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Construction has started on the New Haven Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project. This is the City of New Haven's plan to transform Route 34 East, from Union Avenue to Park Street in downtown, from highway stub to slower speed, city streets. These city streets will bridge the gap between New Haven's Downtown (its business, government, arts and entertainment, and education centers) and its Medical District and Hill neighborhoods. The Hill and the Medical District, in particular, were separated from the heart of the Downtown when the highway was constructed in the 1950s. Route 34 East of the Air Rights Garage acted as a physical and psychological barrier between the medical district and the larger Downtown area. Access to Union Station will also be improved; it is a major stop for both Amtrak and Metro-North rail service.
At Full Build, the Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project will reclaim 10 acres of land, currently occupied by expressway stubs and ramps, and make it available for development, including residential, retail, and 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.A primary goal of the Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project is to develop a livable, walkable community while providing local and regional connectivity. With housing and shopping linked to nearby transit and more comfortable streets for pedestrians and bicycles, this project will encourage increased physical activity and reduce air and noise pollution associated with automobile travel, supporting the City's sustainable growth objectives.
Phase 1 of the project was successfully completed in 2015. Phase 1 included the conversion of the Route 34 expressway into an urban boulevard and the reconnection of College Street which provided for the reclamation of approximately 2.4 acres of developable land. On the reclaimed land, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a biomedical company that develops therapies for rare diseases, constructed 100 College Street, a 14-story, 495,000 square-foot medical lab and office building, to serve as its new world headquarters. By the end of March 2016, 1,000 Alexion employees--a third of its worldwide workforce--were stationed at 100 College Street. Â Phase 1 also included the conversion of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (formerly North Frontage Road) and South Frontage Road to urban boulevards with narrowed travel lanes, bike lanes, and other traffic calming measures.
Phase 2 of the project is approaching final design. In Phase 2, Orange Street will be reconnected across the old Route 34 with the construction of an at-grade intersection. The reconnection of Orange Street will provide access between the Ninth Square District of Downtown, Union Station and the Hill neighborhood. Phase 2 work will assist in opening up access to development at the former Coliseum site, where a 1.1 million square-foot mixed-use development by is planned by the Montreal-based placemaking firm, Live Work Learn Play.
Phase 3 the final component of the Downtown Crossing project, will connect Temple Street to Congress Avenue, providing direct access from Downtown New Haven to the Hill neighborhood. Phase 3 work will also include changes to the two frontage roads, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (westbound) and South Frontage Road (eastbound), placing them in their final conditions which will include numerous bicycle and pedestrian improvements.Road and infrastructure design work is led by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB Americas). PB Americas leads a multi-disciplinary firm to plan the urban design, traffic operations, stormwater management, infrastructure and utility aspects of this multi-year project.