Downtown Crossing is the City of New Haven's plan to transform Route 34 East, from Union Avenue to Park Street in downtown, from highway stub to slower speed, city streets. These city streets will bridge the gap between New Haven's Downtown (its business, government, arts and entertainment, and education centers) and its Medical District and Hill neighborhoods. The Hill and the Medical District, in particular, were separated from the heart of the Downtown when the highway was constructed in the 1950s. Today, Route 34 East of the Air Rights Garage is a physical and psychological barrier between the medical district and the larger Downtown area. Access to Union Station will also be improved; it is a major stop for both Amtrak and Metro-North rail service.
At Full Build, the Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project will reclaim 10 acres of land, currently occupied by expressway stubs and ramps, and make it available for development, including residential, retail, and health care and research facilities. The new city streets will be designed at a scale suitable and safe for all forms of transportation: pedestrians, bikes, public transit, and vehicles.
A primary goal of the Downtown Crossing/Route 34 East project is to develop a livable, walkable community while providing local and regional connectivity. With housing and shopping linked to nearby transit and more comfortable streets for pedestrians and bicycles, this project will encourage increased physical activity and reduce air and noise pollution associated with automobile travel, supporting the City's sustainable growth objectives.