METRO NORTH NEW HAVEN RAIL COMMUTER COUNCIL
(Established in 1985 under Connecticut Public Act 85-239, now Sections 13b-212b and
13b -212c of the Connecticut General Statutes)
OCTOBER 18, 2006 MEETING
CDOT OFFICES - UNION STATION
NEW HAVEN, CT
Present were:† Jim Cameron, Chairman, Bob Jelley, Secretary; Jeff Maron (by telephone) and Stan Trybulski, Members; Gene Colonese, Jim Boice, Peter Richter, Carmine Trotta, Keith Hall and Scott Hill, CDOT ; Joe Kanell, Ed Lydecker, Jeff Watson, and Donald Staska, Metro North; Sue Prosi, SWRPA; Larry Uydess and Richard Stowe, members of the Public.
The meeting began at 6:00 pm.
The Minutes of the meeting of September 20, 2006 were approved.
Jim Cameron gave a brief report about his doings as Chairman during the previous month.†
OLD STAMFORD RAILROAD STATION GARAGE
Scott Hill and Keith Hall from CDOTís Facilities Design Section were present.† Mr. Hill said that Desmond Associates had done a study of the condition of the old Stamford garage.† The report found that the garage was safe, but had design and construction flaws.† He said that salt had been attacking the post-tensioned reinforcing in the floors and that the concrete was full of salt.† He also reported that the columns of the old garage did not have the reinforcing that they had been designed to have. As a result, Mr. Hill said there was no risk of the garage collapsing, though small chunks may fall from the ceiling onto cars.† The conclusion of the report was that it was more economical to replace the old garage at a price of about $30 million than to do the necessary major repairs at a price of about $35 million.† He said that the DOT was committed to holding public informational hearings on this matter in addition to finding additional parking space for parkers in the old garage during the time it will take to replace it.† He said that there is presently no money in the budget to replace the garage.†
Mr. Cameron noted that when the new garage was opened the DOT had talked of closing the old garage and putting all of the parkers into the new garage.† Instead, there are now parkers in both garages, and accommodating them during construction will be more difficult.†
Mr. Hill said that the DOT was committed to talking with everyone involved and to making the transition as easy as possible.† He mentioned that during the design stage, it will be necessary to spend about $2 million to do short-term repairs on the old garage.† Deputy Commissioner Jim Boice said that the City of Stamford may be able to make some parking available to commuters.† He hoped to have a plan in place by the end of the year.† Gene Colonese said that the old and new garages are 90-95% full everyday.† There are 1900 spaces in the two garages.† Jeff Maron said that the roof and the basement were usually empty.† Mr. Colonese said that he would give usage data to the Council.† Richard Stowe suggested that there ought to be an East Main Street station in Stamford.†††
Carmine Trotta reported on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail study.† He said that implementation of commuter service will require capital expenditures of about $300 million and will cost about $10 million per year to operate.† He said that the State was now doing an environmental assessment, and after that would begin designs of stations, parking and 18 miles of double tracking.† Amtrak, which owns the tracks, is taking part in the study.† The plan would provide commuter service on week days in both directions and no service on weekends.† Mr. Stowe suggested the necessity of having weekend service and express service to Grand Central Terminal.†
Mr. Trotta said that the DOT was also studying New London to Worcester service and Old Saybrook to Hartford service.† Mr. Boyce said that the DOT will not meet the legislative deadline for those two studies.†
Mr. Trotta also said that the DOT has a consultant for phase II of the Danbury branch study and is negotiating with a consultant for New Canaan and Waterbury studies.† He said that the project for signalization of the Danbury branch would go out to bid next spring.†
Ed Lydecker presented the September Operations Report.† There were no comments about the report.† Bob Jelley reported that Rodney Chabot had expressed pleasure that Ed Lydecker had managed to get the parking lot lights at Talmadge Hill repaired.†
SOUTH NORWALK STATION
Mr. Cameron reported on his meeting with the Mayor of Norwalk.† He said the Mayor was mildly sympathetic about the problems with the eastbound station.† Mr. Cameron suggested a security camera in the eastbound station, because there are cameras and a monitor in the security office in the westbound station.† He said he would follow up with the Mayor.†
Jim Cameron reported that Terri Cronin told him that on Thursday, October 12, a commuter had complained that there was smoke in the tunnel while he was riding the 6:07 pm train.† She said that the conductor had handled the matter badly.
Sue Prosi reported that the coffee shop at the Stratford station had closed and as a result, the waiting room was closed.
Mr. Colonese reported that security cameras were being installed in the New Haven, Stamford and Westport stations.† That work will be done by the end of the year.† He also reported that the new New Haven maintenance facility is almost complete.
Mr. Cameron reported that the first selectman of Westport wants to install Wi-fi capability in the Westport (Saugatuck) and Green Farms stations.
Mr. Stowe suggested that storage space for bicycles ought to be provided in the new M-8s.† Mr. Colonese said that he did not see demand for bicycles on trains.
The meeting adjourned at about 7:45 p.m.†† The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at The Business Council of Fairfield County (SACIA) Offices, Stamford, CT.