CT: Danbury gets $1.6M in federal funds to design long-shelved Transit Center to connect buses, trains

April 23, 2024
The Danbury Transit Center, a vision long in the works that has sat shelved, may finally get off the ground with the infusion of new federal funds toward the project.

Apr. 22—DANBURY — The Danbury Transit Center, a vision long in the works that has sat shelved, may finally get off the ground with the infusion of new federal funds toward the project.

A report commissioned by the city in 2018 recommended relocating the HARTransit Pulse Point station now on Kennedy Avenue to a new location closer to the Metro-North Railroad station at 1 Patriot Drive. The proposed bus station could be built across the tracks from the train station along what is now an unused 5-acre commercial lot on Pahquioque Avenue, according to the study on transit-oriented development.

City leaders envisioned connecting those two stations with a raised pedestrian bridge as part of an overall project that at the time was expected to cost about $30 million.

Six years later, Mayor Roberto Alves' office announced Danbury is slated to receive $1.6 million in federal funding that would enable the city to finally design the project, which would expand residents' access to convenient transportation options.

"Transit-oriented development like this is critical to any thriving community, and this project is another win for Danbury that will help us go further down the path of responsible development, strategic infrastructure improvements and economic growth," Alves said in a recent statement.

The next phase of the project will be the design and traffic engineering studies related to relocating the bus station, the administration said.

The new federal funds requires a 20 percent city match of $320,000, which is included in Alves' proposal for the 2024-25 city budget, said Taylor O'Brien, the mayor's chief of staff.

The concept itself is a comprehensive project, O'Brien said. The city would need to purchase the Pahquioque Avenue property, which is located near the Terence E. McNally Patriot Garage on Patriot Drive and the Danbury Ice Arena.

"It's definitely a prime area," O'Brien said. "It is something the city's looked at for quite some time."

The project would require the city to buy the Pahquioque Avenue lot from Eversource.

"We can't do more unless we know more," O'Brien said of the proposed study, which will allow leaders to learn the project's scope and cost. The administration plans to review that study and past studies to learn what other development could be done downtown, she said.

O'Brien described the proposed Danbury Transit Center as "a good thing for our downtown, our community, for people are wanting to walk and use public transit."

Riders could include visitors from other communities, such as Norwalk, who are attending a Hat Tricks hockey game, for example, or area residents who are looking to ride the Metro-North Railroad train.

"It needs to feel easier," O'Brien said.

For HARTransit CEO Richard Schreiner, the project has the potential to better serve the greater Danbury area. He said city leaders have been the driving force behind the proposal.

"Anytime you have things together, there's the potential for synergy," Schreiner said.


(c)2024 The News-Times (Danbury, Conn.)

Visit The News-Times (Danbury, Conn.) at www.newstimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.