Train Wreck Coming

31Oct08

After years of negotiating and prodding by commuters, State representatives and the DOT to make vital improvements to the Stratford RR station, James R. Miron decided that all of that effort is worthless and only he has the correct solution. So he strides into a meeting and proclaims that they have it all wrong. His solution; here is my new design.

I am told that John Harkins nearly broke his jaw when it fell to the table. We cannot wait to hear from Pat Sperling concerning Mayor Moron’s “new” plan. You think the Town of West Haven might be more appreciative of DOT money? Hey wait a minute…I’ll bet Miron thinks he can get re-elected if something, anything, gets done in this town before November 3rd 2009.

You read it in the Post:

Miron wants to fast track depot upgrade
By RICHARD WEIZEL
Staff writer
Article Last Updated: 10/30/2008 07:17:03 PM EDT

STRATFORD — Impatient with stalled renovations to the town’s train station, including long-awaited construction of a 640-space parking garage, Mayor James R. Miron is stepping up pressure on the state Department of Transportation.

Miron, who recently met with a contingent of state legislators and DOT officials, requested in a letter this week to the DOT that it not only “immediately address severely needed infrastructure improvements at the rail station,” but also expand the parking plans by more than doubling the number of new spaces.

The mayor asked the DOT to provide about an additional 900 parking spaces by adding one or two levels to a planned three-story parking garage at the depot, and paving a flat surface parking lot at the rear of the station, owned by the state.

“The flat surface parking lot would add 374 spaces and one or two added levels at a new parking garage could account for more than 500 spaces,” Miron said Thursday.

The mayor said he called for the recent meeting with DOT officials because the train station delays are “ridiculous.”

“We have a desperate need for more parking and other improvements,” he said.

Miron also recommends the DOT build temporary parking lots “desperately needed by the region’s commuters” until permanent expansion of the parking capacity is completed.

DOT Rail Administrator Eugene Colonese told commuters during a public session at the Stratford Library last month that garage construction may not start until 2011 — three years later than originally planned — and will provide a net gain of only 400 spaces. That would mean about one-third of the more than 1,200 people now on a waiting list for a parking place could be accommodated at the garage.

Also, the estimated $13 million cost for the garage has more than doubled to about $27 million, Colonese said.

The garage and other improvements, including design and construction of east and westbound platform canopies, initially had been scheduled for completion by 2010.

“Since the initial kickoff meeting four years ago [on the improvements] little progress has been made to make any of the aforementioned projects at the rail station from concept phase to construction,” Miron wrote in an Oct. 28 letter to Colonese

Miron said the town’s suggestions would “get us immediate, more cost-efficient and practical solutions to improve the region’s mass transportation infrastructure problems” that have plagued the Stratford station.

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23 Responses to “Train Wreck Coming”

  1. 1 genericscreename

    Et al:

    I hate to say this but in one aspect the Mayor is correct in that a larger facility would accommodate additional parking and commuters.

    Notwithstanding the delays, added cost impacts and possible structural design revisions and necessary further reviews by the DEP and other state (and possibly federal agencies), the time impact and additional construction costs and related bonding expenses, this may be a deal breaker for the town.

    It is common knowledge that the State of CT, Department of Rails is no longer renewing town leases on the RR stations, and as the leases expire, the state has been stepping in and assuming control of each station.

    We should be asking ourselves a few questions.

    1. Will the TOS then be able to realize the income from the parking generated once all this is complete, old or new concept?

    2. Will the TOS be able to realize the income from the rental income from the vendor spaces provided after construction is completed?

    3. Is there anything in the old plan or potentially new plan that states the TOS will continue to manage the station?

    4. If the TOS does end up managing and operating the station, how long will it take to create a “real” parking authority who will manage the entire operation, inclusive of security, maintenance etc.?

    5. Has anyone generated a management plan and determined what the additional cost to operate a new station and parking facility is inclusive of the expanded maintenence?

    6. Will the state traffic commission require further studies to determine the impact to the surface streets to handle the additional capacity which the mayor is asking for?

    7. Additional parking in the rear of the facility which the mayor is requesting will then impact the run off calculations necessary and this may then affect DEP requirements based on the fact there will be considerably more hard surface area which will generate more concentrated water flows from a rain storm, which will impact the drainage systems.

