So Long, Solari

by Thomas MacMillan | December 10, 2009 12:02 PM | | Comments (51)

Travelers will still hear the rumble of trains pulling into Union Station. But the familiar clackety-clack sound of the schedule board is going the way of the steam engine.

The news that the state’s about to replace Metro-North’s last “Solari” board hit travelers hard.

“I like the clackety-clackety,” said visiting Philadelphia businessman Hill Meade as he prepared to leave town.

Click the play arrow above to hear what Meade will miss.

120809_TM_0016a.jpgMeade (at left in photo) and his colleague, Barry Royen (at right), were waiting on Tuesday for the 6:38 to Philadelphia. They said the old sign adds an air of “nostalgia” to New Haven’s train station.

Contrary to Meade and Royen’s wishes, the board is due to be replaced next year with two large LED screens. It’s part of a multimillion-dollar improvement package scheduled for the station. Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) plans call for improvements to the distinctive pedestrian tunnel to the train platforms, improved signage and audio systems, and changes to help the station meet new building codes.

Kevin Nursick, a spokesman for the state DOT, said the mechanical sign needs replacing due to its age. He said he doesn’t know exactly how old it is, but “I can tell you it’s rare enough that it’s antiquated. … It’s quite difficult to procure parts and expertise to fix that style board any more.”

Nursick estimated that the sign swap and the other improvements will cost around $5 million. Work will begin in the spring and take one year. The project is funded by the state and federal governments, at a ratio of 20 percent and 80 percent respectively.

The train station needs the improvements, Nursick said. “It’s an older structure. A lot of the interior infrastructure hasn’t been touched for years.”

The To-Do List

120809_TM_0014a.jpgNursick provided a rundown of the plans. The metal lining of the pedestrian tunnel (pictured) will be replaced with a similar material. The tunnel will be outfitted with fire sprinklers and drainage and “water infiltration” in the tunnel will be addressed. To comply with current building codes, there will be upgrades to plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and lighting systems.

Retiring the schedule board is part of a number of public information improvements, Nursick said. New “variable message” LED signs will be installed in the tunnel at each stairwell and 19 more LED signs on the platforms themselves. There will be a new display with schedule information above the ticket-purchasing windows and a new computerized information kiosk. Four hundred new speakers will be installed to improve audio quality for announcements. That should “eliminate any of that Charlie-Brown-teacher sound,” Nursick said.

The existing schedule board will be replaced by two side-by-side LED panels, each 17 feet wide by six feet tall. Unlike the mechanical board — known as a Solari board or
split-flap display— the LEDs will not make noise when they change.

That’s a shame, according to Meade and Royen. Despite the fact that they work in the computer industry, they said the old board should be preserved.

“It’s really kind of nice to see,” Meade said. “It’s mechanical. It’s a little nostalgic.”

It also fits with the architecture of the station, said Royen.

“The whole setting throws you back to a different time, a slower paced life,” Meade said.

“There’s not many places like this,” Royen said.

“It works. Why change it?” Meade asked. Hearing that the board is reportedly difficult to repair, Meade suggested tacking a $2 or $3 “usage fee” onto ticket prices to pay for sign maintenance.

“I’m a true believer in you don’t replace something unless you need to,” said Charles Brady, a Westport finance researcher. He said it reminded him of his old coffee maker, which his daughter tried to replace eight years ago. The new coffee maker she gave him is still in the closet, ready to go if the old one breaks.

120809_TM_0002.jpgRachel Hull (pictured), a clinical researcher at Yale said she likes the old sign. “It’s kind of retro,” she said. The sound it makes is what you think of when you think of the train station, she said.

Contacted earlier, New Haven Urban Design League President Anstress Farwell also spoke up for preserving the sign. She said it is the only Solari board left on the Metro North line.

“I think it’s a very evocative part of the train station,” she said. “I think it’s worth keeping.”

Farwell raised concerns that an LED sign might not be as visible from all angles as the Solari board. Also, the Solari board’s “clackety-clackety” sound provides an audio clue to look toward the board, she said.

In an email, Farwell wrote, “The great high-ceiling and stone walls of the waiting room create a soft, steady, blended echo of passenger footsteps and their rolling luggage. The Solari sign’s sound is the heartbeat of the grand waiting room chamber.”







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Comments

Posted by: The Count | December 10, 2009 12:09 PM

Well, the nostalgia won't be COMPLETELY gone: I'm sure a lot of passengers feel the trains still run like it's 1959.

