When New Haven’s Medical District and the Hill, West River and Dwight neighborhoods were severed from Downtown by the Oak Street Connector, the divide stifled economic and community development. Downtown Crossing is reestablishing vital human and economic connections and bringing back the urban character and sense of place that defines the city. By ensuring that every stakeholder has a voice at the table, and that the group is working as one to resolve issues and reach agreement, the project can proceed with a strong foundation for success.
In addition to leading the consensus-building process prior to the beginning of construction, a number of in-house services were leveraged at the 100 College Street construction site including transportation engineering, site civil engineering, environmental engineering, and permitting and approvals. The technical complexity of tearing down a section of 6-lane highway with entrance and exit ramps and surrounded by city streets, a 2,800 car parking structure and a bridge necessitated the combined expertise of numerous architecture, engineering and construction firms including Parsons Brinckerhoff, Elkus/Manfredi Architects, McNamara/Salvia, and AHA Consulting Engineers.
The City’s vision, shared by all stakeholders, is to reconnect neighborhoods and provide new streets where walking and bicycling are safe; link housing and shopping to nearby transit options; and renew economic and community health by opening up the land occupied by a six-lane highway connector for residential, retail, healthcare, and research development space. Over a six-year period, starting with the initial concept, we worked hand-in-hand with city, state and federal government representatives, private property owners and developers, state agencies (DPW, DOT, DECD), neighborhood groups, Yale University and Yale New Haven Hospital, to forge agreements on all technical issues that allowed them to move with one accord toward project construction.
The Route 34 project is essential to the long-term health and well-being of New Haven –reconnecting the city and providing a large, critical mass of valuable urban land use. As a boulevard, Route 34 re-establishes the street grid and the scale and character of a New Haven neighborhood. Pedestrian-oriented streets, ground floor retail, low- to mid-size buildings, parks and open spaces all serve to attract new residents and businesses. Transit oriented development, with excellent access to commuter rail, dedicated bicycle lanes and in-city transit, provides a substantial competitive advantage over automobile-dependent locations.