    8. Will the additional cars impact the air quality in that area?

    9. Will the addition of another parking deck be in conflict with current height limitations as mandated by zoning?

    I believe that as an economic factor an expanded parking facility will benefit the TOS and the small businesses surrounding the station. However whether we end up with the facility which Harkins and company have been working on for years or the revised facility, at peak times it will be a zoo on main street in that area.

    regardless of which plan is adopted, an expanded RR station and parking is necessary. My only concern is that the town benefit from the final product.

  2. 2 1george1

    Terry Backer suggested a 2nd RR Station by contract plating and raymark.
    That is why the Democrats want to consolidate the dump on the ball field,
    to raise it for parking.
    Who cares about 250 acres of contaminated ground water and moving more
    toxins to the source to add to the leeching?

    Certain Republicans own or run property or rent near the RR Station and
    where the parking garage is supposed to go, which would enhance traffic
    to the owners / renters / rentees, in the Center, meaning more income.

    Anyone want crayons to draw conclusions?

    Harkins was stunned 2 years ago to find the garage was delayed a couple
    years, by his demon-cratic counterparts.

  3. 3 1george1

    Generic:

    Until the present controllers of the political parties are ousted, all of your
    great ideas and grandois plans can be posted for naught.

    If it does not benefit them, they will stop it.

  4. Generic / George ~

    Allow me to enlighten you….as a member of the commuter advisory committee – which consists of six daily commuters, a business owner, chamber of commerce members and also attended by people such as John Harkins, Dan Dibicella, GBTA officials, DOT officials and the occasional Town Hall “official”.

    We ALL have been working for over a year or better now – after a meeting (the one George attended) at the library. At that time we, the commuters, decided it was time to railroad the DOT. They came in unprepared. That never happened again. We have, once the group was put together, gotten answers, gotten movement. Not so much from the Town as from the State. Jim Miron only attended ONE meeting – at the library. The last meeting at the library was attended by Suzanne McCauley. At that meeting, it was noted that the next meeting of Town, DOT and other State officials would be to agree on the design of the planned garage. That meeting also advised us that the canopies and platform extensions were happening too – all in conjunction with the garage. It’s necessary to get the design approved in order to move the project to public hearing. Now, at the 23rd hour, Miron comes in with balls blazing! The meeting was supposed to pick the design – and he chose to come in with “conditional approval” of the decision. His approval is contingent on a list of “demands.” Most of the “demands” have already been dealt with – such as canopies and platform extensions. The other – a new “wrench” had to do with an unpaved parcel that he wants approved for additional surface parking. This is all well and good but should absolutely not cause the public hearing to be held off on the design! What Jim Miron has done is throw a wrench in the pot. Why? Oh, we all remember – HE’S THE MAYOR AND CAN DO WHATEVER THE F#*& HE WANTS.

    It’s obvious he wants to take credit for what others have done – regular people. Much credit for the hard work and how much has accomplished should also go to people like John Harkins, Dan Dibicella and Stratford’s own Mike Vickirelli (owner of the Shell Station and Railroad Coffee Shop). They’ve worked very hard with the State, Town and others to make things happen, and they are happening.

    If Jim Miron has his way – he’ll try to claim this as an accomplishment of his – if it works. If it implodes and the state decides Stratford doesn’t want the money – they’ll shelve it and let the money go to some other project – some other town that really wants to get it done.

    This whole thing is politics as usual in this Town. I’ve seen the letter Miron wrote to Gene Colonese. What was even more surprising to me was that Gavin Forrester – one of the councilmen on the Town Council’s transportation subcommittee – a committee that I was just appointed to – was not cc’d. I would think that they should have been since this is one of the items that should or would be on that committee’s agenda.

    FYI, there were 5 designs – the one that provided the most parking was the one that was “conditionally approved.” Even though it’s more, it’s not going to break the wait list.

  5. P.S. ~ he needs this – there’s no other noteworthy accomplishment in Stratford that can be his claim to fame for re-election purposes!

  6. 6 jezebel282

    Generic,

    Considering the Town takes in over $350,000/year that is mostly unaccounted for, it would be a big hit to Miron’s “special” projects. As far as I can tell, the only one Mayor Moron listens to concerning the Station is Kent Miller.

    How many remember Kent Miller getting Judy Heigel fired so he could run the parking lot? How many remember how he totally screwed it up? It was actually funny watching him walk down the hall will cash and coins dripping from his pockets. Does anyone else remember how he just gave up because it was too hard? It required actual work.

