Grand Plans for New Haven's Union Station

By Stephanie O'Connell
|  Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013  |  Updated 10:44 PM EDT
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Grand Plans for New Haven's Union Station

flickr/SpokkerJones

Riders exit a Metro Red Line train at Union Station.

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Some grand plans for Union Station in New Haven are in the works.

City leaders are looking at adding parking and changing the way the entire station is laid out.

"Now that my daughter is going to American University in Washington this is the way she's coming home," said Laurie Jeffers of Portland, who waited patiently for her daughter to arrive. "I think it would be nice to have more shops because sometimes people stay here for a while."

Shops are just one part of the plan unveiled by economic development officials. The goal isn't to imitate Grand Central or Union Station in Washington, DC but by improving the amenities and increasing parking the city hopes it will stimulate both the local and regional economies.

"There's not enough parking, huge waiting list, over 80% of the people don't come from New Haven so how do we accommodate them so the station gets used more," said Mayor John DeStefano, adding that Union Station is one of the busiest Amtrak and Metro North stations in the country. "It's creating economic growth by making sure we have good transportation connections particularly to New York and Boston."

Park New Haven's Executive Director David Panagore explained how the ticket booths would be shifted from one side to another; and how one side of the station would be completely blown out.

In addition to the merchandising aspect, the city says this will help connect all the transportation nodes around New Haven.

"So improving the amenities here doesn't just basically help the station but certainly the idea is to help the city," said Panagore.

 "It's the best I've seen in Connecticut," Juan Carlos of Bridgeport said. "They don't need to make it any nicer than it is. It looks like a freakin museum."

The first stage of upgrades would cost around $5 million. Jason Deppen wouldn't mind some more food choices

"It just hit me I have to eat dinner and I really don't want either of those options so I will be going to Subway," Deppen added.

The station enhances are part of a larger renovation downtown that includes the re-do of the Coliseum site. There's a hotel that could also go up in the area.

All these renovations are still likely a few years away.

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