You Call This A 21st Century Parking Plan?

After more than a decade of pleading, New Haven convinced the state to draw up plans for a second parking garage at Union Station — then sent the plans back.

Some 50 New Haveners turned out to a public hearing Monday night to tell the state it should rework its initial plans for a $40-$60 million, 1,000-space, seven-level garage planned for a current 260-space surface lot next to a perpetually full existing garage.

Speakers called for the new garage to include better bike storage facilities, first-floor retail, preservation of trees, a pedestrian bridge to Long Wharf, and a depot to replace the Green as the main switching point for CT Transit buses.

The state’s proposal comes amid increase in ridership and a decrease in number of parking facilities downtown. The current garage at the train station fills up fast on weekday mornings. The planned new garage would be connected to the existing one through driveways and pedestrian sidewalks. Together, the two would accommodate accommodate 1,800 vehicles.

Despite its attempt at addressing the shortage of parking space at the city’s transit hub, the proposal drew criticism Monday night for not fully meeting the city’s needs. At a public hearing held Monday night, over 15 speakers — from city officials to cyclists to neighbors — raised concerns. Representatives from Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) said they will incorporate the public input into the final plan, planned for completion by March 2017. Construction is scheduled to take place from spring 2017 through end of 2018.

“I am a cyclist. First and foremost, I use my feet; I use my two wheels whenever I can,” resident Victorya McEvoy said of the lack of bike parking space in the plan. “I am experiencing a little déjà vu with this hearing from 20 years ago when I went from hearing after hearing after hearing that said we needed more space for bicycles on the train.”

Qi Xu Photo Jeffery Parker, project manager at CHA Consulting, presented the layout of the new garage and its impact on transportation. He acknowledged that under the current design, the existing sheltered bike storage area at Union Station will be moved. The state has identified several potential bicycle parking spots, such as the area between two garages or an enclosed space within existing garage, but nothing is set in stone. 

McEvoy’s remarks echoed the concerns harbored by several cyclists present at the hearing. Krysia Solheim supported her argument with statistics: Gas from vehicles accounts for around 40 percent of greenhouse emission in Connecticut; 30 percent of New Haven residents do not own a car. She urged the state to take into consideration these social, environmental factors.

“You are proposing that millions of dollars be spent on infrastructure that’s going to last for the next 50 years,” Solheim said, “But [this design is] basically planning for the past 50 years … instead of planning for the future 50 years that really prioritizes non-motorized transportation.”

In addition to letting down bicyclists, the proposal fails to provide better bus service to connect train commuters to downtown New Haven, said city transit chief Douglas Hausladen. Current J line and private shuttles are insufficient; the city has been pushing for a bus depot at Union Station. The current garage plan does not include a bus depot, just a sheltered bus drop-off point in front.

Hausladen also expressed concern about increase in congestion as a result of the new garge. The state proposed adjusting timing of signals to mitigate the adverse impact, but Hausladen doubted it would work in reality, in light of heavy traffic during rush hour. He described the mitigating strategy as a “good checkbox” to put on state document.

Matthew Nemerson, the city’s economic development administrator, urged the state to “fit the piece into the complex puzzle” and blend the proposed garage with existing Hill-to-Downtown Community Plan and Union Station Transit-Oriented Development plan. Specifically, Nemerson said the city is about to embark on development projects that might involve high-rises and offices on the other side of the track, and recommends the state extend the pedestrian bridge to connect to Long Wharf.

“Let’s do that openly and together, planning as partners and not reacting back and forth,” Nemerson said. Union Station and the garage are state-owned property.

On behalf of Mayor Toni Harp, Deputy Economic Development Director Stephen Fontana expressed the city’s support for addition parking facilities, but emphasized the need for an extended pedestrian bridge and bus depot. Hartford, Bridgeport and Stamford all have interlocking railroad and bus facilities, he noted.

In his presentation, Parker said the new garage will include brick walls that are similar in color to the train station, as well as the station’s arching pattern.

Problems associated with sustainability were also brought up at the hearing. City Engineer Giovanni Zinn said the state hasn’t given in-depth consideration for the 100-year floodplain problem in the area. He also recommended the state to look into improving lighting for walkways from the train station to downtown. The current plan considers improved lighting only in front of the two garages along Union Avenue.

