NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — On Wednesday, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Office of Personnel Management Secretary Ben Barnes announced steps to move forward in regard to the future of Union Station.
Administration of the facility and related neighborhood improvements have been under discussion for months in light of this year’s renewal of the City’s lease of the Union Station Transportation Center as well as the State’s plans for a second parking garage.
Among the action steps to be taken include the following:
Union Station will continue to be operated by the New Haven Parking Authority for the next five years, with State assurance that solicitation for new management will not occur for the first three years. If at the end of the five-year term, the State does not renew the lease, there will be wage and benefit protections for station employees if the station operator changes.
The City of New Haven will have further input into the architectural design of a new parking garage. Further, the State has committed to first-floor retail amenities and additional bicycle parking in the existing garage.
Streetscape, bike, and walkability improvements will be undertaken around the station and along the corridor between the station and the New Haven Green.
OPM and CTDOT will support two urban mobility (bike and pedestrian) projects: one for the East Shore ($1.49 million) and one for Long Wharf / Fair Haven ($877,260), both with a goal of building connections between neighborhoods and Union Station.
The State will withdraw a previous request for repayment of funds that were deposited into Union Station’s capital reserve.
The State is undertaking a study of potential modifications to schedules on the New Haven line to explore limited-stop express trains to Grand Central Terminal in New York.
“With the framework built into these action steps, and a renewed partnership on other important investments, I’m confident the City and State will continue working together to knit Union Station into an accessible, seamless transportation network for residents and visitors, with improved amenities to complement the broader goals of transit-oriented development and economic growth in the Hill to Downtown corridor,” Mayor Harp said.
OPM Secretary Barnes said, “The State of Connecticut has invested billions of dollars in rail improvements services, and we are pleased to continue to do so. With Metro North, Shoreline East, Amtrak, and soon the Hartford Line converging at Union Station in New Haven, I am pleased that we have found a way to move forward with the City on Union Station while keeping this asset in state hands.”