2 Visions Of Green Collide

Portrait of AmericaMichelle Liu PhotoSam Sigg dumped the contents of a bag onto a table, revealing a year’s worth of used pipes, syringes and other drug paraphernalia that he’d collected around the Trinity Church on the Green.

This, he told a room full of neighbors filling a City Hall conference room, was a visual presentation of the New Haven Green.

Sigg, the head sexton of Trinity Church, was attending his first-ever Downtown Wooster Square Community Management Team meeting.

“Watch your fingers there,” someone murmured, as Sigg sifted through the glass and metal clinking on the table.

Over the course of the meeting, two different images of the Green would emerge — one rooted in its present-day reality of homelessness and addiction, one a new picture to look forward to with an upcoming cutting-edge public-art exhibit with 25-foot-high images on the sides of the churches on the Green called “WE ARE: A Nation of Immigrants — New Haven.”

“The Wild, Wild West”

Paul Bass PhotoMichelle Liu PhotoThe monthly meeting took place Tuesday night, on first official day of spring. As if on cue, the meeting bubbled with qualms over (certain) signs of life on the New Haven Green.

Though other crime has been constant or low on the Green, the police are coming up with some new strategies to combat persistent drinking and drug use there, said Lt. Mark O’Neill, the neighborhood’s district commander. Most recently, he has convinced the courts to begin upholding some of the arrests and tickets made on the Green.

“I don’t think it’s a secret anymore,” he said. “We’ve also had narcotics going in the Green.”

Sigg, along with other attendees of the meeting, proceeded to pepper the conversation with questions and complaints about panhandling, loitering, urinating and defecating, and other forms of disorderly behavior they have noticed recently.

How can the neighborhood make the Green more of a study spot for Yale students, and less of a hangout for drug dealers? some asked.

“Are people legally allowed to be on the Green, hanging out all day?” Sigg continued.

O’Neill outlined the fine line between whether determining whether a Yale student who studies on the Green for several hours is loitering (the answer: no) and someone who’s just “urinating on himself” is loitering (the answer: also no).

Sigg observed that a card for the APT Foundation’s Congress Avenue methadone clinic was mixed in with his year’s worth of collected paraphernalia. O’Neill noted that in one week, the police arrested 10 people for selling K2 on the green —  and that eight out of those 10 were APT Foundation clients. O’Neill added that the city is not turning a blind eye to the matter and that the APT Foundation has recently been in meetings with cops and other city officials about concerns over management of the facility.

City and neighborhood officials alike sounded beleaguered notes. Matthew Griswold of the Town Green business improvement district said that when one of the Town Green “ambassadors” (uniformed employees who do safety and maintenance work) tried to break up a fight between two men on K2, they ended up jumping him. That’s a regular occurence in the “spillover from the wild, wild West which is the Green,” he said.

Gallery on the Green

Following this discussion, the photographer Joe Standart provided a different vision of the Green.

Or rather, different pictures. Standart gave the keynote presentation of the evening, announcing that his traveling project Portrait of America, which now aims to “explore the immigrant experience,” illustrating the imaginations and labors of immigrants in the current moment, would be exhibited on the Green beginning this summer.

Standart has taken portraits of refugees and immigrants he has encountered in New Haven, through local organizations like Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services and Unidad Latina en Acción, through walking about on the street and keeping his eyes open.

He printed these portraits onto large sheets of aluminum —  think up to 25 feet high —  to be hung up on the walls of the Green’s churches and posted as free-standing installations. He’s also interviewed his subjects, making videos of their stories as documentary material for a new website.

Attendee Kevin McCarthy said that he’d been involved in a similar initiative in East Rock a few years ago, but that project had been vandalized within a couple of weeks. How could they prevent that on the Green this time around, he asked?

“We have a secret weapon sitting at the front of the table,” Standart joked, gesturing to O’Neill.

Lucy McClure, presenting the project alongside Standart and Randi McCray, added that she hopes that the work would unite people. “This kind of work is needed in a time like this.”

The project may eventually go on tour in New England, Standart said.

