Friday, June 6, 2008

Community coalition presses for removal of Route 34

Please see DesignNewHaven for additional background and commentary on the letter posted below.  

May 27, 2008

Governor M. Jodi Rell

Office of the Governor, State Capitol, 210 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106

RE: Removal of Route 34 in New Haven

Dear Governor Rell:

We write today as a broad coalition of community leaders, non-profit policy organizations, businesses and local elected officials to strongly urge you to support the removal of New Haven’s Route 34 connector.

Route 34, a six lane highway which runs from I-95 to the Air Rights Garage, bisects the City of New Haven, inhibiting its growth and revitalization and creating a dangerous situation for pedestrians. The highway is underused and even during rush hours does not experience significant traffic. The City of New Haven has an ambitious vision to remove the highway, recreate the street grid, and develop housing, parks, and offices in the highway’s place. We support the vision, and write to ask you to take a leadership role in helping the City and community bring the project to fruition.

There is substantial public support for the proposal. Last month the Tri-State Transportation Campaign hosted a public event in support of highway’s removal. The event, headlined by John Norquist, President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism and former Mayor of Milwaukee, was attended by over 125 community members, elected officials and activists. During his tenure as Mayor, Mr. Norquist oversaw a similar project to remove the Park East Freeway, a project which has created millions of dollars in downtown investment.

The removal of Route 34 fits seamlessly into your efforts for more responsible growth and transit oriented development throughout Connecticut. The more vibrant and livable our urban centers, the more likely new and current residents will choose to reside in those areas. And by focusing growth on our cities, we are more likely to protect existing open space in rural areas.
We ask that you support the removal of Route 34, and dedicate state support towards implementing the community's plan.

Sincerely, (in alphabetical order)
Mark Abraham, Member, Elm City Cycling, Robert Alpern, Dean, Yale School of Medicine, Tokunbo Anifalaje, West River, New Haven, Resident, Nate Bixby, President, Network for a Sustainable New Haven, Lynne Bonnett, Chairwoman, New Haven Environmental Network, Frances T. Clark, Alderwoman, Ward 7, New Haven, Reverend Kevin G. Ewing, President, West River Neighborhood Services Corp., Anstress Farwell, Executive Director, New Haven Urban Design League, Norman Garrick, Ph. D, Associate Professor and Director, Connecticut Transportation Institute, UCONN-School of Engineering, Florita Gillespie, Chairperson, Dwight Community Management Team, Scott C. Healy, Executive Director, Town Green Special Services District, David Kooris, Director, Connecticut Office, Regional Plan Association, Philip Langdon, President, Ronan-Edgehill Neighborhood Assoc., Robert Orr, Partner, Robert Orr & Associates LLC, Christopher Ozyck, Greenway and Community Advocate, Jonathan Romanyshyn, Member, Yale Medical Area Traffic Safety Group, Kate Slevin, Executive Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Don Strait, Executive Director, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, Erin Sturgis-Pascale, Alderwoman, Ward 14, New Haven, Carter Winstanley, Partner, Winstanley Enterprises, LLC
Cc: ConnDOT Commissioner Joseph F. Marie, ConnDOT Deputy Commissioner Albert Martin, State Senator Toni Harp, State Senator Martin Looney, State Representative Patricia Dillon, State Representative Toni Edmonds Walker, State Representative William R. Dyson, State Representative Juan Candelaria, State Representative Cameron Staples, State Representative Robert Megna

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