One of the keys to New Haven’s future is better transit access both within the city and to other parts of the region. The city has major plans to invest in Union Station—renovating the historic station building, providing better passenger amenities, and creating parking facilities that better fit a downtown railway station. The station will also be better connected to both the Hill and downtown with more active, pedestrian-friendly streets and better bus access. Also underway are an ambitious development plan for 3,400 homes and 3,000 jobs, a new Union Square Park, and the transformation of Route 34, a major highway bisecting the city, into a boulevard with more space for apartment and office buildings.
The recommendations in the Fourth Regional Plan would accelerate New Haven’s role as a major transit hub for the state and the region with upgraded commuter, regional, and high-speed rail service along the New Haven Line. Improved services would allow for faster regional travel between New Haven and New York City; more frequent commuter service and increased capacity between New Haven and other Connecticut cities, including Stamford and Bridgeport; and higher-speed service between New York City and Boston.
The Fourth Plan’s recommendations also detail how cities should plan to take advantage of ride-hailing services and ultimately, shared, driverless vehicles. With the right regulatory structures, these services could improve access to Union Station and the station area itself, as demand for nearby parking declines and more space becomes available for homes, restaurants, offices, and parks.
New Haven should continue to develop more complete, mixed-income neighborhoods to promote equitable job access and economic growth. New development should incorporate green infrastructure to mitigate rising temperatures and reduce flooding caused by climate change. A state adaptation fund overseen by a Regional Coastal Commission could help accelerate these and other climate-adaptation projects and help provide financing.