Although his transportation proposal for the state will take 30 years to complete, the Union Station garage is a top priority that will be included in the first five-year ramp up of the plan, Malloy announced in his budget address.
Union Station is the 10th most active train station in the country, according to Director of Transportation for the City of New Haven Doug Hausladen ’04, but parking has become a barrier to many riders. At last week’s meeting, Malloy presented his plan for the garage, which will add roughly 1,000 new parking spaces to the station.
“There’s been a big need for a long while of additional parking spaces,” said Hausladen, who attended the meeting. “It gets to full capacity every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”
He added that riders decide not to take the train because they cannot access the station or do not have a secure place to park.
Although the city has been working for nearly a decade to get the state government to fund another garage, they had been unsuccessful until now, Hausladen said. Because Union Station is a state-owned facility on state property, all funding for the project comes from the state.
City officials are excited that the governor has chosen New Haven as a focal point for the railroad part of his transportation initiative.
“We know it’s part of a comprehensive statewide transportation plan that Malloy envisions, and so the mayor is very pleased that New Haven figures prominently in that statewide plan,” City Hall Spokesman Laurence Grotheer said.
Hausladen added that the garage would encourage more residents to take trains, and decrease congestion in state roads such as Interstate 95. At Thursday’s meeting, Malloy said the average person in the state spends 40 hours stuck in traffic congestion per year, the New Haven Independent reported. This loss in working hours costs the state roughly $4.2 billion dollars, Malloy said.
“We need more transportation options for New Haven to position itself as a key link to the entire Northeast corridor,” Hausladen said. “With added parking, we could be the eighth or even sixth [most active train station in the country].”
At the meeting, officials also discussed the possibility of building a bus depot at the station. Since the parking garage will be built on the top level of the lot, the ground floor would be free for construction.
A bus depot would provide a centralized location where riders can catch buses on any route without having to walk to different stops, Grotheer said.
However, it is unclear if the bus depot will be included in the final design for the garage. The state government is in charge of designing the project, but Hausladen is hopeful that the city will have some input.
Tom Maziarz, bureau chief for policy and planning at the state Department of Transportation, told the New Haven Register that designing for the parking garage will begin in fiscal year 2016.