Another concern raised was the omission of first-floor retail in the proposal. A representative from the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce said for the past decade, the chamber has regarded the garage project as one of its top two priorities for business expansion.

James Fallon, the DOT’s manager of facilities and transit, said the retail plan has never been brought up during planning discussions, because the goal was to add more parking space. Fallon added that the suggestion, along with others put forth at the Monday hearing, will be taken in to consideration as the state makes adjustment to current proposal.

Fallon did not comment on specific changes, but said the hearing has served its purpose of soliciting feedback from the public.

The DOT will accept public comment through June 20. (Email comments here.) Several audience members who spoke also asked the department to extend the open comment window, as they first heard of the proposal only a few days ago. Fallon said the team will review this request.

Nemerson said many issues raised at the hearing are not new — they were mentioned in the garage design in Goody Clancy project (a collaboration between the city and state) and in ongoing conversations.

“This is one of the most important sites in the city that we think is one of the engines for job creation and growth for the state. We just don’t want to make any mistake that can be easily avoided by talking more and planning better,” Nemerson said. “Sometimes because people have so many things [to do], what we would like to be a dialogue in a planning session becomes a series of very eloquent monologues.”

Anstress Farwell of the Urban Design League submitted this petition for intervenor status in the case, detailing numerous objections.

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posted by: Bradley on June 7, 2016  7:10am

Much of the article discusses arguments for making the garage more bike-friendly, which I support as a cyclist. But the larger issue is how to maximize Union Station’s benefits for all users, within fiscal and other constraints. It may not be possible, given fiscal realities, to build a full-blown bus transfer station at the garage. But the design should make it as easy as possible to use the bus to get to and from the station and permit bus transfers at the station. It should also be possible (and inexpensive) to include an information system that would allow people driving to the garage to find out, on-line and in real time, how many parking spaces are available. Finally, many people already walk to the station even though the routes are unattractive. The garage design should encourage this, particularly in light of the LiveWorkPlay development and the redevelopment of Church Street South.

posted by: William Kurtz on June 7, 2016  7:15am

It was very encouraging to see that 100% of the public comment last evening stressed the need for a comprehensive project that didn’t just add parking spaces at the expense of area residents including the thirty-or-so percent of city residents who don’t own cars or drive.

Every one of the speakers last night wanted cleaner air, lower traffic volumes, better support for mass transit and improved bike and pedestrian access to Union Station.

It was also encouraging to see so many city officials come out and speak in favor of a better plan, including Mr. Nemerson, Mr. Fontana, Mr. Hausladen, Mr. Zinn and Lt. Brown of the NHPD.

posted by: Renewhavener on June 7, 2016  7:31am

“Specifically, Nemerson said the city is about to embark on development projects that might involve high-rises and offices on the other side of the track.”  At long wharf of CSS Matt?

“You are proposing that millions of dollars be spent on infrastructure that’s going to last for the next 50 years,” Solheim said, “But [this design is] basically planning for the past 50 years … instead of planning for the future 50 years that really prioritizes non-motorized transportation.”

Would beg to differ.  There is a three-year waiting list for a garage spot.  This is a plan for right now.

@QX: “Hartford, Bridgeport and Stanford all have interlocking railroad and bus facilities”, it is Stamford. Also: “Nemerson said many issues raised at the hearing are not new — they were mentioned in the garage design in Good Clancy project (a collaboration between the city and state) and in ongoing conversations.” It’s Goody Clancy, not Good Clancy: http://www.goodyclancy.com/.  Also: Your link to the ConnDot plan comments is a circular link back to the article.  Not that helpful.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on June 7, 2016  9:30am

I think a lot of people are missing the point here. The entire purpose of this garage is to LOWER the footprint of cars. Car drivers are using the train to drive LESS. The entire purpose of this design is to be car-centric, but increase the overall ridership of trains and lower our dependence on cars. We’re not going to do that by putting bikes first.

I love bikes. I bike everywhere and barely every drive. And we absolutely need bike parking at the station, and I love the idea of a pedestrian bridge to Long Wharf (though it seems pie in the sky to me), but fundamentally, this has to be about getting people out of the cars and onto trains, and the way to do that is to make it easier for cars to park here, period.

