News from New Haven on the Oak Street Connector (Route 34)
In 1959, the Oak Street Connector (Route 34) was built on 26 acres in downtown New Haven, interrupting the lives of and displacing 600 residents. On November 10, the New Haven Urban Design League and residents hope to interrupt the well-laid plans at City Hall with a call for a better boulevard design in the Downtown Crossing plan to replace Route 34. New Haven’s Board of Aldermen will vote on a resolution next Thursday to revise the current boulevard conversion plans for better walkability.
Anstress Farwell, Executive Director of the New Haven Urban Design League, argues that the resolution brings attention to public safety issues in the current plan. “We’ve offered a lot of design concepts worth of study,” Anstress explained, “but the current plan for five-lane roads, if built as planned, would be really destructive to the plan’s overall purpose and the community’s safety.” Measuring tape in hand, Alderman Justin Elicker demonstrated the current design’s crosswalk length – and subsequent safety risks for pedestrians – at a contentious and inconclusive meeting in late September. The resolution was introduced as a result of this testimony, as well as residents’ concern over public safety if the plan moves forward as proposed. The November 10 vote will encourage the City to revamp the Downtown Crossing plan as a two-lane urban boulevard design.
The Congress for the New Urbanism is closely following the outcome of New Haven’s board vote. Stay tuned, as next week, we will review the outcome of the vote with Anstress. We will also discuss the vote’s potential affect on how the City of New Haven uses $16 million dollars in TIGER II funding for the Downtown Crossing boulevard conversion project.
Source: New Haven Independent, “Job-Seekers, Cyclists Clash Over Rt. 34 Redo,” September 29, 2011: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/contentious_...
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