DARIEN, Conn. -- As Darien residents continue to ask the town to add sidewalks to Hoyt Street, officials have ranked the proposed project last on its list of priority sidewalk projects.
Last month the Department Public Works came up with a list of seven potential sidewalk projects, ranking the Hoyt Street project fourth. Officials went back and revised their criteria, placing a greater weight on safety and traffic information, and have now placed Hoyt Street seventh on the list.
Neighbors in the area still feel that sidewalks should be a priority. They cited the high use of the road by commuters who walk to the Talmadge Hill train station right over the New Canaan border, the need for more specific data in creating the ranking system, and the persistent efforts by residents to get the town to act on the sidewalk issue.
At a public hearing Monday night on the town's proposed budget for next year, nearly all comments made were requests for funding for a sidewalk on Hoyt Street. Ray Hegarty shared a story about how he got clipped by a car in January while walking down the road. Though he only sustained minor bruises, he worries that the next time could be worse.
Holly Schulz, a long-time advocate for the Hoyt Street sidewalk proposal, said that the town should create a Sidewalk Advisory Committee to assess potential sidewalk projects. Such a committee was originally suggested when the town came up with its new sidewalk policy in September, but was not formed.
The town will continue to refine its sidewalk priority list in the coming weeks as the Board of Selectmen prepares to vote on the budget, which will include some funds for new sidewalks. Selectman David Bayne said he would like to hear from advocates from some of the other projects, because so far only the Hoyt Street residents have come before the board.
The Board of Selectmen approved $3,400 to install two LED signs on Hoyt Street that warn cars of pedestrians. First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said she will ask New Canaan if one of the signs can be installed on the New Canaan side of the town border.