August 14, 2019
More than 70 people attended a workshop on July 25 at Norwalk City Hall to gather the public’s ideas and visions for the East Norwalk Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Plan. The TOD Plan will be a future guide for appropriate uses for the land and the scale of market-supportable and development in the East Avenue area surrounding the train station.
The majority (70%) of the 73 people who attended and filled out a questionnaire were residents of East Norwalk while 48% were East Norwalk business or property owners. Also among the participants, 26% commuted from East Norwalk and 35% worked in or were patrons of East Norwalk retail and restaurants. Just over 30% were a resident or business or property owner in Norwalk (or the surrounding region).
The largest age representation at the workshop were those 56-65 (33%); and the second largest group represented were those 46-55, at 26%. Just 9% of attendees were between the ages of 18 and 35, while 15% were 66-80. Four percent of participants were over 80 years old.
Workshop attendees participated in several different exercises to get their thoughts and opinions about the East Norwalk TOD area. The first exercise invited attendees to evaluate images within four categories: Housing; Commercial and Mixed Uses; Connectivity and Access; and Public Space. Participants were asked to rank their enthusiasm toward each image, from highly desirable to neutral, down to highly undesirable, based on its suitability with regards to East Norwalk.
To gauge the development goals and vision of the community for the East Norwalk TOD area, attendees were shown different types of development that could be encouraged via incentives and controls. The alternatives included developing the area around East Avenue/Main Street based on Side Street Villages or smaller Community Nodes or Centers.
After completing the preference surveys, workshop participants broke up into small focus groups to explore the opportunities and challenges they might foresee with each of the three development types surveyed above (East Avenue/Main Street, Side Street Villages, and Community Nodes/Centers). Participants were asked to provide their opinion on which of these types would be most appropriate for different areas within the larger TOD study area.
Whether discussing housing, commerce, connectivity, or public space, it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for all of East Norwalk. However, the results of this public workshop, combined with an online survey, will help planners to better understand the community’s preferences in regard to building densities, land use mix, improvements to the pedestrian environment, and open spaces within the East Norwalk TOD area. Additional surveys, such as a commuter survey, is also coming soon. The community feedback will also provide a clear direction for moving forward among the three choices of development in East Norwalk, or a hybrid of the alternatives.
Watch Video Of The Workshop