Union Station is used by more than just New Haven residents. It’s the gateway to NYC for many CT drivers, and we can’t just abandon them because WE don’t drive cars. Because if we do, then they’re just going to drive to NYC, and we’ve cut off our nose to spite our face.

posted by: ILivehere on June 7, 2016  10:25am

@Renewhavener there is a 3 year wait list because the price is half what it cost to park in any other garage in this city. In addition there are plenty of spots in over flow lots like the coliseum site and temple garage

@Josh Levinson
Who cares about suburbanites driving into town to park and then leave. Let them do that in West Haven or as you say drive to NY. There is NO economic benefit to New Haven from people dropping off their cars for the day in our city.

We desperately need a bus transfer station and this is going to be our only shot at getting one. Not only is it criminal the way we force bus riders to stand out side in the cold and climb over mountains of snow but there is no where for them go to the bathroom resulting in mass public urination.

The city has also suffered greatly in an economic sense from all the bus stops lining Church and Chapel. Look at the quality of stores on church st between George and Chapel or Chapel between Temple and State. If the bus stops were removed these areas would be identical to Temple, College, and Chapel west of College st.

posted by: William Kurtz on June 7, 2016  10:33am

Josh Levinson wrote, “The entire purpose of this garage is to LOWER the footprint of cars. Car drivers are using the train to drive LESS.”

The problem, though, is that the garage is just shifting the consequences of the driving footprint from I-95 to a couple of blocks in downtown New Haven. One of the most persuasive speakers last night was a resident of Liberty St. who was very concerned about the air quality in the neighborhood and how the increase of 760 parking spaces, and the extra traffic that would invite to the area, would make the problems (asthma, for example, and COPD among elderly residents) worse.

posted by: jdossgollin on June 7, 2016  10:37am

I really like most of the plan and props to everyone who’s pushing for something that will serve New Haven in 2025 and 2035 and not just 2016. However, one thing to bring up is the bus depot.

I remember back in the last round of mayoral elections one point that some people (I remember Henry Fernandez, but I’m sure there were others) made repeatedly is that the upscaling of downtown is acceptable as long as downtown is a place for everyone. I remember spending a lot of time on the Green when I was in high school and taking the bus everywhere. Downtown at the moment is a place where everyone really comes together and a lot of that is because of the bus system—most people who don’t have a lot of money don’t have a lot of reason to be downtown otherwise, unless it’s to work. I worry that moving the bus depot away from the Green will

1) move these people away from the Green, so that it stops “belonging” to them in some sense; and
2) reduce the incentive to keep any affordable stores downtown, since the people who might shop at them will not be there

Of course, I’ve also pushed for a long time to fix the public transport system so that people can get to work reliably, and on time, without having to buy a car for each adult in the family and maybe I want to have my cake and eat it too. But I hope people will think hard before what could effectively mean moving most of the poorest people out of downtown

posted by: UrbanPlanner on June 7, 2016  11:05am

I bike to Union Station and really wish cyclists had priority parking. The walk from parking to hopping a train should always be shorter for cyclists than motorists for a few reasons:

1) Encourage more people to use a bike which is better, cheaper, healthier for everyone
2) It is much more efficient: 20 bikes can be parked in the same square footage as 1 car, meaning that 1 space serves 20 people instead of 1 car.
3) It signals to everyone, especially motorists, that there are rewards for taking up biking - if there are more carrots for cyclists the amount of cyclists will grow. Putting a bike storage site on the far side of a garage sends all the wrong signals.
4) Many people in New Haven opt to bike because it can be faster door to door travel time than driving or taking a cab/uber - if bike parking does not support this as well, it discourages cycling.

In addition, I think it would be tremendous if there was a real, isolated bike lane from the mechanic st. dog park-triangle down state street to union station, at which point there was also a bridge over to long wharf. It would be great if it all tied together with Farmington Canal trail and reconnected the waterfront… That kind of infrastructure investment is what enables future transient-oriented development and enables people to forgo single occupancy vehicle usage. Shit we might even get tourists to come spend some $$.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on June 7, 2016  11:10am

It’s time to install a shot spotter in front of Union Station. With little space to drop off or wait for pick ups, it is increasingly the scene of frustration, outrage and dangerous moves. Out right violence cannot be far away.
The garage is its own issue.
What is being done to accommodate short term needs right now?

posted by: anonymous on June 7, 2016  11:21am

This is like something from 1957, not 2017.

