NORWALK, Conn. It's time to connect Merritt 7 with the world around it. Every day, thousands of people commute to jobs in the office complex, and yet they are trapped. If they want to walk to lunch, they have to cross Main Avenue, with its speeding traffic and lack of crosswalks. The businesses along Main Avenue may cater to the office workers from across the street, but they greet those workers with a parking lot rather than a walkway.
Commuters coming from Danbury or other points along the Route 7 corridor could, in theory, beat congestion and take the train. It stops literally a stone's throw from the office buildings. Unfortunately, there is no way to get from the train station to the office buildings. Chain-link fencing and a high wall block the way.
These barriers combine to make walking impossible, so that even people living in the shadow of the office buildings can reach them only by driving.
Finally, the impression the Merritt 7 area makes on visiting business travelers is downright embarrassing. The walk from the Hilton, in particular, is missing stretches of sidewalk and requires walking through strip mall parking lots. I have even seen businesspeople walking in the roadway.
Norwalk can do better than this. Here's Livable Norwalk's plan to fix the Merritt 7 neighborhood:
Connect the train station to the office complex. Seriously, how is it possible that these two things are disconnected?
Build crosswalks and sidewalks along Main Avenue.
Encourage redevelopment of the strip malls into more productive mixed-use by bringing the frontage up to the sidewalk and making it safe and appealing for people to live, work and shop here.
It's time to leverage the success of Merritt 7 as a jobs center to build a successful neighborhood as well.
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