Posted by: DMacK [TypeKey Profile Page] | December 10, 2009 12:25 PM

I will miss the sound, but maybe the addition of a second display board means they are bringing back the novel concept of allowing us to see the estimated arrival times of trains coming into the station. When I pick people up now I have to call their cell phone to find out if they are on time.

Posted by: Jimmy | December 10, 2009 12:26 PM

Boston's South Station replaced their Solari board a few years ago with an electronic version. It's pretty cool, and they made it so it still makes the noise when changing. It's an electronic clackety noise but is still familiar. Too bad CT doesn't care much about nostalgia.

Posted by: Eva Geertz [TypeKey Profile Page] | December 10, 2009 12:39 PM

I am really, really sorry to hear this news.

Posted by: Anon | December 10, 2009 12:41 PM

Darn, I am sure you can get local machinists to make replacement parts when need be, if it really came to that, for less than what you are paying to install some video monitor that will assault our eyeballs.

I grew up with that sign. I have been checking the track and departure times on that board decades ago, since I was 13 years old and first started traveling by train on my own. I am not giving up that sign without a fight.

Posted by: Pedro | December 10, 2009 1:12 PM

I created a SeeClickFix for the issue here:
http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/10494

Let's save our sign!
PS- I believe that Philadelphia's 30th Street Station still has a Solari.

Posted by: William Kurtz | December 10, 2009 1:21 PM

That sign is one of my favorite parts of visiting the train station. It would be a shame to lose it.

Posted by: Rich | December 10, 2009 1:23 PM

Join the Save Solari group on Facebook.

Posted by: Norton Street | December 10, 2009 1:37 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tim5nU3DwIE

Posted by: anon | December 10, 2009 1:38 PM

Solaris are still widely used in Italy - discarding this one is an unacceptable solution. Can our country fix anything anymore?

Posted by: Erin | December 10, 2009 1:47 PM

Story posted: 12:02pm.

See Click Fix to stop the removal of the Solari sign posted: 12:45pm.

http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/10494

Vote to save the "clickety clack!"

My two cents: if the Solari sign is hard to maintain, use the $5 million it was going to cost for LED signs as a reserve fund to fix the Solari sign if ever needed.

Posted by: Brian Tang | December 10, 2009 1:59 PM

Please save the mechanical sign! Getting rid of it would be akin to demolishing the old Penn Station.

I think the fact that a mechanical sign is revered as a masterpiece of design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City is proof enough that our own mechanical sign is worth saving.

PLEASE DON'T TAKE THE MECHANICAL SIGN AWAY.

It's just like with musical instruments. People would pay a lot of money to have one of the old ones. They just don't make things like they used to.

Posted by: jawbone | December 10, 2009 2:03 PM

Just tell us which vacant building they throw it behind so someone can go rescue it.

Posted by: Peter | December 10, 2009 2:50 PM

Why don't they take the sign money and put it towards a parking lot.

Posted by: RAY WILLIS | December 10, 2009 3:14 PM

First they took Yoohoo out of the vending machines 6 years ago, now this. Agree with Jawbone, for this to go to the dump is unacceptable. Maybe the trolley museum in East Haven could at the very least store it if not use it? I remember an ex from Long Island (where of course all of the train "stations" are train platforms) exit the train into Union Station for the first time, gasp, and say it was like something out of a movie or fairy tale with a look of wonder in her eye. These things matter.

Posted by: robn | December 10, 2009 3:23 PM

Save the Solari!

Nostalgia is the wrong term to use because it means a false memory of the past cheerfully colored by omission of negativity. The only negative aspect of the Solari is maintenance and thatís something one has to commit to in order to avoid giving in to the throw away culture of the plasma screen. The Solari in its past and present has an aesthetic appreciated for its mechanical, motional and aural aspects. It's kinetic sculpture and is part of the living fabric of the train station. New Haven must stop attempting to synthesize the sanitized representation of a perfect future by erasing the physically inscribed markings of its good past.

Think about it.

Posted by: juli | December 10, 2009 3:39 PM

this is truly dreadful. so shortsighted!

it sounds like- eh, we'll trade this work of art for a crappy downgrade and pretend it's progress.

on a hilarious note, this also sounds like "save the clocktower" from back to the future.

Posted by: jawbone | December 10, 2009 3:42 PM

Ray,
Great suggestion! Someone should alert the East Haven Trolley people.
I went out to East Haven last summer with my kids and rode a genuine dark green NYC subway car with the original Coney Island signs still intact.

