State transportation officials shut down a state parking garage at Stamford's downtown train station late Monday. The decision came after chunks of concrete fell over the weekend from the garage's third deck to the second deck below.
The state said no injuries occurred as a result of the falling concrete, and no vehicles were damaged. However, commuters are concerned about catching a train on time as well as getting somewhere safely. From The Stamford Advocate:
The DOT's late announcement gave rise to fears of chaos at the train station Tuesday morning. "My first reaction was empathy for commuters with minutes to spare to catch their train," said Jim Cameron, a prominent commuter advocate who lives in Darien.
Drivers are being directed to other nearby garages. "Although some will be inconvenienced, we are taking this action to ensure the safety of all customers," said DOT Commissioner James Redeker.
An adjacent, newer facility with 1,200-car capacity is available to commuters with daily parking permits. Other garages are available to commuters without permits, the state said -- a lot at 406-424 Washington Boulevard, and a lot at 28 Bell Street, which has a shuttle to the station.
The state-owned, deteriorating, 28-year-old parking garage has a 727-car capacity. It's been part of a long-range and often controversial redevelopment plan for several years at the busiest train station in the state. From The Connecticut Mirror in 2012:
"Is there a more important transportation facility in all of Connecticut than the Stamford rail station?" [now-Mayor David] Martin asked DOT officials, adding, "Is there a transportation facility in all of Connecticut that has more problems than the Stamford train station?"
The DOT said the engineering firm H.W. Lochner Inc. is first testing each parking level in the closed garage to assess its condition, and then the garage's future will be determined.