“Doesn’t Bode Well”

As the meeting wound down, Sigg spoke to a reporter, acknowledging that many of the people who loiter downtown have “lives so broken” that they have no other options. He referenced recent efforts by Trinity Church in stymying the local opioid crisis.

Local artist Tony Kosloski chimed in, adding that “half of this country is living in poverty.”

“It just sounds very disrespectful to chase sick people away, make them disappear,” Kosloski added. “It doesn’t bode well for our vision of New Haven.”

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posted by: wendy1 on March 21, 2018  2:33pm

Police like O’Neil are part of the problem and should have no part in this.  All they do is harrass and ticket the poor and damaged, at taxpayers expense.  The court system is even worse.  Read The Divide by Mat Taibbi.

The solution is housing all or most of our homeless.  Housing, providing a home, is the first step in treating all of our civic problems including addiction, sex work, crime, theft, vandalism, panhandling, litter, disease, and more.  But Yale and the city are not listening to reality.  Meanwhile the city, the DOT, Yale, and the utilities are scrabbling for MORE MONEY.  The sexton and the artist, I applaud for making sense.

posted by: Elmer Shady on March 21, 2018  3:05pm

Basically, the misconceived I-95 Underpass project ‘reconcieved’......

Not cutting edge in anyway, in fact, just rehash of a poor public art project

posted by: compassionateconservative on March 21, 2018  3:10pm

I just want to point out that the picture at the top of the article is of how the “portrait of America” will look when it is installed, at least on Trinity Church. That is one of the many positive things we are bringing to the Green this Summer, thanks to Joe’s vision.
We are also very concerned about the whole person, and know that “chasing away the drug dealers” won’t resolve the social and personal issues that result in so much destitution. If you want to see what Trinity, in particular, is doing to help people rebuild their lives, please read the excellent article from last Sunday’s New Haven Register about “Brother James.”

https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/Randall-Beach-Brother-James-and-his-flock-12759836.php#photo-15250524

I also want to say that thanks to Lt. O’Neill, the “wild west” atmosphere on the Green has begun to change for the better. He is listening to us all and acting in a humane manner to redress some of the terrible, uncivil and depressing behavior that those of us who work in and around the Green see every day.
The Green, ideally, is a place for everyone to enjoy. It’s a wonderful gift to the city. For that to continue to be the case, there needs to be a balance of rights and responsibilities among the people who stay on the Green all day, those who live and work in the city, and all visitors who should expect to enjoy it in peace and safety.

posted by: elviejocoyotl on March 21, 2018  3:34pm

Demonizing, again, as usual, the New Haven Police Department is completely non-productive. Police Officers enforce ordinances and laws, they do not make them. Neither are they a group given the training or power to be social workers, agents of social change or originators or promoters of practical, efficient civic and social programs to help these unfortunate, and unfortunately self-destructive outriders to our imperfect social fabric. Those responsibilities fall on the grass-roots legislators and public servants: Alders, State and Federal representatives, departments for social service and change, and the Mayor. To say these worthies have no plan, no system, no organization, no energy or will to really deal with these problems is an understatement. Be shrill with them. Block their access to their offices. Invite these bewildered addicts and system despoilers to camp out and live and litter on the front and back lawns of The Worthies until they do something: their job as elected officials. Oh, and keep the spotlight and the magnifying glass on the APT Foundation, that foundation so apt to make money off these addicts. Lt. O’Neill, like his predecessors, Sgt. Maher, Sgt. Hoyte, Sgt. Davis, Sgt. Means, is a decent, compassionate NHPD Officer who works overtime to help and protect us all, as well as these unfortunates. Drugs feel good when you have nothing else: insist that our legislators and “leaders” give them that something else. Make them do their job, folks, so we can enjoy the heart of New Haven. And do not demonize the well-trained, restrained women and men of the NHPD. Read the news: two Police-Unarmed Civilian confrontations recently: one civilian dead, one civilian alive. Guess who got to live? The unarmed civilian “confronted” by the New Haven Police Department. This is our PD in action, not reaction. Let’s get our legislators out of the photo-ops and into the trenches.

posted by: Matt Higbee on March 21, 2018  4:32pm

If we want to attract more positive uses on the Green, lets follow the example of countless other New England towns and allow hot dog vendors and other food carts to set up there. It’s a much more attractive place for lunch than the approved vendor locations.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 21, 2018  4:32pm

Lt. O’Neill says he’s looking for new ways to combat crime on the Green.

