About Downtown Crossing
Historic Photo

Above: Workers install signage on the newly completed 100 College Street on September 2, 2015.

Project Phase Details

Downtown Crossing Phase 2: Orange Street Reconnected to South Orange Street

In Phase 2, Orange Street will reconnect to South Orange Street with an at-grade intersection across the Route 34 corridor (MLK Boulevard, South Frontage Road, and the Air Rights Garage Service Drives).

Rendering of the first protected bicycle intersection in the State of Connecticut, at the intersection of Orange Street, MLK Jr. Boulevard, and South Frontage Road in New Haven.

Four pedestrian refuges will be created at each corner of the intersection, with mid-block medians to serve as a refuge areas for the north-south crossing. Medians will include decorative lighting and landscaping.

With more miles of bike lanes than any municipality in Connecticut, New Haven’s existing bicycle infrastructure will be further strengthened in Phase 2 with the installation of the first protected bike intersection in Connecticut. The protected bike intersection will be designed to provide safe navigation for bicyclists traveling the new Orange Street-MLK Boulevard-South Frontage Road intersection.

Alongside the bike path, a separate protected path will be installed for pedestrians. An Exclusive Phase Crossing Traffic Signal will provide a separate, individual crossing phases for bicyclists as well as a for pedestrians.

Outside of the protected bicycle-pedestrian intersection, Orange-South Orange Street will have generous sidewals and bike lanes. There will be two motor vehicle lanes in each direction for a total of four lanes. Motor vehicle lane widths will be narrowed to encourage slower driving speeds. The speed limit will be 25 MPH.

Rendering of the first protected bicycle intersection in the State of Connecticut, at the intersection of Orange Street, MLK Jr. Boulevard, and South Frontage Road in New Haven.

Rendering of bike path treatment in Downtown Crossing

The at-grade intersections will create a new entry point to the City, establishing a prominent corner for the upcoming $400 million Live Work Learn Play development, most which will be constructed on the land abutting the northeast corner of the intersection.

One bioswale will be installed in Phase 2. Bioswales use green infrastructure to clean storm-water and prevent runoff.

At full-build, what is currently a highway-standard condition and an exit ramp, will be fully converted into an urban at-grade intersection with a standard urban street design.

Construction for Phase 2 is planned to begin in 2018 and be complete in 2020.

Phase 3: Temple Street Extended to Congress Avenue

In Phase 3, a bridge will be constructed to extend Temple Street (above the Air Rights Garage service drives) to Congress Avenue. The extension of Temple Street to Congress Avenue will provide another multi-modal connection between Downtown New Haven and the Hill neighborhood, reclaim more land for development, include measures to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion in the areas surrounding Temple Street Garage, and beautification and place-making measures.

Downtown Crossing Full Build Context

The future bridge will feature a public plaza and will be designed to accommodate motor vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. The new connection between Temple Street and Congress Avenue will feature generous sidewalks on the west, with the public plaza on the east. The road will have two lanes for motor vehicle traffic in each direction, for a total of 4 lanes. Six-foot on-road bike lanes will be separated from motor vehicle lanes by a two-foot buffer zone.

Once completed, Phase 3 construction will enable access to two land parcels for new development: 1.63 acres between College and Temple Streets and 1.23 acres between Temple and Church Streets. In addition to being previously inaccessible, these parcels were unavailable for use or development due to the former Route 34 expressway right-of-way. The land value of the two new development parcels will increase from $0 to approximately $47 per square foot, yielding tax revenues and economic benefits to the City. It is estimated that the entire Downtown Crossing Project could yield net tax revenues of in the millions, Phase 1 alone has added approximately $3 million to the City's grand list.

Pedestrian Enhancements

The Downtown Crossing project includes streetscape improvements that will enhance pedestrian safety and comfortability, including:

  • Wider sidewalks.
  • Shortened street-crossing distances which allow for faster, and safer street crossings.
  • Lowered speed limits and traffic calming measures.
  • Restoration of the urban street grid, allowing pedestrians to more easily access destinations, reducing the need to drive to reach different neighborhoods.
  • Placemaking improvements including landscaping, wayfinding signage, street furniture, and lighting.

Phase 3 construction includes installation of an infiltration basin, cleaning storm-water and preventing runoff—complementing the bio-swale installation from Phase 2.

When Phase 3 bridge and road construction are completed, way-finding signage and beautification measures will be installed near Temple Street and Congress Avenue.

Similar, but more extensive beautification work will create a new entry point to the City of New Haven at Orange Street. The area will be developed into a welcoming gateway with the addition of landscaping, way-finding signage and other beautification and place-making features. While Orange Street infrastructure work is part of Phase 2, the beautification work is being completed at Downtown Crossing’s Project end, to accommodate Phase 3 construction staging.

With the completion of all Phase 3 infrastructure and beautification work, the Downtown Crossing Project will be complete and the area returned to its former urban context.

In Phase 3, a bridge will be constructed to connect Temple Street to Congress Avenue. The bridge will feature generous sidewalks on each side, a public plaza, and buffered bike lanes.

Transition Zone

An important component of the Downtown Crossing project is the "Transition Zone." The Transition Zone is defined as the area that drivers travel as they exit I-91/I-95 expressways and approach or "transition to" Downtown New Haven in the Downtown Crossing project area. This zone, identified in the graphic below, is being redesigned by the City of New Haven and the Connecticut Department of Transportation to make clear to drivers that they are entering a slower-speed, urban environment which will share street use with pedestrians and bicyclists—not only motor vehicles. Traffic calming measures in the Transition Zone include narrowed lanes, speed limit signage and pavement markings, decorative lighting, and landscaping—all designed to clearly communicate that drivers are leaving the high-speed expressway are entering a dramatically slower environment and need to adjust their driving behavior.