Posted by: L | December 10, 2009 4:06 PM

What a waste of money, especially at a time like this. If that sign doesn't end up at the East haven Trolley Museum or some such place, it will be a sin. Some other things to spend money on instead at Union Station: recycling program, enticing new and better businesses to come in, cafe/food court upstairs in mezzanine, a parking lot/garage that is very close and actually big enough, trashcans near the cabbies up on Union St. so they stop littering, more comfortable train interiors like the Hudson line. We could save this sign - we saved the Grove St. cemetery wall, didn't we? I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: Pedro | December 10, 2009 4:39 PM

Just so everyone knows, I'm almost certainly sure that this board is not some sort of crazy antique. At most, it is likely 24 years old. Metro North did not start operation until 1983, and the station did not reopen until 1985, so this board likely dates from then.

I contacted a representative from Solari and got this response:

"We are still manufacturing and support our mechanical split-flap
displays. In fact we maintain several signs for New Jersey Transit that
are over 25 years old and we just installed 2 new split-flap boards in
Trenton."

The flip boards are also significantly "greener" than the LED boards since they have a much lower power draw.

Bottom line is that we can almost certainly prevent the flip board from going away.
They are currently manufactured, so they could purchase a new board, AND the company still offers maintenance and parts for them, so the DOT cannot claim that keeping the board would be an undue burden to the taxpayers.


Posted by: DingDong | December 10, 2009 4:42 PM

This is a tragedy. Is there anything we can do to save the sign?

Posted by: clicketyclack | December 10, 2009 5:29 PM

I hope they keep the old sign. I agree, a small amount of the money they DONT spend on a new sign could be saved for any potential fixes to the original one.

Posted by: Pat | December 10, 2009 5:30 PM

As our public spaces become mall-ed, it becomes more important to preserve those things that are distinctive about a place - the cable car in San Francisco, trolleys in Boston, Grand Central Station in NYC. Even the Eiffel Tower was supposed to be taken down at one time.

The Solari can be fixed, but government money appeals to the bureaucrats who want the latest and greatest technological toys without understanding that this destroys our sense of place.

Don't destroy New Haven's distinctive places. Preserve and maintain.

Posted by: robn | December 10, 2009 6:05 PM

The concept was invented in the early 60s and this mechanism is historically significant because its a bridge between the mechanical age and the digital age.

Posted by: David P. Esquire | December 10, 2009 7:53 PM

It is a tragedy.

On the plus side, that man in the first photo is alarmingly handsome. I wonder if Barry does modeling on the side.

Posted by: anon | December 10, 2009 9:36 PM

Please email Kevin.Nursick@po.state.ct.us and voice your opposition to removing the sign.

Removing this sign is UNACCEPTABLE.

Posted by: observer | December 10, 2009 10:42 PM

Very well said, Ray Willis, and Robn, and Pat, and, really, everyone above.

And kudos to Pedro for contacting the manufacturer and demonstrating that there is no need at all to replace this board (and for pointing out the energy savings of not doing so).

Discussions like this among appreciative and civic-minded people make me glad to be living in this city.

Posted by: abg | December 11, 2009 1:06 AM

Where were all the preservationists when they got rid of the old lever-style voting machines? Supposedly they were too difficult and expensive to maintain, and you couldn't find the machinists who knew how to work on them (sound familiar?), so now we're stuck with black-box voting machines with memory cards that don't work 9% of the time according to a UConn Voting Technology Research Center pre-election audit in 2008. All in the name of 'progress.' But hey who cares about democracy anyway?

Why even bother with a LED board? Sooner or later everyone will have a smartphone app with train departure times updated in real time - their own personal LED screen. That way we can eliminate the annoying, inefficient communal experience of checking the departures board altogether. Onward to technotopia!

Posted by: nfjanette | December 11, 2009 1:59 AM

First, it's great news that CDOT is going to invest in much-needed infrastructure updates and repairs at Union Station. I've never been fond of the metal panels on the walls of the tunnel and I hope the new design is an improvement. I would also like to see the second floor mezzanine utilized as a seating area with tables for food service, which is notably lacking in the current layout.