I heard this before.Get ready for this.stop-and-frisk

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/09/21/it-looks-like-rudy-giuliani-convinced-donald-trump-that-stop-and-frisk-actually-works/

posted by: robn on March 21, 2018  5:20pm

The bad behavior on the Green is just unacceptable. Nobody in their right mind would want to walk with, never mind let a kid walk through the Green with the amount of dealing, badmouthing and fighting that goes on. Our cops should be empowered to boot people off and repeat offenders should be given a train ticket out of town.

posted by: Colin Ryan on March 21, 2018  5:28pm

Maybe we could put tall stone walls around the green and only allow entry to people with an access card?

posted by: robn on March 21, 2018  5:47pm

CR,

Or maybe you could just demand that people stop dealing drugs and harassing other citizens with loud aggressive behavior. This isn’t a Yale thing. Derelicts are spoiling what could be one of the nicest public spaces in America. 3/5 calls cleaning it up gentrification. I call it civility.

posted by: Esbey on March 21, 2018  6:26pm

I am with Matt Higbee. There needs to be more of a positive draw to the green.

The current proprieters of the green advocate no commercial activity, no food carts, instead seeing the green as a contemplative place. But drug users and drunks pay no heed to that vision, and so they take over. We either need the police to enforce the vision of a pleasantly empty green and/or we need competing positive uses.

The case for positive competition avoids the difficult questions about fairness in policing.

As an aside, the green is technically privately owned, which complicates matters.

posted by: LookOut on March 21, 2018  6:30pm

I would echo those who are tired of allowing a few bad eggs to ruin the green.  Arrest them, fine them, assign them to community service….but don’t just allow it.  Sounds like the officer in this story is moving things in the right direction.  And maybe 3/5ths suggestion of stop and frisk would help.  The only suggestion that should be rejected out of hand is giving everyone who chooses to make bad decisions a house.  That will clearly just incent more bad decisions.

posted by: Colin Ryan on March 21, 2018  6:55pm

Robn, by all means demand civility. And then when the people living on the Green wake up tomorrow still homeless, still jobless, and still addicted - what’s next? I don’t know the answer. And I’m not offering any solutions for these huge societal problems.

But Matt and Esbey are completely right. You don’t make the Green more attractive by pushing people out. You do that by making it more appealing and drawing people in. Add vendors and food trucks. Add public art. Add popup lawn games. Encourage musicians and performers to put a hat down and earn some cash. Setup a slip and slide for a day. Who knows.

If you want silent contemplation there are plenty of other places to have a seat and stare at the sky. This is the middle of a bustling downtown. Why do we have this image of the green as a place that needs to look pristine and placid instead of alive and fun? Let’s take the plastic cover off the couch.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 21, 2018  8:21pm

posted by: LookOut on March 21, 2018 6:30pm

And maybe 3/5ths suggestion of stop and frisk would help.

I am not suggesting Stop and Frisk.I am not for that.The problem on the green is drug addiction and mental Illness.

posted by: robn on March 21, 2018 5:47pm

The Green reminds me of a place call Tompkins Square Park in New York which was in the the East Village .The park had become the embodiment of New York City’s socioeconomic problems and the widening class gap.So what happen the gentrification vampires recognized in demolishing low-income housing to make way for streamlined, luxury condos, and private real estate companies could jack up the rent in a neighborhood with little to no interference from the city government. This overwhelming influx of people moving to the East Village only served to increase economic inequality between the classes.Tompkins Square Park had become a de facto homeless shelter and gathering place for the New Yorkers who were left homeless and excluded from the city’s vision for a greater New York.And that is also you problem on the Green.It has become a de facto homeless shelter and gathering place.

