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Darien Considers Widening Hoyt Street for Walkers

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien is considering the possibility of widening Hoyt Street to make room for pedestrians who walk to and from the Talmadge Hill train station. The widening would be an alternative to the sidewalks that several residents have been seeking.

Town officials and interested residents recently met with representatives from the Connecticut Department of Transportation to discuss the possibility of adding sidewalks to the street. The DOT came up with a couple of potential plans, one for sidewalks and one for widening the road. Because the road crosses the Darien-New Canaan border, sidewalks would need to be added to both towns.

The DOT estimates that the sidewalk project would cost about $1 million in total, and $640,000 for the portion in Darien. It would involve removing about 29 trees in Darien and several more in New Canaan, as well as relocating eight utility poles.

To widen the street by about four feet would cost about $540,000, the DOT estimates, and $390,000 for the portion in Darien. This plan would involve removing 12 trees in Darien, and relocating seven utilities poles.

The DOT cost estimates may be high. Resident and RTM member Peter Firmin, upset by the recent death of a Norwalk jogger who was hit by a car, decided to look into how much it would cost to make this road safer.

In addition to speaking with DOT and town officials, Firmin reached out to a couple of contractors who regularly do sidewalk work and asked how much it could cost to complete the project. He was given an estimate of $280,000, though they mentioned that number could go up 5 percent to 10 percent.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson will be meeting with New Canaan officials to discuss the project, though she said she is not hopeful about New Canaan’s willingness to commit funds. She also said she wants to do a pedestrian study to see how many people walk the road before committing tax dollars to sidewalks or widening.

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