A garage like this might be appropriate on a soulless rural commuter campus like UConn, but has no place in the middle of one of the 3 or 4 walkable CT cities that are almost single-handedly responsible for keeping Connecticut’s economy afloat. 

DOT should be ashamed of themselves.

posted by: Pedro Soto on June 7, 2016  11:40am

This is such a shortsighted plan that I don’t even know where to begin. I rarely say this of development projects, but New Haven as a city would be better served to NOT have this garage built at all, until it’s actually built with an eye for New Haven.

Why should we be happy that 750 suburban commuters will now be able to come to the city, park, leave the city by train and then return only to go straight home?  How does that make New Haven any more desirable of a destination?

In order for Union station to positively serve the city, This area needs to be developed so that people can live near the station and then use it to get to New York or other places of employment.  Otherwise there is zero benefit to the city other than pollution.

The Goody Clancy plan was a great place to start, and would have turned Union Station into a mini Grand Central type destination, along with development right at and around the station, both residential and office space, plus a garage behind it. That is what we should be pushing for. Not a garage for suburbanites.

posted by: Renewhavener on June 7, 2016  12:29pm

@ILH, “@Renewhavener there is a 3 year wait list because the price is half what it cost to park in any other garage in this city. In addition there are plenty of spots in over flow lots like the coliseum site and temple garage.”

It’s not half: http://nhparking.com/SEARCH.aspx  Begs the question though, why are the monthly card holders being subsidized to this degree, or why NHPD has so many reserved spaces there or why half the ground level is set aside for non-customers.

Neither Coliseum or Temple is as convenient to the station as what is proposed.  If it is not on premises or abutting it is non-optimal.  No reason to add an ‘intermediate mile’ when ‘last mile’ considerations already discourage mass transit use.

@William Kurtz, “The problem, though, is that the garage is just shifting the consequences of the driving footprint from I-95 to a couple of blocks in downtown New Haven…”, So the argument is we are supposed to only do something if anyone with a stake is insulated from whatever cost impact may or may not be imposed upon them? 

Think by definition there are certain costs and risks associated with living in a city which, when we choose to accept them, are off set by certain benefits and conveniences. If the ‘health’ cost or risk is too high that it outweighs the benefit and convenience, there are other options available.

posted by: Bradley on June 7, 2016  12:30pm

Renewhavener and Josh, I don’t think anyone is arguing against the garage itself - there is a real need for more parking at Union Station. But it is much easier and cheaper to provide infrastructure for bike and bus users now, rather than waiting.

Ilivehere, part of the rationale for retail at Union Station is to capture some of the economic value of “evil” suburbanites who park at the station. More seriously, even though I live in NH, suburbanites do pay state taxes, which will underwrite the garage expansion and other improvements to the station.

Dwightstreeter, a 6/2 NHI story notes that the shotspotter coverage area has just been expanded to include the area you describe (although the map showing this is orientated oddly).

While this is unrelated to the garage proposal, I do wish that the powers that be would do a better job publicizing the fact that you can already take Shore Line East trains for free between State Street and Union stations. For people living in or near downtown, this can reduce travel times to Union Station. Hopefully, the New Haven-Springfield trains will also provide fare-free service between the stations once they start running.

posted by: ILivehere on June 7, 2016  1:02pm

@Renewhavener
Who cares if people have to walk a few blocks to get to the train station. In NY you’d be ecstatic to park that close to your destination and that’s where these parkers are going.
In addition it makes no sense for suburbanites to drive into a city to park and ride to a different city. Build a 5000 space garaged in West Haven, Milford or some other town and let them park there. They do us no good here and we have much better uses and a real need for the property that could benefit our residence. We should be charging 3 times as much to park at our train station so that we can incentivize people to park anywhere else.

posted by: theNEWnewhaven on June 7, 2016  1:55pm

UrbanPlanner - I 100% agree with you on the placement of bikes at Union Station!

As for State Street… I may be a little less into that as that street has A LOT of traffic and the shops and restaurants of upper State Street RELY on the parking of that street as all the off streets are zoned for residential (with permit) parking. Taking away a row of parking will really hurt the businesses that are just getting on their feet since the road opened up again.

If it DOES happen, we need to make sure to incorporate Fair Haven (near the DISTRICT) into the planning. Maybe we can connect the District to East Street and have East Street become the main Bike Highway of this area, much like the proposed Edgewood Ave option? 
That would definitely help the Mill River district with redevelopment!