    I am going to defer to Pat Sperling for the rest of your answers. I’m sure it is hard for her to type while breathing into a paper bag. But I’m sure she will as soon as her blood pressure returns to normal levels.

  7. 7 genericscreename

    Amazing just xxxxing amazing. If in fact all you profess is accurate, then there should be a revolt, and not one from the backrooms and blogs, but via all news media possible.

    The antics of the current administration for political purpose should be exposed and made public.

  8. 8 genericscreename

    Jeze, not sure where this could be posted, so if you agree, please find a home for it

    thanks

    ‘Twas the night before elections…

    ….Edited by Jezebel for Relevancy….

    Editor’s note: Sorry Generic, but fair is fair. If I edit George, I must edit you. You may post it under https://stratfordcharter.wordpress.com/2008/05/15/georges-page/ I cannot move it for you.

  9. 9 nnanerak

    Generic,
    Beautiful, just beautiful!!!!
    You nailed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. 10 1george1

    Generic or Jeze,
    Please repost or/and send as letter to editor.

  11. Generic ~

    I certainly would not BS you on this – as Jim Miron knows – I’ve been a daily commuter for over 12 years. I carpool with a permit holder who is currently on maternity leave, so I do get – right now – to drive myself to and from the station without the need to pick anyone up or drop anyone off. Once off maternity leave – my life will get busier until I get a permit of my own.

    I’ll be e-mailing Gina today to find out where I stand, but I do understand from the meeting of the advisory committee last week, that an audit of the daily parking permits is being performed and also, the list is being gone through and letters sent to some of the waitlist people closer to the top which, with people moving or getting permits elsewhere (e.g., Bridgeport or Milford) has shortened the list by a few hundred (or so I am told). I have not confirmed that with Gina, the administrative assistant sitting in the shack at the train station.

    There have been other people working very hard to get movement on this. Governor Rell was at our station not too long ago for the press release of the money that’s available for all of the upgrades.

    In my opinion – this is nothing more than a stunt by Jim Miron, probably orchestrated by Kent Miller, to get something on the books as one of his accomplishments.

    Take a look at the archives of the Stratford Star, if you can find them, maybe starting in about 2000/2001. The whole garage thing was mentioned back then and, according to the website of a local real estate agent (who is also a member of the DTC and a good friend of Jim Miron’s), the completion date for the garage was 2009. Hopefully the agent will update the website, because it’s inaccurate.

    The grant money was obtained a long time ago for improvements. One of the major problems has been that neither the DOT or Town wants to accept responsibility for certain items. No one knows who is in charge of what. Stratford, of course, knows that it’s in charge of the permit parking (it collects money from it).

    Here’s another funny item that has happened. Permitholders beware. If you happen to take your second car and forget to put your permit in the window, you’ll be ticketed. Up until recently all you had to do was put your permit number on the ticket and there would be nothing due. Apparently, the new thing – you get one “freebie” and then, permit or not, you get a ticket – you pay for it. So, always make sure your permit is hanging in your window. Of course, nothing to that effect is in the station regulations and a permitholder only found out about it in a recent conversation with Gina.

    Gene Colonese only came unprepared once – it never happened again. He came with answers and timeframes. Of course, Jim Miron knows all of this, but he needs to grandstand it. Hopefully his grandstanding won’t blow the plans and money to another town. I hear West Haven is itching for a station.

  12. 12 jezebel282

    Generic,

    See? When Pat calms down she is really thorough.

  13. Jeze ~

    It’s the Promise potassium shots I drink every morning – keeps the blood pressure in check! LOL

  14. 14 1george1

    PCS –
    I would like to second PCS’s information about this project being on the books
    for so long.

    Further, Terrry Backer and the Democrats wanted the Train Station at Raymark.

    However, Norm & Miron had offices near the present Train Station run by a
    certain someone on the Republican Town Committee, whose brother owns a
    Pub, also near the Train Station.

    Eliminating the 2nd Train Station, and all of the street parking happened when
    there was a Republican Town Attorney, Kevin Kelly, who was also involved when
    the Republicans voted to have the 600 car parking garage near the existing site.

    I believe that happened when Mike Feeney, subsequently Barry Knott’s son-in-law, was Town Manager? Barry and Rich Burturla was very active in getting Home Depot, WalMart, and Shaw’s at the Raymark property.

    Kevin Kelly represents a company taking over contract plating.