As for the display, Solari also makes the digital LCD/LED versions of their older displays that are used in Grand Central Terminal and other venues. Assuming the existing unit can, in fact, be maintained at a reasonable cost, why not take the best of all ideas? It's reasonable to state that the lack of arrival time displays is an issue at Union Station. So, why not supplement the existing departure information with a number of smaller, high quality (in design and look) LCD units placed all around the station? The new units could display a variety of information in addition to arrivals and departures and might be a useful addition to the station if they are designed carefully to work within the magnificent architecture and decor of the station.

Posted by: robn | December 11, 2009 9:47 AM

Great ideas all.

Save the Solari, add supplemetary flat screens, leave the strange fallopian tunnels alone (I'm neither a fan nor a detractor but the money can be bettter spent elsewhere). The lions share of the $5M bucks could buy a full deck of much needed parking garage spaces.

Posted by: Anon | December 11, 2009 11:27 AM

I am the one who posted that I had been checking that sign since I was 13 and won't give it up without a fight.

PEdro, thanks for the research on the company, clearly this sign is still viable.

But you are wrong about its age. It has been in use since before the station closed. It has nothing to do with Metro NOrth, predecessor ConnRail or Amtrak, it's been Union Station's sign.

Union Station, and that sign, were in operation during all the years the main lobby of Union Station were closed. That sign is the same one from my childhood in the 1970s.

Union station operated for years with a makeshift lobby attached to the then more crummy tunnel to the tracks and used that sign.

DOT is NUTS if it thinks it will be cheaper in the long run to install a sign made of disposable very expensive electronic modular parts rather than mechanical pieces that can be replaced or serviced peice by peice.

Use the money to put someone to WORK with a JOB instead of throwing it at energy hog items that are designed to be more expensive to service and repair when people are dying for jobs. I suppose this is some nut's idea of a stimulous package.

If you want to post arrival times, shove some dumb TV somewhere in the lobby if need be, but I can TELL you the arrival times: Metro North will be on-time, Amtrak will be late. There, is that so complicated?

Posted by: CHUPCHUPCHUPCHUP | December 11, 2009 12:28 PM

I love that noise! It makes me feel as if I'm playing some sort of roulette wheel in Vegas, and hopefully I'll win when it says "all aboard." And how long do you think it'll be before a LED board needs to be replaced by something newer-fangled?

Posted by: Mister Jones | December 11, 2009 3:25 PM

Reminds me of my folks old split-flap Sony clock-radio from the 60's, with a real wood case. Still have the matching small b+w tv. Digital clock yet so analog!

Posted by: anon | December 11, 2009 4:57 PM

Anon, you bring up a good point about the stimulus package. Much of the money is going to big ticket items and wealthy corporations, rather than creating jobs "on the ground."

If the government wanted to create jobs, they would give the stimulus money to sidewalks and repairs of signs like these, not to multi-billion-dollar highway overpasses.

It's also interesting to see WHO gets the money. Much of it goes towards jobs that get taken by white men (particularly in construction), with a tiny fraction going to employ women and minorities.

It is time to demand accountability!

Posted by: Cincinnatus | December 11, 2009 5:14 PM

I too like the mechanical Solaris sign. And I was quite pleased when as a high school kid Union Station finally got its very-own Grand Central Ė style flip sign. But letís not forget the Grand Central sign is now digital. Seems to me the bigger concern in NYC was whether GCT would be restored, not the status of their Solaris sign.

And frankly Iíd rather have the $5 million going into preserving the actual historic landmark Ė that is Union Station itself Ė rather than the Johnny-come-lately sign board.

And Pedro is likely correct. The current one almost certainly is not an antique. It was installed after the restored Union Station reopened in 1985. Prior to that, as I recall, the Arrival and Departure board was nothing more than a hand chalked blackboard in the dreary adjacent tunnel-style temporary station.

I guess it would be nice to keep the Solaris board and supplement it with smaller LCD boards. As was pointed out, the clickety-clak of the board is great because it provides a cue that new information is being posted. But Iím not going to freak out if it gives way to a modern LCD board that provides additional information. Though simulating the sound would be a nice touch.

But if anyone is really that attached to 1985 technology Iíll gladly swap my antique Sony Walkman cassette player for their crappy new iPhone.

Posted by: Bill | December 11, 2009 11:24 PM

Good informed and passionate people of this chat board...Google search Preservation 911 and file comments! Spread the word!

What if Grand Central in NYC had replaced its famous Seth Thomas (from Waterbury, CT) clock with something digital?