Regardless, A biking trail connecting Long Wharf, the Farmington Canal, and onward is IDEAL! I heard something about that plan a while back, it may already be in planning?

Also, I noted that they talked about Long Wharf getting housing? Is that in addiction to the CSS redevelopment?

posted by: robn on June 7, 2016  2:32pm

Bad design.
1) Lose the glued on architecture.

2) Cyclists who buy train tickets create minimal infrastructure costs relative to their ticket purchase. Get your head out of your keister MTA!

3) There should be city wide live parking data as Bradley suggested. The data exists already at the turnstiles; it just needs to be ported into a friendly format.

4) No retail ideas? Really? Mr Potato Head could run a wildly successful coffee shop, dry cleaner or car detailer out of the base of this facility.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on June 7, 2016  2:46pm

Robn is right. Dunkin Donuts needs a bigger space.

posted by: BetweenTwoRocks on June 7, 2016  3:01pm

I’m amazed at some of the selfishness here. I love New Haven as much as the next person (moreso, probably), but the idea that if it doesn’t benefit New Haven, that we shouldn’t bother is ridiculous. The point is building a better WORLD. Train travel reduces overall car use, period. Even if suburbanites never bother spending a dime in New Haven and simply park and take the train to work, it’s STILL a good thing for the state. It’s less spending on I-95 upkeep and maintenance, expansion of roads, etc. New Haven isn’t just an isolated city. It’s part of the overall state.

I don’t know much about the whole bus transfer station idea or its merits (and haven’t seen anybody post anything about the proposal), but the idea that all these car drivers should be punished for not living in New Haven and/or riding bicycles seems insane to me. They’re already using public transportation. They’re already TRYING to do good. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater because they don’t meet our No Carbon Emissions Purity Test.

posted by: anonymous on June 7, 2016  3:02pm

Will this project include a protected “class A” type cycle track leading from downtown (e.g.,Farmington canal greenway at Water Street and/or the bike lanes on Church) over to Union Station? 

It’s a gap of cycling infrastructure of just 2-3 city blocks, but it’s one of the most important missing transportation connections in the entire state.

If it is being left it out of this project, then that is a major oversight.

posted by: Bradley on June 7, 2016  3:34pm

It makes sense to have a bus transfer facility at Union Station. But using it to replace the Green as the central transfer node risks a lawsuit under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as Doug Hausladen knows. The move would disproportionately harm black and Hispanic bus riders and would generally lengthen trips, particularly those that require transfers.

posted by: Stylo on June 7, 2016  3:55pm

How about the city worries first about filling all the vacant first floor retail on the new apartment projects before conjuring up some fairy tale new urbanism garage? If the parking need is there, fill it. You can focus on mixed use across the street. Without a revival there, there is no point in retail.

posted by: Cove'd on June 7, 2016  3:56pm

Some Thoughts: 

-Every new parking space could equate to shifting or adding one new car to the Union Station area Mon-Sat. 

-Any plan here desperately needs to be designed to be as friendly as possible to pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users. 

-Union Station should really be a large train/bus transfer hub, as others have commented.  Anyone in the New Haven area should be able to easily take a bus directly to/from the station.  Thus, CTDOT/CT-Transit really needs to review the current system of bus routes in the New Haven area. 

-Whatever is done with this should dovetail with the Church St South TOD redevelopment. 

-Anyone from outside of town who wants to take the train into NYC should be able to do so from other train stations east (SLE) or north (future Hartford Line) of NHV - and not necessarily feel inclined to drive to New Haven, further congest the already congested highways and roads, in order to park at Union Sta.  Perhaps what is needed is more parking at the other stations outside of town and/or better local transit in those towns.

posted by: Anstress Farwell on June 7, 2016  4:09pm

It’s time for some higher-level, coordinated thinking here. Consider all the systems which are failing in this area:
- storm water controls,
- the lack of public transit at our train station,
- a degraded street grid,
- no planning for air quality improvements.

And consider all the major projects slated to move forward:
- rebuilding Church Street South,
- moving the Police Station,
- building-out the Medical Area District and the rest of the Hill to Downtown plan including a new public park near Union Station,
- the Live Work Learn Play project on the 10th square,
- next phases of the rebuilding of the Rt.34 highway (TIGER 8),
- bringing the Hartford Rail Line to New Haven, and
- possibly rebuilding State Street.

