STAMFORD, CT — Lower Summer Street in Stamford between Broad and Main Streets is one of the city’s premier destinations, and a project to make the area more pedestrian friendly is getting closer to coming to fruition.
The Lower Summer Street Promenade project is currently in the 90 percent design phase and nearing completion, according to Frank Petise, transportation bureau chief for the city of Stamford.
Petise said the city is waiting to hear back on when utilities under Summer Street can be moved out of the way.
Once a timeframe is given, the project can move along quickly, Petise told Patch, with construction tentatively scheduled for winter 2022-2023.
“We’re trying to do our best not to impact the businesses during the height of the summer. We’re trying to get in there in the cooler months so we’re not digging right in front of them,” Petise said.
Petise also said he wants to schedule another public meeting soon for the community.
The area draws many pedestrians and diners, but the available space for walking and outdoor dining is limited due to narrow sidewalks.
An aerial rendering of the Lower Summer Street Promenade project. (Courtesy of City of Stamford/Fuss and O’Neill)
According to the project webpage, goals include:
- Widened sidewalks on both sides of lower Summer Street, up to 8 feet wide
- Improved streetscape with new lights and trees
- Install prominent wayfinding signs to highlight nearby parking structures that offer 24-hour parking (Bell Street Garage and Summer Street Garage),
- Install a canopy of lights hanging over the roadway to facilitate pedestrian lighting
- Installing a raised intersection to increase pedestrian safety and improve connection to Kiwanis park
- A dedicated bike lane measuring 5 feet wide
The city said on its website the project was inspired by municipal designs in other cities that incorporate roadways into a vibrant community destination.
The total project costs $2 million — $600,000 is being funded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation Community Connectivity Grant Program, and the remaining $1.4 million is coming from the city of Stamford.
More importance has been placed on pedestrian-friendly spaces since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“I think it’s extremely important,” Petise said. “I think what we saw during the pandemic is people are really enjoying pedestrian spaces. We’ve been very car-centric throughout our society here in general, so I think we’re trying to focus more on pedestrian safety and activating the street and getting people out.”
Once construction begins, Petise said it should take “a few months” to complete.
Updates on the project will be posted on the city’s website.
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