June 17th, 2012 | City

Downtown Crossing heads for final hurdle

Downtown Crossing, the plan to replace portions of Route 34, aims to reconnect the Hill to downtown New Haven and spur economic development in the area.
Downtown Crossing, the plan to replace portions of Route 34, aims to reconnect the Hill to downtown New Haven and spur economic development in the area. Photo by John Stillman.

After nearly a month-long delay, Downtown Crossing, the city’s largest redevelopment effort in a generation, is back on track for a vote by the full full Board of Aldermen.

At a public hearing Thursday night held by the joint finance and legislation committee, aldermen heard opinions from community members on the zoning changes and the land disposition agreement for the $135 million project, which would replace sections of Route 34 with urban boulevards and erect a medical office tower in the cleared space. Following nearly four hours of testimony and discussion, committee members voted to approve the plan, sending both the zoning changes and the land disposition agreement on to a critical, full board vote.

The proposed zoning changes would create a new mixed-use business district in downtown New Haven, and the land disposition agreement would transfer 11 acres of land freed from Route 34 to real estate developer Carter Winstanley.

The committee held a similar hearing on the project in May and decided to send the zoning agreement back to the City Plan Commission instead of voting on it. The City Plan Commission re-approved the zoning agreement on June 6.

While the current zoning and land disposition plans are largely identical to their May versions, developers and city planners included changes to widen sidewalks and cut 150 parking spaces from the plan’s proposed parking garage in hopes of assuaging fears that the area will not be pedestrian-friendly.

The Board of Aldermen is expected to vote on the project during its Aug. 6 meeting.

  • Sara

    Sections of the area have 7 foot wide sidewalks still. A typical city standard is 15 feet.

    People are going to be PISSED once they see what the project looks like in reality, not just in the pretty Photoshop image that the developer created.