We need to find ways to fund important public infrastructure improvements before, or in tandem with, these projects going into the ground. Of the many faults with the garage proposed by the State, it simply puts more demand on failing storm water systems, and roadways, and adds to air pollution. All these costs would be born by New Haven.

Here’s something to consider. Perhaps the State could use a temporary garage structure for the next few years, until a comprehensive plan for funding and rebuilding essential infrastructure is established. Demountable garages can be leased for various terms (5 to 20 years):
https://www.galvanizeit.org/project-gallery/gallery/hambro-portable-parking-structure1
http://morepark.com

When it is time to build a project on the garage site, the State needs to look at truly sustainable design to fit this urban setting. A building that can be converted to other uses as transit systems improve, and suburban towns handle most of their own parking demand:
Replacing Parking with People: The Next Wave of Adaptive Reuse
November 14, 2013 - The Atlantic Cities
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/design/2013/11/its-time-design-parking-garages-car-less-future/7583/

posted by: ILivehere on June 7, 2016  4:12pm

@Bradley
That’s ridiculous! adding a transfer station would help would be a huge benefit to bus riders giving them access to bathrooms, heat, food and other services as well as eliminate the need to walk across town to get to alternate bus routes. Additionally it wouldn’t violate title VI because bus stops would not be eliminated it would simply establish a common juncture point for a lines and people looking to transfer.

@Josh Levinson
If we don’t fight for benefits to New Haven at every turn the city will be in huge trouble. 60% of our land is non-taxed, PILOT payments are going to disappear, our mill rate is double the suburbs, our schools are bottom of the barrel, and while there is plenty of building going on its all rental because everyone wants the ability to escape when they need to send there kids to school. New Haven is in a lot of trouble and we need to make it a world class place to live now or our taxes will be so out of control everyone who can will run for the shoreline.

posted by: UrbanPlanner on June 7, 2016  4:14pm

“replace the Green as the central transfer node risks a lawsuit under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as Doug Hausladen knows. The move would disproportionately harm black and Hispanic bus riders and would generally lengthen trips, particularly those that require transfers.”

@Bradley….it is exactly this sort of incorrect or misguided assumption that stops all progress and sends politicians into hiding.

There is nothing efficient, or user friendly, about using a town’s central green as a bus station. Show me any other city that does this successfully.

For anyone that does not either live within walking distance to the green, or work within walking distance to the green, it does not matter at all where their transfer occurs. It would be significantly better for all bus riders if they could use a bus system that had a transfer station that enabled quicker pick-up & drop off without having to sit in busy downtown city traffic. I’d argue it is much more efficient to send all 14+ bus lines to converge somewhere more easily accessible and then send 1 bus around downtown, likely just using the downtown commuter loop.

It would also help if such a bus stop or station provided basic shelter, heat, bathrooms, accessible parking, lighting, real-time information, entertainment/news, internet…. all things currently lacking at the green.

Building an actual transfer station solves all these problems and more while IMPROVING the experience for “black and Hispanic bus riders” and could SHORTEN rides, and improve efficiency for ANY user.

posted by: Bradley on June 7, 2016  6:56pm

ILiveHere and Urbanplanner, as I noted in my earlier post, I support developing a bus transfer facility at Union Station, which would provide the benefits that ILiveHere notes. Simply adding this facility does not raise any Title VI concerns. 

But some people, including at least one city official, have proposed using such a facility instead of the Green as the central transfer point. This would raise Title VI concerns. For example, it would substantially lengthen the trip of someone going from Dixwell to Fair Haven or from Fair Haven to the Yale campus. I am willing to believe that the people who are proposing this move are not racist, but its disparate impact could support a Title VI complaint. When the idea of using Union Station as the central transfer point was last proposed, it engendered opposition from people who argued that it was designed to move people of color off of the Green.

posted by: robn on June 7, 2016  7:15pm

I call BS on the Tilte VI complaint. The purpose of a bus transfer is not to get people to a midpoint, but to transfer them from one bus to another and get them to their endpoint.

posted by: anonymous on June 7, 2016  7:20pm

Anstress is correct that, if the state is not simultaneously addressing at least some of the other underlying issues here, the garage basically represents the state dumping garbage on New Haven and expecting the city to pay to pick it up. 

