The Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project, which extends from Union Avenue to Park Street, will reconnect the downtown and the Medical District/Hill neighborhood.
Replacement of the highway section of Route 34 with new city streets will provide help re-knit the neighborhoods severed by the highway. This project will also free up about 10 acres between downtown and the Yale medical district for development.
A primary goal of the Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project is to develop a livable, walkable community while providing local and regional connectivity. Four interrelated themes have been identified for achieving this overall goal.
The Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project will reconnect the street grid that was bisected by the original highway construction in the 1950s at Orange and Temple Streets. The design of all streets and intersections within the Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project area will be based on design standards in the City's newly adopted "Complete Streets" manual, such as traffic calming, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, and improved traffic control. Design features under consideration include bicycle lanes, pedestrian zones at intersections, and a wayfinding system. Complete Streets support alternatives to the automobile, increase safety, and are designed for all users, including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
The four parcels of land that would be created by the conversion of Route 34 East to city streets are all located within Â½ mile of Union Station and State Street Station. This land is ideally suited for transit-oriented development. TOD includes a relatively dense mix of commercial, retail, and housing located within an easy walk of transit. Creating a compact, walkable community supported by high quality rail and transit systems may also enhance the quality of life in downtown, while reducing dependence on automobiles.
The new parcels of land created by the new Route 34 design are located within 1/4 mile of the Yale-New Haven Hospital, Smilow Cancer Center, Yale Medical School and City Hall and also within Â½ mile of Union Station and State Street Station. The land is ideally situated for expansion of existing institutions and the development of related businesses. A Federal TIGER II Grant will fund the first phase of infrastructure improvements (see Project Schedule and Status), which will allow the first parcel between the Air Rights Garage and College Street to be developed. The first phase construction is scheduled to begin in 2011.
Increased physical activity and reducing air and noise pollution associated with automobile travel have health and environmental benefits. By reducing reliance on automobiles, providing new and enhanced bicycle and pedestrian accessibility, and providing opportunities for mixed use development within the corridor, Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East will support the City's sustainable growth objectives.