Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Urban Network: Aldermen Seek Changes to Route 34

Please see today's reporting by Phil Langdon on the New Urban Network for an update on the Route 34 Resolution, which passed a Committee of the Board of Aldermen last month. An excerpt from Phil's report:

Among the changes sought by the aldermen are:
• Equal planning priority for pedestrian, bicycle, mass transit, and automobile traffic in the design;
• A pair of two-lane streets instead of two planned four-lane roads to carry much of the traffic that now uses the expressway;
• A maximum of three lanes where necessary (including turn lanes);
• Travel lanes only 10 feet, along with relatively tight corners, to calm traffic and minimize crossing distances for pedestrians;
• Separated bicycle facilities (cycletracks) adjacent to the two principal streets;
• Road design standards based on a target speed of no more than 25 mph;

Advocates for pedestrians, cyclists, and a less automobile-oriented design have been frustrated by the lack of cooperation from the mayor. The New Haven Safe Streets Coalition, which mobilized city residents to ask their representatives for a more pedestrian-oriented design, sent out a mass e-mail accusing the City of "trying to divide the community by spreading inaccurate information."

The Coalition said one letter from the City "claimed that widening highways like Route 34 can help reduce traffic within cities," when in fact the reverse is true. Another statement from the city claimed that intersections in the redesigned streets will be very similar to most intersections currently found in downtown New Haven, but cites what the Coalition says are "places that we know have been the scene of multiple fatalities and injuries in recent years, and that are not pleasant for young persons or the elderly to cross each day."

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