NVCOG Study to Determine Effective Transportation Opportunities Underway

July 17, 2017

Contact: 
Mark Nielsen
Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments
203-757-0535
mnielsen@nvcogct.org                                           

NVCOG Study to Determine Effective Transportation Opportunities Underway

 The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments has initiated a major planning study to assess opportunities for implementing alternative transit modes within the Route 8 / Waterbury branch rail line corridors and developing transit-supportive land use plans in and around the corridor’s commuter rail stations. 

Since the project kick-off meeting in late May, the study team has completed several preliminary study tasks, including assessment of existing transit systems and holding coordination meetings with the region’s various transit providers. The team, comprised of several consulting firms, has completed collecting information and data on the existing conditions within the corridor, which will be incorporated into upcoming design workshops. Study recommendations will be provided to the state Department of Transportation, with a goal of incorporating improvements in the corridor into the department’s capital plan. They will also be provided to area municipalities and the region’s state legislative delegation. Working toward developing a strategy and plan for implementing preferred options, the study is scheduled to be completed in late 2018.

As a starting point, previous studies were reviewed to better understand concepts that have been assessed.  Next steps in the project timeline include a series design workshops to be scheduled in September. The events will provide stakeholders and the public opportunities to learn about innovative transit options and influence decisions on mixed-use land patterns that would complement and support transit services. 

“The primary goal of the study is to identify enhanced transit services that would be the catalyst for revitalizing the town centers along the corridor,” said Mark Nielsen, NVCOG Assistant Director/Director of Planning. “Regarding rail service, these communities have a tremendous advantage over other similar communities because such infrastructure is already in place. However, the infrastructure needs to be improved and rehabilitated to permit the frequency and level of service needed to attract people to live and work in the corridor. Bus Rapid Transit along Route 8 south of Derby is also among the modes being considered.”

The biggest factor impeding enhanced service on the Waterbury branch line is related to the equipment, added Nielsen. There are too few trainsets assigned to the line, and more frequent service is not possible without an increase in the number of trains assigned to the line and upgrades in equipment to address the frequent equipment breakdowns that occur.

The study team firms and assigned tasks:

 •AECOM – Prime Consultant

•CDM Smith – TOD Scenarios, Forecasting

•Harriman – TOD Scenarios, Urban Design

•Planning4Places DBE – Planning Support, Build Out Scenarios

•Zuvic & Carr Associates SBE – Data Collection, Parking Inventory

Stated study goals are:

1.Identify new, enhanced and alternate public transit facilities and services, including local bus service, bus rapid transit routes and commuter rail, to transform town centers into vibrant, high-density communities that have access to efficient and high quality transit services. 

2.Provide built environment densities that meet transit supportive standards for land uses and walkability, in order to facilitate and encourage the use of enhanced transit services.

3.Enhance transit connectivity, reliability and attractiveness. 

4.Develop an implementation plan for incentivizing transit oriented and supported developments in the lower Naugatuck Valley Region.

5.Advance Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) livability principles and extend sustainable communities.  

The project study area extends from the City of Waterbury in the north to downtown Bridgeport in the south. The principle study corridors are the Route 8/25 Expressway from the Borough of Naugatuck to downtown Bridgeport, the Waterbury Branch Rail Line from Naugatuck to the Devon Wye at the New Haven Main Rail Line, the town centers of Derby, Shelton, Ansonia, Seymour, Beacon Falls and Naugatuck, and the Bridgeport Avenue corporate corridor in Shelton and Trumbull.

A project website has been developed and is live at: http://rt8corridorstudy.com. Interested persons can contact the study team through the “Contact Us” page which lists several ways the public can contact the Team to offer comment or ask questions. An email address has also been established to contact the Team: rt8corridorstudy@nvcog.org