Written by Erica Drzewiecki
NEW BRITAIN – Neighborhoods will be safer, more attractive and more economically-viable with the implementation of the newly-finalized Complete Streets Roadmap, according to the city.
What began in 2013 as a master plan to improve the safety and accessibility of downtown New Britain in three phases evolved into eight separate goals that have all since been completed.
Now Mayor Erin Stewart, her Strategic Planning Committee, Public Works Director Mark Moriarty and other city officials have released what the mayor is calling “Complete Streets 2.0.”
“We realized we have an opportunity to expand the Complete Streets plan citywide,” Stewart said. “With the amount of available funding that is going to come down through federal government infrastructure bills we really needed to start broadening our approach. Our goal is to support and enhance safety and connectivity, while also adding character and attractability throughout different neighborhoods.”
They partnered with planning firm Fuss & O’Neill to develop the Complete Streets Roadmap, a 114–page document that details the program from its inception to future goals and actions to be taken. Design strategies and redevelopment plans are covered extensively.
“People laugh because I always say this, but I truly believe that people want to invest in cities that invest in themselves,” Stewart said. “When residents, business owners and developers see that the city has taken a keen interest in its own infrastructure they are more apt to take care of and invest in their own properties.”
One of the next projects to take place will be the renovation of John Downey Drive, which has already garnered funding. Additionally, a planning grant was recently achieved for making enhancements to the Barrio Latino on Arch Street. The Myrtle Street corridor is another up-and-coming focus area.
While drafting the roadmap, city officials collected input from residents on improvements they’d like to see in different neighborhoods. Hundreds of people provided feedback using an online survey tool and at in-person meetings.
“It really gave our staff a good picture from city residents of areas they thought had the most need,” Stewart said. “Our plan not only supports their quality of life; it supports businesses, promotes economic development and allows us to enhance our gateways so when people are entering our city the first thing they see is beautification at its best. We want to be vibrant, walk-able, bike-able and safe. I think we’re light-years ahead of other communities across the state because we’ve taken the time to sit down and really come up with a vision for our future that will check all of the boxes for the grant monies being made available.”
The Complete Streets Roadmap can be viewed at the following link: newbritainct.gov/services/public-works/new-britains-complete-streets/complete-streets-roadmaphtm
© Copyright 2022, centralctcommunications.com/newbritainherald, New Britain, CT