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Changes Made After Madison Residents Frustrated by Parking Problems

Living near the shore might not be as lovely as it sounds.

Home owners in Madison are struggling with parking problems ruining their summer plans.

This 4th of July, Hammonasset State Park was full before noon.

Couple that with the town debuting a new parking system, even the First Selectman will tell you the holiday was hectic.

“I have to be honest with you, having the state park in our town is great in some ways and on days like July 4th or a really intense beach day when it overflows, it’s difficult,” said First Selectman Tom Banisch.

There’s no question 4th of July brings more beachgoers to the shoreline, but Madison taxpayers weren’t pleased when they couldn’t find a parking spot at their town beaches.

“Fourth of July, we tried to get in and we couldn’t because the police officer, it was full. Our own parking lot was full with probably outside folks who couldn’t get in to Hammonasset, so we weren’t very happy.,” said Wendy Flynn of Madison.

“I mean I don’t mind out-of-towners coming, but on the other hand and the reason we have these beaches and people move here is for these beaches,” said Marlene Fitzmaurice of Madison.

Some residents blaming the chaos on the town’s new high-tech parking system, instead of the old way where someone checked car stickers and collected cash from out-of-towners.

“Well I just think they should just go back to the way it was, I mean people liked having people in the booths, knowing that there were friendly faces here and I wasn’t at the Surf Club July 4th, but I just heard it was a total mess,” said Fitzmaurice.

While Banisch admits the new system isn’t perfect, local leaders have already made some changes after hearing community complaints.

“People in town felt well we’re letting too many people into our beach for not enough money because if they can come in and spend $9 and take up our beach than that’s not fair,” he said.

Hourly prices should increase from $3 to $10 within the next couple of days as soon as the computer systems can be updated.

Eventually, we’re told most likely within a couple of weeks, there will be a daily minimum parking price for beachgoers, “We picked the exact same structure as Clinton does, so they are $50 a day during the week, $75 a weekend.”

Local leaders say they’ll be watching carefully and making changes fluidly. “I’m actually going to go man the gate myself,” said Banisch about this weekend.

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