Highway to Boulevard Conversions Appear in Tiger II Grants
The New Haven Register is reporting that Phase 1 of the Downtown Crossing -- which will begin to remove Route 34 from downtown -- has been awarded a $16 million dollar Tiger II grant. Streetsblog Capitol Hill explains that some of the awardees are being leaked by members of congress in advance of the official release next week.
The Oak Street Connector, or Route 34, begins at the junction of Interstates 95 and 91 and extends on columns into downtown New Haven for 1.1 miles before dropping to grade and continuing as a pair of one-way streets. Built in 1959, the Connector was an urban renewal project, occupying 26 acres of land between downtown and the nearby neighborhood. The original plan was to extend the road another 10 miles, but that long section was never built. As a result, 600 families and 65 businesses were displaced to make room for a highway that was never completed. As of 2005, 73,900 vehicles traveled on the Connecter per day.
In 2002, the State of Connecticut sold off the land that had been set aside for the extension of the Oak Street Connector. In 2005, with the completion of Pfizer Pharmaceutical's research facility in the former planned right-of-way, the City of New Haven and local civic groups began calling for the replacement of the Oak Street Connector with a four-lane boulevard. A concept plan developed by RKG Associates and others identified 10 acres of vacant land to redevelop and two street connections to restore, along with a larger surrounding area to be revitalized. New Haven's Mayor, John DeStefano, Jr. included the removal of the Connector in Future Framework 2008 as an urban infill strategy. The Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the Urban Design League of New Haven have been actively campaigning for the replacement of the elevated and paired one-way sections of Route 34 with walkable, pedestrian-friendly streets and blocks.
Learn more about the project from the City of New Haven's Website, here.
Write your comments in the box below and share on your Facebook!