Route 8, in the Naugatuck Valley, is the main artery of a growth corridor anchored by two important regional centers: Bridgeport to the south and Waterbury to the north. Route 8 also links several other downtowns including Derby and Naugatuck.
The landscape along Route 8 varies enormously. It includes open space reserves like the Naugatuck State Forest, low- and medium-density single-family neighborhoods, shopping centers, and, significantly, industrial parks with advanced-manufacturing firms. Because the Naugatuck Valley is more affordable than other places in Connecticut, population has grown significantly over the last 25 years. The valley has also become more racially and ethnically diverse.
The Waterbury branch of the Metro-North Railroad runs parallel to Route 8. The Fourth Regional Plan’s recommendations for a unified and expanded regional rail network—including electrification and/or the addition of a second track, among other improvements—would reduce travel time to Manhattan and improvereverse-commute access to employment centers along the Route 8 corridor.
Because Route 8 is a limited-access highway, it could also become a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor, modeled on the success of the New Britain/Hartford CT Fastrak line. These investments in transit—whether BRT or train—would support more compact, mixed-use development, create new employment opportunities, and provide more affordable housing. Other recommendations in the Fourth Plan pertaining to redesigning roads to be more pedestrian- and transit-friendly, reforming zoning to encourage more mixed-use downtowns, and consolidating services would help the Route 8 corridor thrive and grow.