New Haven's Downtown Crossing approved, despite critics
The Downtown Crossing plan in New Haven received unanimous approval from the city's Board of Aldermen despite critics, including many urbanists, who claimed that it will gobble up enormous public funds ($35 million, including a $16 million TIGER grant) to create another auto-centered highway in the middle of the city. The project, which will enable a $100 million mixed-use development to move forward, has the backing of Mayor John DeStefano and other powerful leaders. Several aldermen said the plan could be improved, but that it was time to move ahead anyway. Downtown Crossing will replace Route 34, a depressed highway that carries vehicles between I-95 and the Connecticut city's growing hospital-medical complex, on the edge of downtown. Travel lanes will be brought up to surface level, but widened from 4 to 5 lanes at intersections where most pedestrians will cross. An 850-space parking garage is the first building to be constructed. At the Congress for the New Urbanism in May, critics suggested that traffic should be slowed down immediately upon exit from I-95.
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