New Bridgeport Station Shows What State Wants Along Train Lines

(photo from 2013 Barnum Station Feasibility Study)
(photo from 2013 Barnum Station Feasibility Study)
Bridgeport's getting a new train station on the East Side section of the city, an example of improvements and hoped-for transit-oriented development that state officials want to see elsewhere along train lines in Connecticut.

In a news release issued Wednesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office, Malloy said the project is part of a larger goal of commuter-line improvements and economic benefits:

"Governor Malloy emphasized that funding for Barnum Station is just one part of a coordinated strategy to increase ridership along the New Haven Line by investing in new stations, train cars and rail infrastructure in order to ensure safer, faster and more reliable service for residents.

"The Governor said the investments will also encourage public and private transit-oriented development that will strengthen and revitalize downtown areas across the state by connecting transportation hubs with residential and commercial centers in Connecticut’s cities and towns."

Here's most of the rest of the  news release about the project [unbearably boring expressions of thanks from one official to another have been deleted out of a sense of mercy to our readers]:

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the State Bond Commission at its next meeting will approve $2.75 million for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) to hire a consultant to complete the engineering, design and environmental permitting to develop the site of the new Barnum Train Station on Bridgeport’s East Side. 

The Governor made the announcement at the former Remington Arms factory, a brownfield property, which will be the location of the city’s second train station.  

“With this investment in the Barnum Train Station, we are improving the quality of life for residents in Bridgeport’s East Side and East End while at the same time encouraging transit-oriented and economic development in our largest city,” said Governor Malloy.

“Moving this project forward demonstrates our commitment to helping municipal partners and stakeholders make their communities more accessible, more walkable centers of cultural and economic activity. In the process, we are also building a foundation to make Connecticut a stronger and more regionally competitive state by growing jobs for residents and providing more flexible, convenient transportation options for employers and employees alike.”

The new Barnum Station project investment has been deemed feasible by a recent study completed with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities. [Here's a PDF copy of the study.]

Based upon the existing conditions analysis, a number of community, transit-oriented and economic development opportunities were identified in the feasibility study, including but not limited to:  
  • Neighborhood stabilization – Barnum Station has the potential to stabilize and encourage reinvestment in the East End and East Side neighborhoods.
  • Market opportunities – Analysis indicates that there is a potential market for new residential, retail, and flex/office spaces in the study area. There is an opportunity to complement, but not compete with various other development efforts within the City of Bridgeport, including Steel Point, Bridgeport Housing Authority redevelopment plans, and expansion of Bridgeport Hospital.
  • Strong anchors – The study area includes a number of strong anchors including Bridgeport Hospital, the newly constructed Waltersville and Barnum Elementary School, existing industrial uses (such as Lacey Manufacturing), and significant open space resources along the Yellow Mill Channel.
  • Available land – Approximately 2/3 of the land within a 1/4-mile radius of Barnum Station is either vacant or underutilized.
  • Relationship to Yellow Mill Channel – There is the potential for water and recreation opportunities along the Yellow Mill Channel, including creation of a greenway, consistent with ongoing City planning efforts.
  • Transit ridership – The study area is currently well served by the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority’s bus routes, and there is the potential for additional local- and hospital-related demand, as well as more efficient north-south connections as area redevelopment takes place.
  • Roadways – Analysis indicates that there is available capacity on study area roadways as well as opportunities that exist for improving these roadways, particularly in taking a “complete streets” approach to accommodate not only vehicles, but pedestrians and bicyclists as well, particularly along Seaview Avenue.
With this funding in place and estimating an 18-month design phase, the soil remediation that will be performed can begin in spring of 2016 and construction on the station could occur in 2017 for a start of operations in the fall of 2018.  

“We’re making smart investments in the future,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “Key investments include the East Bridgeport Development Corridor, which will serve as a catalyst for growth in the city’s East End, East Side, and Mill Hill neighborhoods. This project is already gaining steam.

"But it will never reach its full potential without a train station nearby. The proposed Barnum Station, which will be the second train station in our state’s largest city, will help ensure the East Bridgeport Development Corridor becomes a place where people want to live and work, and where companies want to invest and hire people. That’s why today’s announcement is so important." [...]

“A new train station on Barnum Avenue will serve as a linchpin in the transformation of the East Side and East End communities into a hub for economic activity in Bridgeport,” said State Senator Andres Ayala (D-Bridgeport).

“We have been working on this project for several years now, with additional plans for housing developments to be established adjacent to the station that will be ideal for commuters and will further stimulate economic growth in our community." [...]

“The development of the Barnum station is a critical ingredient to the success of the city’s development vision, particularly as that effects the so-called East Side Corridor,” said Paul Timpanelli, President and CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council.

"The planned development of that corridor over the long-term will result in very significant job growth, tax base growth, and transit oriented housing development as it will be key to the revitalization of over 700 acres of underperforming real estate and will serve as a catalyst to the growth of existing job generators such as Bridgeport Hospital.”  

“If we are going to get people out of their cars and onto public transportation, we have to make it convenient, clean, safe and reliable,” said ConnDOT Deputy Commissioner Anna M. Barry.

“Adding a new station helps move us further along toward that goal. It will also help us fulfill another commitment to the people of Connecticut – the creation of new transit-oriented development.” [...]

The State Bond Commission is scheduled to vote on the item at its July 25 meeting at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.


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