As work begins on rehabbing the Wilton train station, one wonders if paid parking will soon follow, as it has just up the street in Branchville.
It will soon cost $250 a year or $5 a day to park at the Branchville train station, the Ridgefield Board of Selectmen decided on Wednesday night. The fees won't be implemented until the Parking Authority decides on, and the selectmen approve, a maximally equitable way to dole out 130 annual permits.
Possibilities discussed included a lottery system, first come first serve or giving daily commuters priority by requiring they show proof of continuous Metro North ridership. In addition to 130 permitted spaces, there will be 20 spots for occasional riders with the daily fee attached.
"Danbury, Bethel and Redding are all doing it," said First Selectmen Rudy Marconi on charging to park at train stations. Wilton's two stations are free, but Marconi said that Wilton First Selectman Bill Brennan is also considering fee models.
A few commuters at the meeting who spoke during discussion on the motion to approve fees said they didn't understand why the town would start charging to fix aspects of the Branchville lot—things like potholes and lighting—when its frequent users had no issues with them. They also reiterated fears that permits would end up in the hands of folks who don't need them as much as they do.
Marconi said the lot needs a total overhaul and is a liability risk in its current condition.