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Tag: Parking

CMSC Webinar – Parking Requirements: A Roundtable Discussion

Parking, always a hot downtown topic gets even hotter with the parking requirements debate.

Quickly you find that the debate is connected to housing, density, infrastructure, demographics, market position, and so much more.

Join us in this dynamic roundtable discussion on parking requirements from three different perspectives: development, commercial retail, and municipal economic development.

This event is approved for 1 credit for certified planners with thanks to our AICP Certification Maintenance Provider FHI Studio.

This event is eligible for Certified Connecticut Municipal Official (CCMO) credit with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM).

Meet our panel:

  • Alyssa Kent, Senior Development Manager and Design Director, Spinnaker Real Estate Partners
  • Michael Berne, Principal, MJB Consulting
  • Mark Barnhart, Director of Community and Economic Development, Town of Fairfield
About the Presenters:

Mark Barnhart, Director of Community and Economic Development, Town of Fairfield

Mark S. Barnhart is presently the Director of Community & Economic Development for the Town of Fairfield, having been appointed to the post in September 2002. Previously, Mr. Barnhart had served as the Town Manager and Chief Executive Officer for the Town of Stratford from 1992 to 2002. In his capacity as Town Manager, Mr. Barnhart was instrumental in efforts to successfully remediate and redevelop the former Raymark site as well as the Stratford Army Engine Plant (SAEP). Mr. Barnhart began his professional career with the City of Camden, NJ, where he served as the Assistant to the Director of Public Utilities. In 1989, Mr. Barnhart was appointed Assistant/Town Manager of Stratford, Connecticut, a position he held until his promotion to Acting Town Manager in October 1991.

Mr. Barnhart holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his undergraduate studies at Albright College, in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Michael Berne, Principal, MJB Consulting

Michael Berne is the President of MJB Consulting, a New York City and San Francisco Bay Area-based national retail planning and real estate consultancy.  One of the nation’s leading authorities on Downtown and Main Street business districts, Michael speaks and writes widely on the subject.  He regularly presents at the conferences of the International Downtown Association (IDA) and has served on its Board and Executive Committee (as Vice Chair).  He has taught classes at Penn, CUNY and Pratt.  In addition to his “Retail Contrarian” blog, he has contributed articles to ULI’s Urban Land, CNU’s Public Square, IEDC’s Economic Development Journal and Dow Jones & Co.’s MarketWatch as well as contributed sections to two recent books, Suburban Remix: Crafting the Next Generation of Urban Places (edited by David Dixon and Jason Beske; Island Press, 2018) and Main Street’s Comeback (written by Mary Means; Hammondwood Press, 2020).  He is frequently quoted in high-profile publications such as the Financial Times, the Washington Post, Planning, Governing and Bloomberg Businessweek.  His firm has long been active across Connecticut, including past engagements in Greenwich, South Norwalk, Bridgeport, New Haven and Mystic, and he delivered a webinar presentation, entitled “The Future of Main Street Retail”, to a Connecticut Main Street Center audience in September 2021.

Alyssa Kent, Senior Development Manager and Design Director, Spinnaker Real Estate Partners

Alyssa Kent is a Senior Development Manager at Spinnaker Real Estate Partners. Prior to that, she worked as an Owner’s Representative at the same company, and the Director of Design at Becker + Becker Associates, an architecture and development firm. Alyssa started their career as an Intern Architect at Louviere, Stratton & Yokel and later became a Teaching Assistant at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Alyssa holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and currently serves on the Connecticut Main Street Center Board of Directors.


CMSC Webinar: Implementing Successful Parklet Programming

CMSC Webinar

Implementing Successful Parklet Programming

Webinar Summary

During COVID, we saw a surge of temporary interventions to support outdoor dining and shopping by way of parklets and other outdoor space programming. How can we carry forward this momentum and develop sustainable parklet programs that better support local businesses, foster community, and improve the pedestrian experience?

In this webinar you will:

  • Understand what parklets are and the different types of parklets or outdoor shared spaces and their benefits
  • Learn the ordinances, zoning & other policy considerations to implement a successful program
  • Hear from communities who have implemented successful parklet programs about how they did it

Presentation Highlights

  • Stamford Case Study


    • Stamford had a small PARKlets program in 2016, 2017, and 2018 for sidewalk only dining.
    • The StrEATeries Program was a collaboration between the City and the Downtown Special Services District with the goal to keep restaurants open and let people dine safely during COVID-19 restrictions. The program transformed 140+ parking spaces into outdoor dining using caution tape, water barriers, and other materials that was already on hand. The program was well-received.
    • In the fall of 2021, the City contracted with FHI Studio to developed regulations and a design guide to address: ADA compliance, roadway safety, noise concerns, design and material standards, streamline planning and permitting processes, and to reduce the regulatory burden on restaurants.

