Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker helped cut the ribbon on an expanded parking lot at the Elmwood CTfastrak Station in West Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
Citing unprecedented ridership demand, Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner James Redeker presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for an expanded parking lot at the Elmwood Station in West Hartford on Tuesday afternoon, and announced that parking capacity at CTfastrak stations will expand by 142 percent by the end of 2016.
“We took an initiative based on that early success of our millionth rider, of exceeding our expectations and meeting our 2030 goals early, by expanding parking,” Redeker said.
Thirteen additional spaces in West Hartford were christened Tuesday, and another 11 spaces will be available at the Elmwood Station in early January 2016, expanding the total parking there from 27 to 51 spaces. The Flatbush Avenue Station in West Hartford has 31 spaces and there is not currently room for expansion.
Coming right at the holiday season, Redeker said, “This is our gift to CTfastrak riders.”
He said that this is just part of a “larger puzzle,” and DOT has been looking at ways to expand parking and access to the system.
“The construction of this parking area just reiterates the success of CTfastrak,” Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) Director of Transportation Jennifer Carrier said. “Ridership … has exceeded 2030 projections and we are just thrilled about the implications. Local commuters are using the transit system reducing the number of single-occupant vehicles on the highway,” she said.
Carrier said that the transit system is an important component of “Complete Streets” as well.
Town Council member Ben Wenograd said that the new parking will enhance the development of the New Park Road area. “It will go a long way to develop this strip,” he said, and will help our local businesses.
Corner Pug Manager Chris Foley said he is excited about the addition of parking spaces at the nearby station. “It’s going to alleviate the situation. I come to work every day and I see that it’s full,” he said of the parking area.
Foley said that the busway is doing a great job and especially during the warmer months has led to a boost in business at the Corner Pug which is located diagonally across the street. He said that CTfastrak is “a great asset to the Hartford community.”
Foley said that occasionally people have parked in the Corner Pug’s parking lot – which already has limited space – but that hasn’t been too much of a problem.
Additional parking is also planned in other towns with CTfastrak stations, including 11 more spaces at the Newington Junction Station that will open in the spring of 2016 and 90 or more spaces at the Cedar Street Station in Newington by the middle of next year.
A new park and ride lot has been added near the UConn Health Center in Farmington which will be serviced by the CTfastrak Route 121 bus. Redeker said there is the possibility of additional capacity being added in New Britain as well.