    When Contract Plating was empty, before there was Bally’s and before the new
    Bank was put up across from Contract Plating – near Home Depot and before
    “99” Restaurant replaced the prior place, converting that area allong with unused Movie Theater parking during commuter peak hours, would have solved all of the
    Stratford commute mess and opened Stratford to a major influx as a point of destination.

    Fairfield is in process of opening their 3RD RR Station,

    Miron is a mess up.
    However, there is plenty of blame to give to my favorite Republicans.

    I will say this – Harkins seemed genuinely surprized at the delays, when he
    was at the same meeting I atted with PCS.

    Cute hair PCS – You cuaght me by surprize the other day, because when i
    see someone in an unexpected place, it took me a couple minutes to figure
    out who you were. I kinda knew instantly, but the cut and color made a
    difference, as well as showing up unexpectedly.

  15. George ~

    The move of the train station could be a great thing; however, all of the upgrading and renovations to the center was geared around having more foot traffic from the train station. Also, I think there are hefty environmental issues with even considering any move to Raymark ball field or one of the other old manufacturing sites. Just think about all of the noise the people on the other side of the tracks will make if their ground there’s even talk about their ground being stirred up.

    We need to work with what we have. The talks of the garage go way back, as does the grant money for improvements. I’d hate to see any of Miron’s grandstanding cause delays to be pushed even further (e.g., 2015 or farther). The more wrenches, the more delays. Why couldn’t he just stay within the meeting agenda – selection of the best garage design – so the project can be moved to the public hearing phase?????
    Let’s get that phase underway. There have already been talks about alternative parking solutions during the construction phase of the garage. While nothing has been completely set yet, EVERYONE knows that commuters are going to be affected during construction. We also were assured by the DOT that the platform extensions and canopies were being done – it’s happening – without Miron’s two cents. There was discussion not too long ago about temporary canvas canopies – it was scrapped. It made sense to scrap it. With the winds, etc., they wouldn’t have lasted until permanent canopies were placed. Why waste the money – let’s take the money and get it done right. That’s the right thing to do.

    I’m hearing more and more from area residents – some who even work in Town Hall – about the wastefullness of Jim Miron. For someone who claims to be such an environmentalist – he spends our money quite frivolous. There’s our new Town slogan – you know, From Forest to Shore. The one with the costly three-colored letterhead. Oh, and I heard there are “rules” which must be adhered to when preparing a letter or any typewritten document coming out of Town Hall. He has specific “guidelines” for margins and font. The font wasn’t one that already existed – a font package had to be purchased. This is how he’s spending our tax dollars. OK, they’re probably small items in the grand scheme of things – but these senseless expenditures add up!

    Many states are going back to black and white. So are various municipalities. But remember – he’s never had so much money to work with in his “law firm.” He’s been like a kid in a place like Chudders in Littleton, NH (Chudders holds Guiness World Record for longest candy counter).

    Volunteers – people who donate their time to the Town for say Baldwin Center, or other things – don’t even want to bother any more. People get ripped apart because their flyer or mailing wasn’t within the “guidelines.” This is the personality we have at the helm.

    Thirteen months to go and I’m starting the countdown!

  16. George ~

    P.S. Thanks. I only popped in really quick to see a friend visiting from NC. I was already in my “jammies” when my husband got home and told me she was there.

    Not really my favorite place. The guy in the diaper is one of my neighbor’s troublesome kids. I really didn’t need that vision going home either!

  17. 17 genericscreename

    George,

    For what it is worth, your opinion regarding the political influences with respect to relocating the RR station make no sense.

    This project was in the works long before we had a mayor. The alternate locations (Raymark Field and Contract Plating), are so contaminated that the Department of Rails would not even consider them once the clean up costs are factored into the equation.

    Furthermore, the cost to construct a new station on another site would be prohibitive in both construction and mitigation expenses. A larger station in the old Tilo property
    ( actually behind the property would still only be accessable from Main Street) unless the State were to make considerable concessions and several easements were granted by the current property owner of the old Tilo property. In addition the entrances and exits from that property would have to be redefined. The parcel of land that the state is taking for the new facility is the best possible solution relative to access and overall space and time requirements.