My bad They had a Tompkins Square Park Riot in 1988.Hey Robin there banners proclaiming “GENTRIFICATION IS CLASS WARFARE.Again the problem on the green is drug addiction and mental Illness.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on March 21, 2018  8:41pm

Matt, that idea was raised at the meeting. The Proprietors of the Green have been adamantly opposed to allowing commercial activities there, although there has been some discussion of moving the downtown farmers’ market to the Green

3/5ths, New York’s stop and frisk program was racially discriminatory and counterproductive. No one at the meeting (including Lt. O’Neill) suggested replicating it here.

posted by: anonymous on March 21, 2018  8:50pm

The Green is too large; only the lower section (between Temple and Church) was meant to be a grand “public square”; the upper half used to house the State Capitol. 

Bring back the buildings and activities to the Upper Green that were meant to be there. It would be a great place for a couple of new museums or concert halls, topped with dense housing towers, plus new commercial spaces along Chapel Street between the church and College Street. Add a large playground or skating rink.

This easily could be done in a respectful way that did not infringe on the pathways or the churches that line Temple Street, and it would still be a grand public space. The Green is so large—technically one of the largest public squares in the world, despite being in a mid-sized city—that you wouldn’t even notice the new buildings were there.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on March 21, 2018  9:22pm

Project for Public Spaces recommendations for the New Haven Green 2012 Report:
https://newhavenurbanism.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/new-haven-green-placemaking-plan-v2.pdf

posted by: robn on March 21, 2018  10:26pm

Stop portraying a desire to have a welcoming Green free from drug dealers and addicts as some sort of imaginary conspiracy to hurt weak people. Not the same thing.

posted by: opin1 on March 21, 2018  10:55pm

Here’s how to clean up the Green. First, allow in-home treatment of drug addicts by home health care providers; And/or set up smaller treatment centers in each town. Or allow general practitioners (who are scattered in all towns) to be able to administer treatment for drug addicts. Its not a good plan to have every drug addict in the entire region of the state come to the same location in New Haven to get their treatments. 

Second, stop using the Town Green as a bus hub! That’s not what it was intended for. The endless lines of buses idling on the perimeter create noise and air pollution that is going to prevent anyone from wanting to go have a picnic or exercise or sit on a blanket there. Next, I agree with Matt Higbee, after the buses are no longer idling on all sides, allow some food carts, maybe even put in a few picnic tables.. people will start using the space to eat, relax, exercise, etc.

If DOT wants to stick with a hub and spoke system then a proper hub should be made with a roof and bathrooms so people can stay warm and dry while waiting for transfers. It would make sense to have such a hub adjacent to the train station, so people can easily connect from bus to train and vice versa.  Perhaps on the other side of the tracks (with pedestrian walk-over) from the station; or in the parking lot of Yale New Haven Medical Center South or the former Yale Nursing School on Columbus - near the train and near on-ramp/exit to highways.

posted by: __quinnchionn__ on March 22, 2018  12:37am

@anonymous

I kinda agree with your idea about transforming the green into a better “grand public space.” Doing that I think would probably be the best way to attract more people to the center of Downtown and also keep drug dealers and drug users away from the area all at once. It would really be a great thing for New Haven, but the idea and planning itself is long overdue and will take years to complete.

posted by: JCFremont on March 22, 2018  8:16am

I would like to see things like food carts, not trucks. Hey maybe a legal state marijuana kiosk?  As well as other public events but there needs to be strict adherence to keeping the place clean, make the vendors responsible for keeping The Green pristine and treat violators with a heavy hand. Building something on the upper green? Like what? Maybe a Museum of The City of New Haven but what ever is built there blocks the old campus view and looking at some of New Haven’s architectural flubs probably won’t fit within the landscape.

posted by: ClassActionToo on March 22, 2018  8:38am

Go to almost any town green in CT or in New England - take a good look and you will probably find that most of them are well maintained, inviting and welcoming. The “Green” in New Haven is none of these. Large, multiple bare/muddy areas are found throughout, littering of all varieties can be seen throughout many sections and much of this is of the illegal kind. Areas that could and should be landscaped with the types of beautiful flowering trees found throughout New England are barren and forlorn. As far as the homeless and vagrant individuals who have basically made squatter’s claims on the Green, the city needs to become much more aggressive in enforcing existing codes and laws. Ideas related to creative landscape design are also worth looking into (there are many that help deters vagrant loitering) when seriously thinking about how to recreate a town green worthy of a great town like New Haven and reclaim it as a bright green patch of pride for EVERYONE.