    Present Day

    • As of March 16, 2023, the city passed an ordinance to make the outdoor dining permanent. The design guide and permitting process is being finalized.

    Future Plans

    • Building on success by moving from temporary to permanent.
      • On Lower Summer Street, the city is eliminating street parking and widening the sidewalk to allow for more outdoor dining. This project is set to break ground in spring 2023.
      • Parking area on Bedford Street is in talks to close off and become a permanent public plaza that would also create 80 seats of outdoor dining.
    • Transformation of public space from car oriented to people oriented.
  • Stamford Parklets – Key Topics


    • The mindset of having parking right in front of the restaurant as the most important asset is slowly changing because restaurants are realizing that one or two parking spots could equal up to 20 extra seats. Stamford also has other parking lot options for customers.
    • The City of Stamford calculated a $500k-$750k loss in parking revenue due to outdoor dining. It was a policy decision to focus on keeping downtown restaurants open and to attract visitors to downtown. There are fees for outdoor dining permits and there is a possibility of higher tax revenue and other economic benefits from expanded dining.


    • The purchase of materials for the StrEATeries Program in response to COVID was self-funded by the City of Stamford.
    • The design guide was funded through a CDC grant funneled through the Capitol Region COG.
    • The Lower Summer Street sidewalk expansion project is funded through the CT Department of Transportation Community Connectivity Program as well as City capital funds.
    • The Bedford Street public plaza is funded through the Communities Challenge Grant through CT Department of Economic and Community Development as well as City capital funds.


    • Launching the StrEATeries program was an “all hands on deck” initiative including the Operations Department, Health Department, and Public Safety. The Transportation, Traffic, and Parking team (under Operations Department) lead the project.
  • Parklet Design Guide Considerations – FHI Studio

    Creating a design guide is essential for standardizing outdoor dining and ensuring the safety of pedestrians and diners. We highly encourage you to watch the webinar starting at marker 12:00 for a more in-depth overview of the design considerations FHI Studio put together for their design guide for Stamford.

    Design Guide Best Practices

    • Consider the target audience of the design guide and make it easy for them to understand (e.g. restaurant owners, property owners, etc.)
    • Provide good technical information with easy-to-understand graphics
    • Provide easy to follow construction/materials guide
    • Straight forward public-friendly permitting process
    • Guidance should be flexible including a custom design opinion and a standard design option
    • Keep it short and simple

    Design Guide Contents

    The design guide should include:

    • Site selection requirements
      • Prohibited locations include crosswalks, bus stops, bus lanes, bike lanes and bike facilities, commercial vehicle loading zones, fire lanes, and handicap parking spaces
    • Parklet layouts and design requirements
      • Design requirements for all types of parklet typologies: Parking lot, street closure, on-street parking (angled and parallel), sidewalk – curb side, and sidewalk – building side
    • Permitting process including applicable fees and requirements
    • Operations and maintenance
  • Parklet Programming Examples

    Examples of parklet programming from other cities:

View the Recording

About the Speakers

  • Luke Buttenwieser

    Luke Buttenwieser has been with Stamford’s Transportation, Traffic, and Parking Department for four years. In his role, Luke works on a variety of projects ranging from addressing citizen service requests; zoning, building, and construction permit review and management; grant writing; roadway and neighborhood transportation planning studies; oversight of roadway design and construction projects; and pavement markings and signage design and installation. Luke spearheads the City’s Outdoor dining program, and is the project manager for the City’s Vision Zero Initiative. Luke focuses his work on improving safety for all roadway users with an emphasis on pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility.  He is also a full time student at New York University on a dual Bachelors/Masters track from the Tandon School of Engineering where he is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Urban Environments and a Masters in Urban Planning from the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

  • Parker Sorenson, PE

    Parker Sorenson, PE, is a transportation engineer with FHI Studio, a Hartford-based planning and engineering firm. During his 8-year tenue with FHI Studio, Parker has been a leader in projects related to transportation planning, traffic engineering, and community engagement. He has particular interest in bicycle and pedestrian planning and conceptual design and has led projects with such focus at the local, regional, and statewide levels for communities across the northeast. Currently, Parker is a key member on several projects such as trails routing studies, traffic calming design projects, road safety audits, complete street guidelines, corridor studies, safety analysis studies and transportation master plans. In all his projects Parker strives to combine big-picture thinking with big-data technical analysis and graphical representation so that clients and the public may make informed decisions as to the future of their communities.


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