    On grade parking in the area between the RR station and the old Tilo property would increase parking, but not with out serious cost and time impacts. Plus if the state were to seriously consider relocating the station, the tree huggers would make life miserable. One viable option would be to construct the parking facility and expand the platforms as planned, and then once that is complete, determine if in fact the need for additional parking warrants more. In addition to that mess one should realize that the undeveloped property between the theaters and the fitness center is also contaminated, and that any future development by the shopping center owners is contingent upon mitigation or encapsulation. ( the US government is not guilty in this location, Tilo was)

    By the time the clean up costs for the old ball field and Contract plating are compiled, then considering its location and access, I suspect that the surrounding neighbors would protest that development even more than they did then they argued against exit 33. It is prime realestate, however, think about it in physical terms of access?, the RR bridge on East Main Street is too low, if the bridge were not elevated ( that alone is not a cost effective fix, as RR approaches, inclines etc can not exceed 1% in either assent or dessent, which means for every 1 foot of climb etc you have to elevate on both sides by the same percentage, ie over 500 feet in each direction, and to lower the roadway, the cost to add pumping stations for the drainage etc would also be prohibitive) or lowered, then the only means of egress would be via Barnum avenue through surface streets and from upper Main Street where East Main street intersects for delivery vehicles). Think about the traffic implications?

    I would love to see that area developed, including adding the Public Works property into the mix, it would be an economic windfall for the town, but the negative factors truly need to be completely thought out and worked through first.

    So please, before you start with your conspiracy theories, etc, think about reality.

  18. Generic ~

    Thanks for elaborating more on the problems with the relocation of the train station. It’s certainly now unknown that there are serious environmental issues.

    We’ve got to work with what we have and take it from there.

    My whole point with this is relative to Miron’s grandstanding. This IS happening, we’ve heard it from the DOT. Commuters, business owners and people like John Harkins and Dan Dibicella have been working to make sure that the ball doesn’t get dropped again. It’s just like Miron to come in with balls blazing and changes to the playing field.

  19. Sorry – the environmental problems are NOT unknown.

  20. 20 1george1

    For what it is worth, your opinion regarding the political influences with
    respect to relocating the RR station make no sense.

    What I relayed was what the Democratic and Republican parties desires
    and positions have been, for extended period of times.

    MAKING SENSE?

    IN STRATFORD?

    Those are things I found that other people want to do.
    Check with Save Stratford, tonight at Birdseye, then call me a liar.
    They are not thrilled with Miron nor EPA, either.
    I have another meeting I have to attend, but prefer to be there,
    as I owe some a debt for support in getting Vents in my area, after
    I raised the Erin Brockovich issue several years ago.

    Typical Blog criticism – blame george
    when it is people in both parties causal to the situation.
    Learn to read!

  21. 21 1george1

    PCS – I agree.

    FYI

    Bally’s area + “99” area + unused movie parking have no contamination issues.
    There was a substancial unused paved area in the spot they put the bank,
    that had covered up the Raymark toxin issues.

    However Contract Plating and Raymark Field are HUGE contaminated mess.
    Miron and EPA + DEP want to move thousands of TONS of contaminants to
    raise the level of Raybestos Ball field and then cover it over.
    > NON STARTER for Save Stratford
    > Is it logical to INCREASE CONTAMINANTS upstream from 250 acres of the
    contaminated ground water affecting 1,000 homes from Gavin & his neighbors,
    past me and my neighbors, and even past Ron Massey and his neighbors?
    Assuming bloggers know those people and where they live?
    Basically from Harborside to Outriggers, with all the businesses and side
    streets off FERRY Boulevard.

    Miron & Demon-crats want Train station on contaminated area.

    Because some of you do not know how read, you would have seen I was
    suggesting using uncontaminated areas for extending the existing Train
    Station and pointing out why Republicans wanted status quo and building
    up their commercial property values – JERK!

  22. 22 nnanerak

    PCS- keep up the great work, I hope you know how the people of
    stratford appreciate your dedication and knowledge.

  23. 23 jezebel282

    Update:

    Rell scheduled to break ground for station shelter Monday

    Written by John Kovach
    Saturday, 10 April 2010 09:48

    Gov. M. Jodi Rell is scheduled to attend a groundbreaking Monday for canopies at the Stratford train station.

    A ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. on the New York-bound side.

    The 400-foot-long canopies will shelter commuters from the elements. Work is scheduled to be completed during 2010.

    The State Bond Commission last fall approved $2 million toward constructions at Stratford, as well as at the Springdale station in Stamford.

    Rell visited the station in July 2008 to announce that $400,000 was then sought for the design of the shelters.

    For those who are counting, for four years under Mayor Moron; nothing but threats and…well, nothing.

    Four months under Harkins; Canopies!


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