DOWNTOWN CROSSING GROUNDBREAKING!
(3/22/2013) Infrastructure Ground Breaking Launches New Haven’s Historic Downtown Crossing
Decades ago, in the 1950s, a neighborhood in New Haven was destroyed for the construction of Route 34. In order to construct the highway, 1,481 families were displaced, hundreds of buildings were demolished and another neighborhood—the Hill—was cut off from Downtown. Today, a new chapter in New Haven history began to unfold as city, state and federal officials gathered for the first groundbreaking ceremony of the landmark Downtown Crossing project. Downtown Crossing will get rid of the Route 34 highway in New Haven and reconnect city streets to create a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly environment that will set the stage for further economic development.
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. was joined by Governor Dannel Malloy and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro today for the official groundbreaking of the first phase of the Downtown Crossing project. Each reflected on the collaboration of the city, state and federal governments in realizing the vision to bring resources together to assemble a strong foundation for sustained job growth.
Downtown Crossing is expected to create 2,000 construction jobs during the project, spurring $184 million in direct and indirect spending over the next three years, and 600 to 900 permanent jobs after the project’s completion. Designed by Parsons Brinckerhoff of Glastonbury, Connecticut, Phase 1 will be executed by contractor CJ Fucci, Inc. of New Haven. The project, the largest infrastructure project in New Haven in decades, is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II grant, the city of New Haven and the State of Connecticut. The City is receiving $16 million in TIGER II grants for Phase 1 of Downtown Crossing.
“Today, we are reclaiming part of our City,” said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. “This ditch we are now standing in will once again be turned into a thriving, vibrant neighborhood. We are here doing this today because of a choice we made years ago to seriously pursue the removal of this highway. These infrastructure improvements will not only reclaim part of our City, but will allow for further development of the economic base New Haven is known for: knowledge based jobs in the science, medical, education and technology sectors.” He added, “This is an example of what can result when there is collaboration among various stakeholders and all levels of government are at the table.”
Downtown Crossing is the city’s plan to transform Route 34 East, from Union Avenue to Park Street. The plan will reclaim 10.5 acres of land ideally suited for transit-oriented development - a dense mix of commercial, retail, and housing located within an easy walk of transit. The land will be available for development, including residential, retail, health care and research facilities. The new city streets will be designed at a scale suitable and safe for all forms of transportation: pedestrians, bikes, public transit, and vehicles.
The first step in laying the groundwork is to fill the highway to the level of the streets that surround it, connecting it to the existing street grid and creating two urban boulevards. These infrastructure improvements include improvements to the surrounding roads, removal of the College Street Bridge deck which will be replaced by a new road once the area is filled and a new ramp into the neighboring Air Rights garage. There will also be extensive enhancements to make the area pedestrian and bike friendly. These infrastructure investments will allow for the development of the 100 College Street project, the $100 million, 10-story, 426,000 square foot, state-of-the-art, laboratory and office building, with ground-level retail. This 100 College Street project will get underway later this summer.
"Seeing the new Downtown Crossing take shape is special. I remember first working on this project over thirty years ago, and am proud to have seen it through to this point,” Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said, noting, “but we are not done. Eventually we will have ten and a half acres of developable land, traffic safety will be dramatically enhanced, there will be more room for pedestrians and bikes to share the space, and residents will enjoy a better quality of life. Simply put, Downtown Crossing will help New Haven flourish for decades to come."
"State government is a committed partner in supporting economic growth in New Haven. We've invested more than $30 million to help small businesses expand and to firmly root Alexion in the community-and allocated more than $1.6 million to ensure New Haven schools are prepared to train the workforce of the future," said Governor Malloy. "Working with partners at the local and federal level, we can work toward an ambitious reimagining of this city."
This new infrastructure investment expands downtown New Haven alongside the Yale School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital campus and will reconnect the Hill neighborhood to the Medical District and Downtown. New Haven, a world-class center for education and research, is the biotech capital of Connecticut with 39 of the state's 52 biotech firms. The City, State and Winstanley Enterprises (the developer for 100 College Street) have been working on the project since 2007, and the Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital are active participants.
Members of New Haven Board of Alderman, the New Haven Legislative Delegation as well as business and community leaders attended the ceremony. Also in attendance were CT. Department of Community and Economic Development Commissioner Catherine Smith, CT Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker, U.S. Department of Transportation Regional FHWA Administrator Amy Jackson-Grove and New Haven Economic Development Administrator Kelly Murphy.
People are urged to stay up to date on detours and road closings that will result from construction by signing up for traffic alerts at the Downtown Crossing website: http://downtowncrossingnewhaven.com/ .