posted by: Cordalie on March 22, 2018  9:15am

Please do not confuse or conflate New Haven’s homeless with the small-time, from out of town, drug dealers on the Green.  The New Haven police know our homeless by name and they and Town Green employees remind those in need of the many services available to homeless in New Haven.

The small-time drug dealers and users are a different crowd and there is nothing gentrifying about clearing them from the green.  Many are from out of town.  Send them home.

posted by: cunningham on March 22, 2018  9:40am

From Vox:
“[A] Central Florida Commission on Homelessness study [indicated] that the region spends $31,000 a year per homeless person on ‘the salaries of law-enforcement officers to arrest and transport homeless individuals — largely for nonviolent offenses such as trespassing, public intoxication or sleeping in parks — as well as the cost of jail stays, emergency-room visits and hospitalization for medical and psychiatric issues.’

“By contrast, getting each homeless person a house and a caseworker to supervise their needs would cost about $10,000 per person.”

From “Giving housing to the homeless is three times cheaper than leaving them on the streets:” http://bit.ly/2IJfXpY

posted by: robn on March 22, 2018  9:49am

Programming including food trucks has always been a good idea. It rescued Bryant Park and can rescue the Green. I don’t have much hope it will happen given that the Green Proprietors recently appointed Kica Matos who might frown upon such practical improvements.
And I agree with moving the bus hub elsewhere (something that can be done without permission of the Green Proprietors). There’s little reason to keep it there and a great argument for putting it across from the train station under cover. Now would be a good time for the city or state to exercise eminent domain on the ribbon of Church Street south property along Union Avenue since that property is essentially defunct.

posted by: duncanidaho645 on March 22, 2018  12:28pm

The bus hub absolutely has to be near the train station.  It makes zero sense that it isn’t already there.  More people will ride the bus when there isn’t chaos around the hub.  Train police can help to police the area.

It seems that some people are confusing mental illness with being a selfish scum of a person.  You want to do drugs? I don’t care even a little bit, just don’t throw your diseased needles or other drug paraphanelia on the ground where children can get at it.  If you can’t simply place your drug waste in the trash then I hope they throw away the key after they lock you up.

posted by: HewNaven on March 22, 2018  1:31pm

Historic (mis)uses of the Green:

Marketplace (this was the common name, before the ‘Green’)
Worship, Town Meetings, and Public Events (ongoing)
Military Excercise
Jail and Courthouse
School
State House
Watch Tower
Town Drummer
Public punishment of criminals
Selling slaves (until c. 1820)
Grazing for domesticated animals
Ice Skating
War Memorial
Burial Grounds

Defeated Proposals:
Underground parking
Statue of JFK


Other facts:
Current assessed value =  $15M (most valuable property in the city)

posted by: JCFremont on March 22, 2018  4:30pm

Giving each homeless a home is cheaper. Sure, will the house keep itself or have you included the same city union wages the taxpayers will end up with when as history tells us this home will fall in disrepair. Putting a price value on The Green is rather pointless. It’s value is 15m only if the city can sell it at that price and that the person who buys it has the right to do as he pleases with it. The property across Union Station is valuable if it can be developed into something better. True if the train station hadn’t been refurbished the area became more valuable but could the landlord take advantage of its new prosperity?

posted by: 1644 on March 22, 2018  5:05pm

The underlying question is, “What do we do with the detritus of our society?”  The city seems engaged in a game of “whack-a-mole”, chasing them out from wooded thickets to underpasses, then to the Green.  Now where?  Between Two Rocks says that New York dumped its homeless into the Hudson, but New Haven Harbor lacks the strong currents and direct ocean access of the Hudson,  so that solution wouldn’t work: Lazurus-like, they would wash back-up to our beach becoming the teeming refuse of our own shore.  The Green being a colonial relic, what with its proprietors and all, perhaps those from out of town could be “warned”, i.e. beaten with sticks, until such time as they left New Haven limits.  The Green itself, could be, like Halifax’s Public Garden, fenced and locked at night,  but the derelicts would just move elsewhere, likely still in the city.  Absent some form of forced incarceration or residential institutionalization, I just don’t see a solution.  New Haven residents don’t wanted them incarcerated, but don’t want to live among them either.

