giordano asked what could be done to make it safer to walk in that spot. Stevenson, who was also at the meeting, said she could talk about the problem.

“The space is impeded by a building that exists right in the middle of that parking area,” Stevenson said. “My understanding is that that building was given to Post 53 by a former owner […] So Post 53 stores some supplies in that building.

“I’m trying to negotiate for Post 53 to give that building to the town so that we can make some improvements, although we’re going to need some help from ConnDOT (the Connecticut Department of Transportation, which owns the station property that the town manages) because there are some significant geography challenges.

“I think there’s a catenary [structure for wires that go over the railroad tracks to power the electric trains] in the way,” Stevenson said.

“We do recognize that there is a pedestrian safety hazard [for commuters on foot] going from the upper lot to the lower lot that we would like to address.”

On a recent visit to the parking lot this week at about 9 a.m., several commuters could be seen walking past the building on the two-lane vehicle passageway, sharing it with cars, most of them going up the slope in the direction of the Post 53 building. There is no sidewalk on either side of the driveway and hardly any room for one as it passes the building.

In this Darien TV79 video of the meeting, discussion of the building starts at about 51:45 and continues another five minutes or so to about 56:30:

CT Rail Commuter Council 3-16-16 from Darien TV79 on Vimeo.

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