New Haven train station parking plan meets objections

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)–There is a plan on the table tonight that would build a brand new parking garage near New Haven’s union station. The new building would mean up to 1,000 new parking spots. But some people against the plan say it’s the wrong thing for the city’s future.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is looking to build a seven story parking garage near New Haven’s Union Station. A public hearing was held Monday night, where several who aren’t happy with the plans lodged complaints.

“Planning for everybody driving in from suburbs to the train station is not going to work anymore,” said William Kurtz, who lives in Hamden. “That’s not future oriented or sustainable.”

The plans call for a new $60 million parking garage to be constructed on top of what’s now a surface parking lot that holds about 240 vehicles. A study by CT DOT reports that current parking between the existing garage and parking lot for Union Station are filled to capacity every weekday.

“You’re proposing millions for infrastructure to last 50 years,” said one objector from New Haven. “But that’s the past 50 years of car-centric design. Instead of future 50 years that prioritizes non-motorized transportation.”

The design team admits that the project will likely add to traffic congestion on Union Avenue, but said that could be mitigated by using traffic flow technology. They also plan to cut down a line of sycamore trees on the sidewalk for the development. The objectors who spoke out Monday were mostly New Haven residents in favor of mass transit and more bike-friendly developments.

“This garage provides no pedestrian improvements, no updated links for bus to rail and very little increases in bike infrastructure,” said Winn Davis with the Town Green Special Services District.

“I really feel like we should not be incentivizing the single occupancy vehicle in 2016,” said Rob Rock of New Haven. “We should be looking toward the future.”

Public comments for this project will be open until June 20. If the plan proceeds, construction should start late next year.

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