When the Congress for the New Urbanism, New England Chapter, presents the 2015 Urbanism Awards recognizing achievement in the region later this month, Connecticut will dominate. Initiatives in Stamford, New Haven and the Hartford region are three of the five award recipients. The Urbanism Awards honor the designs, plans, and policies that best embody the principles of New Urbanism in New England. The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) helps create vibrant and walkable cities, towns, and neighborhoods where people have diverse choices for how they live, work, shop, and get around. People want to live in well-designed places that are unique and authentic. CNU's mission, according to the organization’s website, is to help build those places.
The Glen Brook Springdale Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Plan in Stamford, the Downtown New Haven One-Way to Two-Way Conversion, and the CT Fastrack bus service in the Hartford Region each earned the organization’s top honors in New England.
The submission by the City of Stamford of the Glen Brook Springdale TOD Plan is “a fine example” of creating “great livable and walkable spaces and bringing life back” to the area, the organization pointed out. In selecting the Stamford plan, the Chapter said “The City initiated the study in order to promote much-needed public space improvements and to unlock the potential of each village as a transit-focused location for development. It promotes support and cooperation between the public and private investment for needed rail improvements and to promote walkability and bikability. The resulting plans are transit oriented development pockets and rail station improvements which lay a framework the land owners, developers and the City for good, strong New Urban development and improvements.”
Regarding the New Haven plan, the selection was made because “the Downtown New Haven One-Way to Two-Way Conversion Study strongly conveys the role that a retrofit of existing streets can have on improving the livability, safety, character, and economic development of an entire neighborhood area. The submission clearly articulates how this kind of street reclamation could both improve the efficiency of transit operations while also balancing all modes of transportation.” Still to be completed, the selection team indicated they look forward to “seeing how this project can support overall revitalization in Downtown New Haven.” Lead consultant on the plan is Fuss & O’Neill, Inc.
CT Fastrak, operated by the state’s Department of Transportation, was selected “for their success in helping to deliver the first dedicated mass transit system to the region in over 50 years. This is an excellent example of regional cooperation which contemplates improvements at every scale of the rural to urban transect. At the regional level, the dedicated bus only roadbed maximizes mobility while reducing dependence on the automobile. This achievement is enhanced by the inclusion of a 5 mile long multi-use trail way with several access points to the busway for cyclists and pedestrians. Further, several of the new stations will foster transit oriented development (TOD).”
The awards will be presented on October 21 at The Union Club of Boston. The Congress for the New Urbanism, New England Chapter (CNU New England) is a cross-disciplinary network of professionals and advocates working to build strong cities and towns in New England. The organization’s mission is to:
- Educate the public and the development community about the benefits of New Urbanist planning, design and development
- Support the implementation of projects consistent with the principles of New Urbanism at the local, state, and regional levels
- Encourage the adoption of policies and regulations that promote traditional human-scaled urbanism