The City and its study team (Team) will conduct a series of exploratory analyses to better understand the history and development of the area, its challenges and opportunities as well as related downtown and medical district planning initiatives. The Team will document existing access and circulation for all travel modes, both public and private throughout the project area, to identify impacts that may result from the proposed new city street system. The Team will review concepts for the surface street cross-sections and assess alternatives to guide the process of developing a preferred scheme that enhances the area's transportation network while reflecting the City's vision for downtown access and mobility. In addition, the Team will develop design guidelines and recommended zoning changes to support the preferred development strategy.
An environmental review will be conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA) to identify if there are any significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed improvements. Since ConnDOT and FHWA concurred that the initial phase of the project, which was the subject of the TIGER Grant application, would not result in any significant environmental impacts, a Categorical Exclusion (CATEX) was prepared for the first phase improvements. Since preliminary analysis indicated that no significant environmental impacts would result from the full project, a Categorical Exclusion will also be prepared for the full project.
The project will reconnect the street grid at Orange and Temple Streets. The project will be designed based on the 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 11-foot travel lanes, bicycle routes and bicycle boxes at all intersections, and pedestrian zones at intersections for pedestrian safety.
The traffic impact study will involve an alternatives analysis of the design alternatives for the new city streets. Through the alternatives analysis, the most advantageous design for the corridor will be selected and advanced for further study. A traffic impact report for the revised roadway network will include a traffic inventory, forecasting and analysis in support of the proposed roadway improvements, and future development along the Route 34 corridor.
Structural work necessary to accommodate the conversion of Route 34 into a network of city streets will include replacement of the College Street Bridge and Church Street Bridge with fill structures. Structural work will also include construction of numerous retaining wall structures, and construction of a potential new bridge at Temple Street.
The Team will prepare a land use assessment to determine the character, scale, mix and density of land use for the corridor. To assist in identifying a feasible mix of land uses for development within the corridor, the Team will assess the alternative development concepts.
The Team will provide a comprehensive program of community outreach to engage and inform the public throughout the study. The Team will assist the City in providing a series of public meetings, preparing newsletters, and a project website.