I'm positive this building must be on the National Register of Historic Places! So, E-mail, mail, bombard, and harass the slowpokes at the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation! Remind them of their duty to help preserve and protect these types of details! They rarely do anything other than protect some little seen covered bridge in some sleepy hamlet or worry about the windows on some 18th century farmhouse in Canton or something. But CT's urban treasures deserve far greater attention than they currently receive. (Does the state even have a SHPO anymore?!)

There are millions of trains and train station enthusiasts out there who can be rallied to this cause; there are passionate people looking out for NYC subway tiles, there must be knowledgeable people attached to the NYCs metro-rail system who could be of service.

This is a classic case of something that truly isn't outmoded, that is tasteful, threatened by something crass, obtrusive, and worst of all: unnecessary. Some unthoughtful bureaucrat made a snap decision somewhere and now is going to fight like the dickens over what should be nothing, but don't back down.

Rip down the clock towers and the ivy clad walls of Yale, but for goodness sake keep the flipping sign! Its earned its place!

Posted by: Bill | December 11, 2009 11:32 PM

Also, really good point others have made, why in the name of all that is sensible isn't the DOT spending stimulus cash on things that improve access to the train station from surrounding neighborhoods instead of wasting it on misguided efforts to improve aesthetics in the interior?

I'm sure there is plenty of old wiring and maintenance stuff and code updating to do on the interior of the place, but it seems like people are trying to tinker with the look of it---and that really isn't the most pressing situation for CT transportation systems. The whole NYC-metro area is in a state of nearly perpetual crisis for increased access and improvements to speed of service, and they're wasting $$ and effort on audio systems and LED sign boards?!

Posted by: David | December 11, 2009 11:46 PM

Forty years from now all your kids will be moaning and waxing nostalgic about the imminent replacement of the LED boards with new-fangled holographic plasma displays. Get over it folks, it's a sign. It's there to serve a purpose.

The old steam locomotives were fascinating works of art and mechanical triumphs also, and we somehow life continued when they were replaced, first with diesels and now with electric trains. And I'm sure there were folks up in arm about those changes, too.

Posted by: Remember | December 13, 2009 10:00 AM

David:

I initially felt that way, reading this--"much ado about nothing"--but I've since changed my perspective.

I'm just annoyed that they are spending so much money on such a small thing. The old sign works, it's in use all over, and there are spare parts to fix it.

Why did they claim none of that was true?

On reflection, I think they are just trying to build their budget by spending more money--pork.

the train station has real financial needs which could be met. Instead they are putting in LCDs. Seems like a huge waste of money to me.

Posted by: Bill | December 13, 2009 1:16 PM

How do you decide what is just a sign and what will become a future landmark?

Your analogy is off---This isn't like a polluting, slow moving coal train being replaced with a faster cleaner electric one---This is about something that works being replaced with something that doesn't have the same aesthetic.

And really, when it comes to signs and so on, isn't it really a matter of aesthetics? Its not like we're talking about replacing an outdated alphabet here--we're talking about preserving a font and a style of information display that we agree works.

Seriously, what if we had that attitude about Grand Central? Oh wait, we did, only it was about Penn Station. THat sure was a case of progress that worked out for the better now didn't it...

Spend the damn money on making the trains faster and more futuristic, not the same cheesy LEDs that even my old high school cafeteria had and there is nothing charming about...

Posted by: Dave | December 13, 2009 5:54 PM

Keep the Solari sign- it's one of the charms of Union Station. Since the company still makes them and since parts are available, why get rid of it? Led signs aren't going to be as long lived as the Solari, and they sure do pull a lot more kilowatts which make them less green. Add the costs of recycling when they die ten or twelve (or less) years from now and I cannot see any reason to use them. As for arrivals, the older CRT monitors use less power and last longer than LED screens. I hope to hear that lovely clickety clack for many years to come.

Posted by: Jay | December 13, 2009 6:37 PM

OMG - please keep the board, I love it. If something has to be upgraded, why not the horrible Logan's Run tunnel - get rid of that!

Posted by: Jason S. | December 13, 2009 11:43 PM


Union Station badly needs more bike parking... would that ConnDOT were half as concerned about that as they are about installing useless new loudspeakers! To learn that they're going to spend precious state and federal dollars on replacing a wonderful mechanical sign with a soulless LED display adds insult to injury.

So far as I can tell, the only problem with the interior of Union Station is the occasional water leak in the tunnels. The rest of the station is a gorgeous inheritance that we should treat with respect, not capriciously overhaul.

