Pedestrian bridge clears planning commission

The project to build a pedestrian bridge to connect the train station with Wilton Center is still tied up in the permit process at the state Department of Transportation, but it got a small push forward from the Planning and Zoning Commission during its meeting on June 26.
The commission unanimously approved an agency referral on the project for the Board of Selectmen. That means it cleared the project for construction, finding no issues with town plans or zoning regulations.
“I think it is a very good project that will help the downtown area,” said Sally Poundstone, a member of the commission.
“The bridge will make it easier to get from the train station to the town center,” said Joe Fiteni, chairman of the commission.
The plans for the footbridge are being held up at the state Department of Transportation level, awaiting permits from various state agencies that rule over the train station land and the Norwalk River, which the bridge must span, according to Robert Nerney, the town’s planning director.
“We’re not sure when it is going to be built — we are hopeful it will be summer or fall,” Nerney said, adding it is all contingent on getting the necessary permits. “Construction will be easier than the permitting process,” he said.
The project will be built with a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant awarded by the state in 2014.
The idea is to create a walkway that would go from the westerly parking lot of the train station, have a bridge with a 90-foot span to cross the river and floodplain, and connect to the existing pathway that would be improved to provide pedestrian access into the town center.
Instead of pedestrians getting off the train and walking up Station Road to Route 7, and then crossing the busy intersection of Ridgefield Road, the pedestrian bridge would cut walking time.
The Inland Wetlands Commission gave its unanimous approval for the project during a meeting last Sept. 8.