Bad Review of the Day: New Haven's Reviled Urban Highway Replacement

The city won a grant to replace its highway with a walkable downtown, but one group raises several concerns about the new plan.

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Courtesy: City of New Haven

A couple of months ago, Eric Jaffe outlined which urban highways are on their last legs. Included in that death row roundup was New Haven's Route 34. Here's what he had to say about the road:

The Route 34 Connector carries drivers to and from Interstate 95. In the process it cuts off downtown New Haven from the Hill neighborhood and the medical district of Yale University. Boosted by a $16 million federal grant, the city is proceeding with plans for a pair of urban boulevards designed to enhance livability and spur economic development.

Others had a slightly less gentle way of putting it - one local advocate called Route 34 the "most defacing scar from the 1960′s Urban Renewal era."

That $16 million grant was supposed to change everything. But one group says the city's new design is not much of an improvement. The New Haven Urban Design League just released a 30-page report [PDF] that's critical the city's new plan.

The report argues that the current plan - to create two four-lane roads less than a block apart - isn't much better than an urban highway. They also take issue with the fact that no cross streets are being added, and much of the new design is sunken below grade. And they say a public comment period should be incorporated.

"Instead of reclaiming urban fabric from car infrastructure, New Haven is dangerously close to replacing one urban freeway with another urban freeway," our friends over at Streetsblog write. Check out their post for a history of the highway, along with more details about the proposed fix.

 

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.