It's gratifying to see the outpouring of concern people have expressed over the sign here, on SCF, on Facebook, and elsewhere. As for the maintenance of the mechanical sign, rest assured that there are *plenty* of machinists in and around New Haven who would get a kick out of milling some parts for a charming Solari.

Posted by: Richard Stowe | December 14, 2009 1:16 AM

If you're interested in seeing the DOT's vision of what they may believe to be aesthetically pleasing, take the train to the Stamford Transportation Center. You can be sure there's no Solari sign there.

Posted by: Cheryl | December 14, 2009 2:08 PM

Oh no! I have sat in the station dead-tired and was able to rest my eyes because I knew that at least I could hear the sign and know when info was being updated.

The Solari board matches the decor of the station and adds to its charm. Don't waste the money on something that will in the end cost more to run and maintain. Spend some money on the things that riders really need like working elevators, additional bike racks, expanding the bathrooms and the availability of more parking. A slight overhaul on the tunnels might be nice, as long as they keep the metallic tubelike theme.

Posted by: John | December 14, 2009 3:07 PM

Harlem's Apollo Theater replaced its marque with a L.E.D. system, but was mandated by the NYC Landmarks Commission to maintain the format of the original signage, that of black letters silhouetted against a lighted white background. I don't know what Union Station is planning, but their new L.E.D. system could still reflect the Solari Board's graphic format.

Posted by: Westville Sue | December 14, 2009 4:02 PM

New Haven's Union Station is the gateway into and out of this city for thousands of travelers each day. During the weekday rush hours it is the only logical way for those in this part of the state to commute to the city, given Fairfield County's impossibly heavy traffic. But even at other times it is the portal for the travel choice for those without car/parking access, those trying to keep their carbon footprint light and those who don't want to drive.

On behalf of all those who use the station and whose families use the station, I certainly appreciate the state's efforts to keep it as safe and up-to-date and easy to use as possible.

While additional signage with more details would be nice, I urge that the historic and comforting Solari Sign that now graces the station be retained and incorporated into the renovation plans. This very visible sign has a warm personality that helps ground the traveler before he descends into the cold, mirrored, art-deco tunnel to board train. While travelers sit in the waiting room, the sign's periodic clatter is both a diversion and a reminder that time is passing. It also serves as a kind of alarm to rouse the daydreamer so he doesn't miss his train.

This is New England, an area where history is valued and tradition savored. People spend large sums to incorporate artifacts of the past into their current homes and lives, yet some would discard this piece of history. The Solari Board is more than an artifact: its a vibrant, healthy, useful reminder of the glory days of train travel.

I urge that plans be adjusted to put up one less electronic sign and instead use that money to secure and store some replacement parts to keep the Solari Board going well into this century.

Posted by: observer | December 14, 2009 9:43 PM

Yet more articulate and even eloquent posts on this subject; especially from you, Westville Sue. Thank you for what you said.

Posted by: Bill | December 15, 2009 4:45 AM

Save us from another, cold Stamford Station...

A general comment: I think ConnDOT is interpreting "shovel ready" stimulus money as quick spending on unnecessary or unimaginative cheap junk like this LED sign because they haven't done any real planning for decades to integrate mass transit options into local communities. Sure, we're finally fixing some 100 year old bridges on the shoreline, but I feel more like the ninth stitch instead of the one made in time, and not evidence of new forward thinking infrastructure investment .

Additional car parking isn't the answer; creating alternative feeder systems to and from the train station is the answer. We need to think more urban and less suburban in CT, especially in city centers (duh). When you get off at Grand Central you jump in a taxi or onto a subway train or just walk off to your destination. For those local to New Haven, there needs to be greater attention paid to passengers who do not or do not want to leave their car in the garage. Heck, for those a mere couple miles away in Hamden in Branford there needs to be those options, and people will need to feel safe doing them.

Top four things to focus on: Bike parking, bike lanes to and from the station, better connection to buses (and/or installation of trolley/light rail) and safer, more inviting pathways for pedestrians to make what could otherwise be a very short walk to 9th Square and downtown attractions.

Its up to the public to put on the pressure to make up for these decades of lost planning and investment.

Posted by: Ron DeGray | December 16, 2009 11:13 AM

Keep the Solari Board - the old and new can and often should co-exist.

Posted by: Pioneer | December 17, 2009 9:39 PM

In case anybody is interested, railfans' and railroad employees' opinions on the matter:
http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=67&t=67499&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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