On Wednesday, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. announced the city was moving forward with the Downtown Crossing project, which will convert Route 34 from a “highway to nowhere” to an urban boulevard that will reconnect the central business district with Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Medical District and the Hill Neighborhood. In doing so, the city will take the first step towards undoing a 1950s highway project that separated neighborhoods from downtown.
The project was recently awarded $16 million from the highly competitive federal TIGER II grant program and earlier this week the Board of Aldermen voted to accept the federal funding, allowing the city to move forward with Phase I of the project, which will create 2,000 immediate construction jobs and 960 permanent jobs.
New Haven’s Planning Director Karyn Gilvarg explained next steps in the infrastructure and design process for Downtown Crossing which will include:
- Finalizing grant agreements with federal and state authorities,
- Accelerating design for Phase I infrastructure, which includes the conversion of North and South Frontage Roads to boulevards with road, streetscape, bike and pedestrian enhancements, as well as the reconstruction of College Street to grade level,
- A development agreement for 100 College Street (a new 400,000-square-foot health sciences building adjacent to a growing cluster of Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Yale School of Medicine facilities).
Over the coming months, the City’s planning team will continue to work on the overall Downtown Route 34 design and ask New Haven residents and businesses alike for feedback and input. The public can expect to participate in a series of briefings and neighborhood meetings starting in early 2011. Construction is expected in late 2011, with development projects starting work in 2012.
Images: Top – New Haven Independent. Bottom – Via City of New Haven.