A part of Bridge Street that connects Howe Avenue with West Canal Street may be closed to traffic soon.
The section of road is one way and goes in front of the Pulaski Club, beginning where Kyle’s Corner used to be located.
Police Chief Joel Hurliman, who acts at the city’s traffic authority, said this short, narrow section of road “doesn’t serve any real traffic purpose. People don’t go down it.”
A sign recently was put up on a fence announcing the street would close effective June 1, although it is still not blocked. More recently, a sign declaring “Street Closed” was placed on the same fence although the street still is not blocked off.
Part of redevelopment plan
The road closure was approved in the past as part of a private plan to develop the former Kyle’s Corner, a vacant property at the corner of Howe Avenue and Bridge Street. Permission also had to be granted from the state because of a state right-of-way. Bridge Street is part of a state road, Route 712.
This spur section of Bridge Street, technically known as Bridge Street Southwest, runs parallel to the main Bridge Street at the start of the bridge that connects Shelton with Derby.
The road includes parallel parking spaces that are used by patrons of the Pulaski Club, Downtown Danny O’s and other nearby businesses. Few people drive down the road.
Mayor Mark Lauretti said he hopes the Kyle’s Corner site developer, Angelo Melisi, will complete a pedestrian-friendly streetscape at the corner.
“We’re hoping he’s going to follow through and develop the site,” Lauretti said.
Melisi now owns most of the land where the road is located because the city abandoned it to encourage the development project.
The city, however, still owns a small part of Bridge Street Southwest at the other end — running directly in front of the Pulaski Club, a private organization that many people call “the Polish Club.”
Closing is ‘imminent’
Hurliman said the city will work with Melisi to close off Bridge Street Southwest soon. Hurliman recently called the closing “imminent. The timetable has to do with construction.”
He said some type of barrier will have to be erected that would be “permanent, reflective and lit.” Eventually, as part of the development plan, the whole corner will take on a new look.
Lauretti said he doesn’t want to see so-called Jersey barriers installed at such a high-visibility intersection. “I don’t want to do anything to create blight,” he said.
Lauretti said he understands why Melisi would now want to close the road as a way to protect his interests and limit his liability.
Similar section now a pedestrian walkway
At the other side of Bridge Street with Howe Avenue there used to be a similar short road — called Bridge Street Northwest — that has been replaced with a pedestrian walkway.
Hurliman said he doesn’t expect the Kyle’s Corner side to resemble the northwest side. It’s unclear if a new building might extend into where the spur road is now.
Kyle’s was a longstanding newsstand and convenience store frequented by many Sheltonites in the old days. The building had to be knocked down because it became unsafe and was condemned, city officials said.
Pulaski Club not in loop
An officer of the Pulaski Club, who asked not to be identified, said he was surprised to see the street closing sign. He noted it doesn’t appear to be an official government sign and lacks any agency to contact.
“We haven’t been told anything so we’re not sure what is going on,” he said. “We’ve been on the street for 70 years but no one has said a word to us. You’d assume because we own a business on the street that we would be informed.”
Richard Schultz, city planning and zoning administrator, said he was informed by the mayor’s office that the street would be closed and then passed that information on to P&Z members.
Mixed-use plan called ‘attractive’
James Ryan, Shelton Economic Development Corp. president, said his agency worked with state transportation officials to secure the right-of-way permission for the Kyle’s Corner development.
Ryan said if Melisi now moves forward with developing the site, it would be a plus for the city. “We thought his plans were very attractive and consistent with our plans for mixed-use development downtown,” he said.
Lauretti also said Melisi’s idea to add retail, office and residential would boost the area. “It’s a nice little project — perfect for downtown,” the mayor said.