Best place to grab Metro North in CT?
January 4, 2007 2:00 PM   Subscribe

Popping down to NYC to visit the missus, probably taking the Metro North line into Grand Central from somewhere in Connecticut. I usually park and ride from New Haven, but would love to find a slightly smaller and more humane station further down the line. Suggestions?
posted by clango to Travel & Transportation around Connecticut (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What day/time are you leaving?
M-F most of the stations, even the little ones fill up quick with daily commuters. The few time's I had to make the trip before I moved to the city I was always able to find a spot in Milford but thats was a few years ago.
posted by Captain_Science at 2:04 PM on January 4, 2007

Milford fills up if you don't get there before the commuters. It was very bad this summer for some reason. It's okay on the weekend.

If you do go during the week (ONLY!), Branford or Guilford SLE stations are usually okay to park in - cheaper, too, since you'll just have to pay for SLE tickets instead of the ugly fees at the stations.

(Oh, and the lot across from Union station just raised its rates to $10/day after 6pm, just FYI.)
posted by cobaltnine at 2:15 PM on January 4, 2007

My wife and I used to live outside of Waterbury, CT. We'd drive down to the Pelham station. It's a small station not too far from the Hutchinson Parkway, parking is free on the weekends, and it's only 4 or 5 bucks each way. It's exactly what we wanted.
posted by Plutor at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2007

Response by poster: I'm probably gonna be riding around 11AM or noon, so beating the commuters is out.

$10 a day near Union Station? Yeesh, what is this, Tokyo?
posted by clango at 2:41 PM on January 4, 2007

My family lives in New Haven, and when I still lived at home we used to drive up to Westport and park at that station when we went into the city for the day. It's a bit of a haul, depending on where you're coming from, but I remember there being ample parking.

Alternately, the Stratford station has lots of parking (and a little shopping plaza right across the road if you need more) - though I'm not sure how long you could get away with leaving the car there. The shopping plaza lot might be a good bet, though - when I was in high school we used to have unauthorized rock shows in a friend's parents' bookstore there and we never had any trouble with that.
posted by bubukaba at 2:47 PM on January 4, 2007

Or, wait, another option since you're up in Hartford: take Rt 9 down to Old Saybrook and take the train from there. It's a little more and it'll take longer, but it's a lovely station and there's quite likely free parking there. You can get Amtrak or Shoreline East, depending on time of day.
posted by cobaltnine at 2:57 PM on January 4, 2007

I think cobaltnine nailed it!
posted by Dizzy at 3:20 PM on January 4, 2007

I always go to Darien. My reasons:

1) It's only two stops from Stamford, from which the train runs express into NYC. 50 min trip. Same price as Stamford too.
2) The station is very easy to get to from 95. Like two blocks off the exit.
3) A private pay lot is available. This is very important on weekdays, when the public lots are full of people with permits (4 year waiting list!). This lot is never full. It is $6-7, but it's the only option sometimes.

Plutor's suggestion also looks good. It looks like it has twice an hour trains, which is much more convenient than once per hour. A bit further drive though.
posted by smackfu at 3:46 PM on January 4, 2007

Darien is nice, though you have to deal with all the traffic lights downtown. Noroton Heights, the one right after Darien, is right next to the highway, if that's important to you. Ample parking, too.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:57 PM on January 4, 2007

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the "secret" to Darien: Never take the first Darien exit (13). Take the 2nd one (12), about a mile further down 95. Go straight through the light at the end of the exit, and you go two blocks and end up right at the back-end of the lots. One traffic light instead of about seven going the other way. The directions on the Metro North site suck.
posted by smackfu at 4:11 PM on January 4, 2007

The Bridgeport parking garage (S Frontage Road & Broad St., near the arena and ballpark) is safe, close and cheap as well. I worked a block from there for 7 years.

Going in around 11 or noon will guarantee that you won't find an express from anywhere but Stamford, so if your heart is set on expressing, park down there. (I commuted to the city for awhile.)

Also, while I was born and bred in Bridgeport, I now live in Astoria, Queens, so if you change your mind and decide to drive in, I can tell you where to park in Queens and take the subway in. Totally worth it, email's in profile (just throwin' it out there!)
posted by AlisonM at 6:07 PM on January 4, 2007 [1 favorite]

Stratford parking is supposed to be incredibly tight -- at peak times, the main lot's full, so's the plaza across the street, and so are the streets for a fair way in all directions. I saw it today.

I second Bridgeport -- convenient parking garage, and you get on right before the train fills up, so you're assured of a seat.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:37 PM on January 4, 2007

I third the Bridgeport Station. There are two parking garages close by (the Holiday Inn parking lot is across the street) and I can usually find a seat.
posted by EastCoastBias at 5:35 AM on January 5, 2007

Fourth for the Bridgeport station. It absolutely is the most reliable station for open parking spots.
posted by elvissa at 6:05 AM on January 5, 2007

Response by poster: This thread is TRAVEL INTEL TO THE MAXX. Thanks, everyone!
posted by clango at 7:30 AM on January 5, 2007

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