transport more mobile
what we could become if we shifted from car-centric to broad-based mobility: a walkable, bikeable network of town centers
move400: transport more mobile
The region has low-density rural and suburban communities with pockets of higher-density urban neighborhoods. This has encouraged a costly and unsustainable dependence on cars. As we look to our 400th anniversary, we must improve and expand our rail, bus, bike, and walking infrastructure, while making our highway system more efficient. Emphasizing walking, biking, and public transit will reduce greenhouse gases and lower asthma rates. New commuter rail, bus rapid transit, bike routes, pedestrian paths, and transit-oriented development have improved the way we move. But work remains to finish the Hartford Line, expand the airport, and rethink our highway system. It will make our region more healthy, prosperous, affordable, and resilient.
Areas of Focus: Airport/Rail, Highways/Transit, Walking/Biking
Airport & Rail
- Airport expansion: The Connecticut Airport Authority is pursuing an ambitious expansion at Bradley, now an award-winning airport. The expansion is critical to position the Valley and Capital City as a business and tourism destination, and to make Bradley a compelling and competitive alternative for those wishing to avoid overcrowded Boston and New York airports. This includes extending runways and additional taxiways, building a new terminal with additional gates, completing the ground transportation center, and improving air cargo capabilities.
- Promotion of national and international non-stop routes: Direct connections from Bradley to greater numbers of cities increase the attraction of the Valley and Capital City for new business investments, support businesses already located here, and expand the region’s market for tourism. Business and government leaders should work with the Airport Authority to persuade airlines that our airport expansion and shared vision for Valley growth will justify and reward expanded route offerings.
- Enhanced links to and from the airport: Bradley Airport must be accessible to the Capital City area by other modes than private automobiles. This is important for tourists and business travelers seeking to visit without a car, and for residents wishing to reduce their car dependency. Important options include new bus and rail links to the Windsor Locks Hartford Line station, bus or rail along the Griffin Line, and expanded and improved Bradley Flyer service.
- Advocate for new northeast rail corridor: We need a sustained, long-term push for higher or high-speed rail from New York to Boston, which would transform the region. This realignment would put Hartford directly between New York and Boston, ending its position on a branch line. Connecting to either of these cities in as little as an hour would exponentially increase Hartford’s attractiveness as a business or living destination.
- Complete stains on the Hartford Line: Currently there are seven stations in operation of the ten planned. The State is seeking funds to build the stations in Newington, West Hartford, and Enfield, and to rebuild the Windsor Locks station. Doing so would help create higher and more sustainable population density, catalyze a range of economic activities, enhance the vibrancy of town centers, and increase housing choices. Over time, increased ridership on the Hartford Line can reduce reliance on highways and driving.
- Explore additional rail options: Freight rail lines that exist in the region could possibly serve as future passenger rail options as well. These include the Griffin Line to Bloomfield, the southern line passing directly past Dillon Stadium into Wethersfield, and even lines extending to Waterbury. These could all be studied and considered for future use.
- Advance transit oriented development at all stations: Along the Hartford Line and Fastrak, building out neighborhoods around stations maximizes ridership for the service, and provides options for those wishing to live in walkable, accessible communities.
- Improve freight rail service: Some projects identified to achieve this is the reconstruction of the Windsor Locks-Enfield rail bridge across the Connecticut River, and upgrading weight and clearance limitations across the regional system.
Resources: Bradley Airport Light Rail Feasibility Study (ConnDOT 2016), Bradley Field Airport Master Plan (ConnDOT 2018), Long-Range Transportation Plan for Metro-Hartford Capitol Region (CRCOG 2019), Northeast Corridor Capital Investment Plan (2019), Capital Gateway Master Plan, Knowledge Corridor Rail Workshop (RPA 2016)
Highways & Transit
- Transition from an auto-dependent to a multi-modal region: Working with ConnDOT, develop a comprehensive transportation and land use strategy that recognizes that the region is at an historic crossroads for transportation investments – a new paradigm is essential for economic development and sustainability.
- Rethink overall highway system: Strengthen the highway system for rapid movement of freight by truck, including the Charter Oak Bridge/91 North ramp project.
