Temporary solution for Stratford parking chaos

The Department of Transportation has announced Friday that construction of the Stratford train station parking garage will not be completed on time and will also

STRATFORD - The Department of Transportation has announced Friday that construction of the Stratford train station parking garage will not be completed on time and will also cost more than twice the original estimate.

The scheduled completion of the garage is now 2011, which is three years later than originally planned. The new cost has been set at $27 million.

Currently, the parking situation in Stratford is bleak. The waiting list for existing parking spots is more than 1,000 names long, according to reports.

As News 12 Connecticut reported on Tuesday, Stratford is not the only community where commuters are searching for spots. Many commuters have resorted to parking in neighborhoods or shopping center lots and walking to the stations.

?The problem here is we're playing catch up,? says Joe McGee, of the Connecticut Commuter Council. ?We have the same issue with the Stamford parking garage and the Fairfield parking garage and new station. These projects are taking forever to get done. Part of it is approvals, part of it is funding. And fundamentally what's happening is people now want to take the train and now we don't have the parking so they can get to the train.?

Officials developed a plan to alleviate some of the problem before the 2011 completion date of the garage. According to Stratford Mayor Jim Miron, the plan will create an extra 374 parking spaces by paving over a DOT-owned piece of vacant land that runs next to the railroad tracks.

?What I'm excited about is that we were able to be creative and think outside the box ?and come up with [these] extra 374 spaces,? Miron says. ?And what every taxpayer in this town and state should say is, ?how much is this going to cost?? I'll tell you it's less than half a million dollars.?

Miron submitted the plan to the DOT two days ago and says that, if approval comes quickly, the spaces may be ready to use by the end of the year.

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