The Connecticut Department of Transportation is advancing its Greater Hartford Mobility Study, which is aimed at “reimagining and reconnecting” neighborhoods between Hartford and East Hartford.
[Above image by the Connecticut DOT]
This study – originally launched in 2020 – is viewed as a “community-driven vision” for creating a “vibrant, equitable, and sustainable multimodal transportation network.”
The agency noted that a final report – due for release in November – will show how to improve the movement of people and goods, increase transportation options, accessibility, reliability, and safety, as well as accommodate future needs and emerging technologies, prioritize social equity, and minimize environmental impacts for the Greater Hartford area.
“For too long, our national highway system has ripped cities in half, displacing communities and resources from one another,” noted Governor Ned Lamont (D) in a statement.
“Through the Greater Hartford Mobility Study, the state – along with local, regional, and community partners – have taken a holistic look at how pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users move through the city and in and out of the region, as well as how drivers navigate through the region,” he explained. “The future infrastructure and transportation projects coming out of the study will make our capital city economically vibrant and better connected within itself, to surrounding towns, and across the Connecticut River.”
“Our project team has directly connected with over 10,000 individuals [and] we listened and learned from many communities that were disconnected by the existing infrastructure to identify problems and solutions,” added Garrett Eucalitto, Connecticut DOT commissioner.
“Each program component can create new connections to transform this region into one true modern metropolitan area,” he said. “The study’s final report will outline the next steps [we] will take to mobilize early action projects and plan and design longer-term projects.”
The agency noted that its Greater Hartford Mobility Study is organized into four major program components:
- CityLink West addresses safety, reduces the number of ramps in the Study Core, and improves connectivity between neighborhoods and green spaces/parks. Lowering the highway would link neighborhoods currently severed by the highway and create additional developable land while improving rail and bus service that share the corridor.
- CityLink East proposes to mitigate highway congestion in downtown Hartford by relocating the I-84/I-91 interchange and then building a new bridge connecting I-84 and Route 2 in East Hartford. This redesign would separate local and highway traffic and reclaim the historic Bulkeley Bridge for local traffic, including opportunities for dedicated high-capacity transit facilities, separated bike lanes, and improve sidewalks.
- River Gateway connects Hartford’s central business district with the Connecticut River. It allows for equitable access to green space, would mitigate some of the visual and noise impacts of I-91, and create an urban boulevard to strengthen local travel options. In addition, a new bridge would connect the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood with a new, river-oriented, mid-rise neighborhood in East Hartford. The bridge would prioritize bus, bicycle, and pedestrian travel while accommodating automobile traffic.
- Founders Gateway proposes to consolidate the I-84/Route 2 interchange ramps in East Hartford. It would open significant acres of land to potential development and provide opportunities to strengthen the local street grid.
The Connecticut DOT noted that several “early action projects” identified by this study would be implemented within the next five years for the traveling public to reap the benefits of improved mobility and safety. Meanwhile, the agency said four major components of the study will undergo environmental policy reviews at the state and federal level before proceeding.