posted by: __quinnchionn__ on March 22, 2018  10:44pm

There needs to be more cops in general in New Haven. I honestly believe that part of the problem is that the city does not have enough police officers. If there’s a lacking amount of law enforcement in a big city or in a large town then of course the crime rate will continue to be high. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to know that…..

posted by: Colin Ryan on March 22, 2018  11:58pm

quinnchionn - We already have a large number of officers per capita compared to the rest of the country: http://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/police-officers-per-capita-rates-employment-for-city-departments.html

It’s also not clear cut that more police = less crime. Here’s some old data: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-petro/bringing-crime-under-cont_b_527213.html

A single new officer costs the city at least $68,000 annually plus pension, overtime, etc.

posted by: 1644 on March 23, 2018  6:39am

quinn:  Opin offers ways to ameliorate the immediate problem, such as in-home drug treatment, but overall the problem is that a number of people not only have no home, but have mental illness and or substance abuse problems that subsume all other needs in their lives.  NHI’s's story of Wendy’s efforts to save her friend MC illustrated the problem.  In theory, MC wanted a place to live, medical care, etc., but in practice the things needed to get them were subordinated by his quest for the next beer.  MC, at least, had a small pension, but many folks have no or insufficient legal income to support their addictions.  The result is they resort to larceny, often combined with burglary, and sometimes robbery.  We could have a thousand police on the Green giving tickets and making arrests, but so long as we have a policy, endorsed by the people of New Haven, of not incarcerating non-violent,  low-level offenders,  they ware simply be released back to the Green.  A lot of folks advocate “treatment”, but as the APT cards demonstrate, this fails more often than it succeeds, especially in a voluntary setting.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on March 23, 2018  7:24am

I had a long conversation yesterday with one of the Proprietors regarding this thread. They have a fundamentally different vision for the Green than many of the commentators. Like Colin, I would like them to take the plastic cover off the couch. But the Proprietors own the Green and have other plans (some of which, such as improving lighting, we can all agree on). Moreover, the city is in no position to take the Upper Green by eminent domain so that it can be developed.

The bus system can be modified to reduce its impact on the Green. Doug Hausladen has assured me that Elm Street and perhaps Church Street will be converted to two-way traffic in my lifetime. This will make it easier for bus riders to transfer and have environmental benefits. It is also possible to create secondary hubs. But half of the city’s jobs and most of its attractions are within walking distance of the Green. You cannot remove the stops on the Green without significantly inconveniencing the riders. This would prompt a complaint under Title VI of the Civil Rights, which prohibits transit agencies from taking steps that disproportionately impact POC.

posted by: robn on March 23, 2018  8:29am

KM,

Union Station to the center of the green is about a 15 min walk. Hardly a Title 6 violation, especially when one considers that it puts riders at the hub of another major transportation network. You could probably shave a few minutes off of that time by putting a bus depot at the bottom of the ill-fated second station parking garage we’ve all been chattering about for years.

posted by: opin1 on March 23, 2018  10:03am

@KM - they could still have bus stops at and near the Green for people who worked there, without using it as a hub. People that work there could still easily get to work.

cordalie makes a great point.. there are different populations hanging out on the Green and there should be different solutions to each. You have the homeless, many of whom police know by name. You have the drug addicts coming to New Haven for treatments. You have drug dealers who go there to pray upon the addicts. You have some general trouble makers who are attracted to the area because of its generally lawless atmosphere. Etc.

posted by: Kevin McCarthy on March 23, 2018  9:33pm

Robn, a bus station at Union Station would be a wonderful thing. But the state has said it won’t pay for a bus station and the city is in no position to pay for one. An additional 15 minute walk may not seem like a big deal for you, but if you’re traveling with kids or have limited mobility, it is (particularly in nasty weather, which happens occasionally here),  Even for people commuting to their jobs, adding a half hour or more to the work day is not trivial.  A Title VI complaint might well be rejected. But such complaints are frequently filed in connection with proposed service changes. At a minimum, a complaint would slow down any change in where the hub is located.

