Changing the direction of traffic in New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — If you’re a frequent driver in-and-out of New Haven, get ready for some possible changes on the roads. A number of ‘one-way streets’ are being eyed for a ‘two-way’ traffic.

The plan would change a total of 10 streets. On the north-south axis: Dwight, Howe, Park, York, College, Church and Hillhouse. Three ‘east-west’ streets: George, Crown and Grove could also be affected.

A .pdf document posted on the City of New Haven’s website shows some of the proposed design changes, including this one for Church Street next to the Green.

Driving around New Haven can be frustrating.

Rendering of proposed change from one-way to two-way traffic on Church Street by the Green in New Haven.
Rendering of proposed change from one-way to two-way traffic on Church Street by the Green in New Haven.

“Right now I’m going around in circles trying to find a parking spot, so it’s hard to maneuver, yeah,” said Jose Hernandez, Bristol.

Part of the problem is all those one way streets.

“Right now about one third of the traffic downtown is people circulating trying to find parking,” said Doug Hausladen, New Haven Transportation Director.

That’s New Haven’s traffic czar and he wants the public to weigh in on some ideas to improve things. A lot of downtown’s one way streets are about to become two way.

York Street is one of them, right by Yale, and there are before and after pictures. Grove Street is another, it would get a median, full of trees. Church Street too, right by the green, with one lane of traffic each way and a bike lane each way. By turning one way streets into two way street, you actually slow traffic down which is good for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“I think anything that slows cars down a little in New Haven would be a great change,” said Sarah Coe, New Haven.

New Haven will start work on some of the simpler streets next month, but they’ve set up an exhibit at the library to get public feedback on more complicated issues, like the intersection even police struggle with – the northwest end of York Square where Tower Parkway, Dixwell, Goffe, Whalley, Howe and Broadway all meet in a mess traffic experts call the “starfish.” How did we get here?

“Middle of the 20th century we started developing cities for cars instead of people and so part of this movement is realigning our cities for our citizens instead of just automobiles,” said Hausladen.

Another idea is to turn Temple Street as it cuts through the green into a two way street, but only for buses. Still another is to make Elm Street here two way instead of one way. And if you want to sound off about this, just come to the New Haven Public Library between 6-8 Wednesday night.

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