Route 34 Resolution Passes City Committee: Thank you!
Thanks to community support, last month, the Route 34 Resolution passed the Board of Aldermen’s Community Development Committee by a vote of 4-3. Please thank Alderpersons Bitsie Clark, Claudette Robinson-Thorpe, Dolores Colon, and Greg Morehead for voting in favor of the resolution, which you can view here: http://blog.tstc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/route34resolution.pdf
According to the Aldermen, residents made hundreds of phone calls and sent hundreds of emails urging public support for this Resolution. This vote followed several hours of citizen testimony on September 28th in support of the measure – which ran late into the evening, and could have continued much longer given that many residents who showed up to testify ended up not being able to speak.
Your message has been heard locally, as well as nationally. Regardless of what happens with the Resolution at this point, your advocacy has helped highlight the need for a community that can create and sustain local jobs and opportunities for children in the long term, not simply a community dependent on highway construction and tens of thousands of commuters from remote suburbs. You have highlighted the overwhelming desire for a more walkable urban street grid in Downtown New Haven and surrounding neighborhoods, one that is in compliance with City and State “Complete Streets” laws.
Vote on Resolution Tomorrow
The Resolution now moves to the full Board, with discussion and voting scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday).
The City has recently sent letters to the Board of Aldermen promising many changes and modifications to the plan as a result of your public testimony. This is great news. However, it must be noted that the changes that the City is talking about in public currently consist of requests to ConnDOT and engineering sketches, not concrete plans. The same letters promising changes, unfortunately, also contain inaccurate information about the Resolution and its impact on the project. We believe that there is great common ground among the public here, and that City officials are more than willing to compromise on the highway-centric plans that they have been displaying, more or less unchanged, for the past several years. But first and foremost, the City should stop trying to divide the community by spreading inaccurate information. For example, one letter claims that widening highways like Route 34 can help reduce traffic within cities (in fact, highway removal boosts local jobs, and reduces traffic and pollution). Another states that intersections in the “new” Route 34 will be very similar to most of the intersections currently found in Downtown New Haven – ironically, citing the 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. Finally, it is clear to reasonable people that this Resolution is not binding and it only offers simple guidance and a strong public message. Contrary to the City’s statements that say the Resolution can endanger progress, in fact, Federal officials have indicated that the only thing that can stall the Route 34 redevelopment at this point is a design that does not meet the clearly-stated needs of the community.
The bottom line is, we need to continue our advocacy for a stronger downtown and stronger, safer city neighborhoods.
If you have time, please call or email your Alderperson, as well as the Alderpersons listed above who voted for the resolution last month, once more tonight or tomorrow morning. Encourage your elected officials to pass the measure as it is written, and to speak in support of equitable urban designs that will allow all users, not just drivers, the infrastructure that they need to access and create local jobs.
You may also call Marcus Paca, the Chairperson of the Committee that passed the resolution, at 203-507-7892. Contact information may be found at http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/Aldermen/. If you prefer, copy your emails to the Board President, Carl Goldfield, at firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com so that we can forward them to appropriate parties.
If you do not have time to take action today or tomorrow, please stay in touch. Additional advocacy at the local and state level will be needed — regardless of the direction that the Board takes tomorrow.
For previous coverage of the resolution, please see the links posted here: http://downtownnewhaven.blogspot.com/2011/10/stand-in-support-of-safe-streets-action.html
Selected press coverage of the Board’s historic vote:
+ Atlantic Cities, October 20, 2011: In New Haven, Debating the Best Road Forward http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2011/10/new-haven-debating-the-best-road-forward/328/
+ New Haven Register, October 14, 2011: New Haven aldermanic committee OKs Route 34 redevelopment resolution
+ New Haven Independent, October 14, 2011: Panel Urges Downtown Crossing Re-do http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/split_panel_urges_downtown_crossing_re-do/
+ Yale Daily News, October 14, 2011: Pro-bike resolution passes http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/oct/14/pro-bike-resolution-passes/
+ Congress for the New Urbanism, November 4, 2011: News from New Haven on the Oak Street Connector (Route 34) http://www.cnu.org/cnu-salons/2011/11/news-new-haven-oak-street-connector-route-34
Statewide Walking and Bicycling Summit: New Haven, November 12th
Connecticut’s statewide bike and pedestrian advocacy organization, Bike Walk Connecticut, is holding its 2011 Bike and Pedestrian summit in New Haven on Saturday, November 12th at Yale University’s Kroon Hall. Greater New Haven’s own nonprofit organization, Elm City Cycling (ECC), is among the groups supporting the summit.
The theme for this year’s summit is ‘Creating Bike and Walk Friendly Places.’ With the City’s recent moves towards building streets for road users of all ages and abilities, Elm City Cycling is encouraging community leaders and residents to attend the summit, both to learn about and show support for communities that are friendlier and more accessible to cyclists, pedestrians, and other users of non-motorized transportation.
The cost for the summit is $20 for BWC members and $30 for non-members, and includes lunch. The schedule of events can be found here: http://www.ctbikewalksummit.org/schedule.html. Recognizing that the people who benefit the most from walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly cities are overwhelmingly those of limited means, ECC is offering a limited number of sponsorships to attend the summit free. If you or someone you know would like to apply for a waiver of the registration fee, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please consider attending the summit but if you cannot come for the entire day, please join one of the tours (biking or walking) at 2:30PM to show your support for a bike and walk friendly community. No registration or fee is required to participate in the tours.
Thank you again for your assistance as an author of our recent letter to Mayor DeStefano, and/or as a general supporter of the Safe Streets Coalition. We will continue to monitor New Haven’s progress on the Safe Streets Petition, and look forward to additional successes in the coming years. Please feel free to forward this email to your neighbors and friends, or unsubscribe if you no longer wish to hear from us.
Best regards, New Haven Safe Streets Coalition Coordinators