Garage improvements are fine, but they need to be linked to the kinds of economic, safety, health, livability, and sustainable infrastructure improvements that would make the garage bearable over a 50-year period.

If the state adequately funded its cities - which bear the brunt of costs in general because they provide a disproportionate share of the jobs, facilities, and workers used by people in dozens of surrounding “bedroom” towns - then this would not be so much of a concern because New Haven would have an internal capacity to mitigate the negative effects of growth.

posted by: robn on June 7, 2016  9:55pm

ANONYMOUS,

Great summation.

posted by: William Kurtz on June 8, 2016  8:52am

Anonymous said basically what I think most of us are feeling:

Garage improvements are fine, but they need to be linked to the kinds of economic, safety, health, livability, and sustainable infrastructure improvements that would make the garage bearable over a 50-year period.

Yes, the station needs more parking but not only more parking.

posted by: Renewhavener on June 8, 2016  11:07am

@ILH, “Who cares if people have to walk a few blocks to get to the train station.” Um, the people doing the walking perhaps?  Many of whom are also New Haven residents in neighbors not convenient to the train station.  It is not about the walking btw, which is good for you, it’s about the time spent doing so and which moment in the journey they undertake it, beginning, middle or end.  The whole concept of “last-mile” as a disincentive for mass transit and a real factor that keeps people in their cars more often then not, is only exacerbated by the hassle of an intermediate inconvenience, or perceived intermediate inconvenience, on the part of that economic actor who already anticipates some level of inconvenience at the end of their journey.  Clearly thought this is beyond the comprehension or consideration of those among us who would rather navel measure and complain that actually work to create tangible progress.

“If we don’t fight for benefits to New Haven at every turn the city will be in huge trouble.”  You overstate the negative and amplify that exaggeration by ignoring the positive. Keep a perspective before you reflexively reach for the brass knuckles the moment someone, anyone, private, or public, walks into town with money to invest in a building.

posted by: Renewhavener on June 8, 2016  11:48am

@Anstress Farwell, At the highest level believe we need to be on guard in our ostensibly capitalist democracy that we not ignore the manifestly communist concept of “centralized planning” (and all the dangers that accompany it) by casually re-branding it as “higher-level, coordinated thinking”.

On a technical level, the garage examples you cite were for single-story prototypes, only 70 spaces in fact.  Unclear whether the capacities under discussion here are even feasible, and not to mention there would be even more cost to disassemble it.

@anonymous, “...if the state is not simultaneously addressing at least some of the other underlying issues here, the garage basically represents the state dumping garbage on New Haven and expecting the city to pay to pick it up.”  So commuters are analogous to garbage now?  Wow.  Alternatively, thought they might be considered in aggregate a productive population who has somewhere to be.  Also, wasn’t that the point of the meeting, to see how the State might affect something more positively?  You know if there was a more welcoming economic ecosystem here in CT/NH, some might instead have no need to travel to Stamford or points south, but alas…

Transportation infrastructure, and the seems that overlap the various forms of transportation, garages included, is near the top of a mountain of factors currently holding back Connecticut economically and by extension New Haven.  Put more effort into building capacity, we will all be better off.  Complain and delay and we will keep backsliding.  But, as we are already 50th out of 50, guess there is not to much farther to backslide to: http://mercatus.org/statefiscalrankings?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=press&utm_campaign=statefiscalrankings

posted by: ILivehere on June 8, 2016  12:07pm

@Renewhavener
I think you are missing that this is a 7 story garage and all that we are asking for is that the ground floor be used for things that enhance the city and property values rather then detract from them.

@Bradley .
Using this facility instead of the Green as the central transfer point would not violate title VI as long as the bus stops on the green still exist. It would only violate title VI if they were removed and that’s not the plan, though a study is in the works to make recommendations on reconfiguring the entire system.

posted by: Renewhavener on June 8, 2016  5:14pm

@ILH, “I think you are missing that this is a 7 story garage and all that we are asking for is that the ground floor be used for things that enhance the city and property values rather then detract from them.” Is a different ask than the article and comments imply.  Seems as though some hope to rub this project hard enough to produce a genie to grant their wishes. 

Did not attend this meeting, but do use the existing garage and train station periodically.  Think all would prefer the State address a larger priority set than storing transient vehicles, but we cannot, nor should we expect, to get it all.