- Free up land for urban development: Reduce or remove key interchanges in central Hartford and East Hartford at 84/91 and the Mixmaster, allowing for appropriate urban development at these key central locations.
- Create River Road: With the removal of the 84/91 interchange, a once-in-a-century opportunity arises to reconnect nearly the entire length of Hartford to its riverfront.
- Reconnect neighborhoods along the I-84 viaduct: Advance existing plans for repairing the urban fabric, coordinating with plans for high-speed rail, and re-route I-84 out of the center of the city.
- Create a new boulevard to replace the I-84 “trench” downtown: With the removal of the 84/91 interchange, another opportunity arises to create a new boulevard incorporating Morgan and Chapel Streets extending out to Cedar and Homestead Street, stitching together downtown with Downtown North and the greater North End area of the city.
- Expand CTFastrak: Integrate with the Hartford Line, local buses, bike network, pedestrian oriented town and city centers, and improve critical last-mile options. A greater connection to UConn in Storrs would strengthen the system overall.
- Create Transit Priority Corridors: Focusing on Hartford and East Hartford, proceed with a demonstration project on one of the six priority corridors selected as part of the Hartford Comprehensive Transit Service Plan.
- Improve local bus service: Enhance the rider experience by providing real-time information, digital ticketing, shelters and stop amenities, and through the introduction of dedicated bus lanes.
- Increase last-mile options: Embrace growing micro-mobility options for last-mile connections, and work to develop protections for users instead of barriers to usage.
Resources: Long-Range Transportation Plan for Metro-Hartford Capitol Region (CRCOG 2019), 84 Viaduct Plan, 84/91 Tunnel Proposal
Biking & Walking
- Become a national leader in bike infrastructure: Make the Valley and its Capital City a national leader in bicycle usage, recalling its exceptional history as a center of bike production. Promote a regional bike plan and network of protected bike lanes and intersections. Increase usage by empowering advocacy groups and vendors of bike services. Capitalize on recognition of Hartford as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community and the national press it received for developing an on-call bike repair team in the downtown area.
- Complete our East Coast Greenway segment: Many section through the region are already completed, but key gaps remain. Completing the Greenway highlights the Connecticut River Valley and Capital City as a prime destination along the trail, and adds key infrastructure for regional bicycle commuting.
- Widely expand Complete Streets: Create a regional Complete Streets Network Map to focus investment, and develop Complete Streets Policies to guide regional funding decisions, along with Implementation Guidance for municipalities.
- Implement a widespread bikeshare program: This is critical as a last-mile option. The introduction of Lime bikes in Hartford in 2017 spurred conversation throughout the region of the value of providing a variety of mobility options. A robust mobility ecosystem provides a more equitable, greener, and more connected region.
- Recognize walking’s benefits for mobility, sustainability, health, economic activity, and cultural vibrancy: Walking provides a host of benefits: free and non-polluting mobility, reduced emissions, accessible and attractive neighborhoods, support for mixed-use areas and with housing density, and the creation of vibrant and active public spaces. Favorable walkability scores are now definitively linked to higher real estate values, and is now a key factor in attracting workers and companies to relocate. All of these benefits from walkability can make our towns and neighborhoods better places. Our Valley and city have ample historic settings capable of improving their walkability.
- Redesign streets to make walking safe and accessible: Ensure that all streets are designed to be safe and accessible for pedestrians, especially in downtowns and town centers, and along retail, recreational, and cultural corridors. This includes funding for streets infrastructure improvements and for ongoing maintenance.
- Implement a “Safe Routes to School” program: When Hartford was recognized as a silver-level Walk Friendly Community, the absence of a Safe Routes to Schools program was identified as an area of need. This is an equity issue: children in urban communities are more susceptible to auto injury on their way to school, but as the region densifies the area of risk will expand. This program ensures the ability of children to reach school without the fear of high-speed traffic and, for drivers, makes school zones an areas of extreme care and attention.
Resources: Long-Range Transportation Plan for Metro-Hartford Capitol Region (CRCOG 2019), Hartford Bicycle Master Plan, Complete Streets Plan (CRCOG), The iQuilt Plan for Downtown Hartford (iQuilt Partnership 2011), East Coast Greenway plan