Opin1, many riders’ destinations are downtown. Which existing routes, in your opinion, should not stop on or near the Green? (There is interest in new cross-town routes, but that is a separate issue.) If most or all of the existing routes continue to stop on or near the Green, it will continue to function as a hub. Finally, you and Cordalie are right about the diversity of folks on the Green, many of whom I serve at the Sunrise Cafe. But the populations you cite overlap. Some of the homeless are troublemakers, while others don’t bother anyone.

posted by: robn on March 24, 2018  5:49am

KM

I’ve heard these hyperbolic arguments before (what if your dragging two kids around) (an extra 15 minutes to get to work) and they don’t really hold water.  Firstly, there would still be is stops downtown for workers in the immediate vicinity. Secondly, people don’t bring kids to work so if you’ve got them and are transferring (what people do at a hub) it would be much more preferable to be under cover and not to have to jump out into car traffic (as happens every 10 seconds on temple street) and, weaving through dangerous traffic with said kids, jog over to a bus that’s about to leave.

posted by: opin1 on March 24, 2018  3:32pm

@KM “But the state has said it won’t pay for a bus station and the city is in no position to pay for one”. 

- I don’t think it has to be very expensive. Just need a parking lot that has room for 10-12 buses at a time, and a small building - or space in an existing larger building - with restrooms. Any building would provide more shelter than what’s currently offered on the Green. It doesn’t have to be a large elaborate building like Union Station. Just a waiting room with benches/chairs, and bathrooms. I’m no expert on what buildings and lots are available near downtown/train, but lets say hypothetically the city could arrange a deal with Yale to use part of the old Nursing School building - you’d only need a small part of that building plus its parking lot. (if not that building then any other building/parking lot in that area where a deal could be worked out).

Or how about the secondary lot at Ikea (across from the post office). Ikea customers rarely overflow into that. Then they could use the first floor of the Pirelli building as shelter. Or build a small building there. These are just off the top of my head, I think you get the picture.. you need a decent sized parking lot for buses to pull into, and a small building.

posted by: opin1 on March 24, 2018  3:45pm

@KM “Which existing routes, in your opinion, should not stop on or near the Green?”

- Redesigning the bus routes is more complex than I have space for here and I’m not an expert. But just a hypothetical example:

Let’s say there’s a route (A) that runs from Westville to the Green. And there’s a route (B) that runs from the Green to West Haven. Passenger Maria wants to go from Westville to West Haven, so she takes the A to the Green, waits for her transfer, then takes the B from the Green to West Haven. Passenger Bob lives in Westville and works downtown and he also takes the A to work.

Now lets say they created a new hub on a parking lot near the train station. The A route can run from Westville to the new hub, hitting all the existing stops along the way, including the Green. Bob still takes the A from Westville to the Green. Maria now takes the A from Westville to the new hub, waits for her transfer, then takes the B from the new hub to West Haven.

What are the benefits of this? 
1. Maria stays warm and dry during her transfer, has coffee at DD kiosk and uses the bathroom, thus arriving in West Haven in a much better mood.
2. Since the B route starts from the new hub instead of the Green, there is one less bus idling on the Green.
3. Passengers arriving to NH by train have a shorter walk to the bus hub.
4. If the new hub was closer to highway on/off ramps that would also make the system more efficient overall (less buses putzing through the heart of downtown).

Of course studies would need to be done and a lot of work would go into determining the optimal routes, but all I’m saying is that having a proper hub would be an improvement from using the Green because a) the buses make the Green less enjoyable and b) the Green provides no indoor space or bathrooms for riders waiting for transfers. c) a hub near train would be an added bonus.

Having direct routes (bypassing the hub) should of course also be considered based on demand.