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Public Hearing For Proposed East Side Train Station

January 12th, 2017 · 13 Comments · Development and Zoning, News and Events

Barnum station

State rendering of proposed station.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation will conduct a public hearing February 7, 6pm in the first floor cafeteria of Great Oaks Charter School, 510 Barnum Avenue, to share information about the proposed Barnum Station including the environmental impact evaluation. If completed, the East Side development would become a second city train station.

Renderings and formal presentation will take place shortly after doors open at 6pm. Snow date is February 14, same location and time. If you’d like to submit comments prior to the hearing write to Mark Alexander, Transportation Assistant Planning Director, Connecticut Department of Transportation, Bureau of Policy and Planning, 2800 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, CT 06611. Email dot.environmentalplanning@ct.gov.

First proposed during the mayoral administration of Bill Finch, the station development is supported by Governor Dan Malloy as well as Mayor Joe Ganim. The city has contracted with consultant Goody Clancy for the planning and urban design. See other planning team members here.

Additional info from the city and state:

Barnum Station is a planned new commuter rail station to be located along the Metro-North Railroad New Haven line in East Bridgeport, CT. The station will enhance regional access to and from East Bridgeport and support the revitalization of the East Side, Mill Hill and East End neighborhoods. The station will be located on the south side of Barnum Avenue between Seaview Avenue and Pembroke Street on the site of the former Remington Arms factory. The station is named after the circus leader and one-time Bridgeport mayor P. T. Barnum.

… The “TOD Plan” is being conducted for the City of Bridgeport Planning Department and refers to the Barnum Station TOD (transit-oriented development) Master Plan and the Adaptive Reuse Strategy for 889 Barnum Avenue (former Remington Arms Ammunition production facility, or “Remgrit” site).

The TOD Plan will guide reinvestment aimed to reposition the area around the planned Barnum Station as a transit-oriented and mixed-use hub, and to catalyze economic development for the city’s East Side, East End and Mill Hill neighborhoods. The planning effort focuses primarily on areas within a half-mile of the planned station (see map), where walking access to the station will be most convenient. A component of the planning effort focuses on strategic re-use of the former Remington Arms Ammunition factory site located across Barnum Avenue from the planned station. The 16-acre city-owned site could potentially accommodate a significant amount of new mixed-use development, public streets and/or open spaces that complement and help stimulate additional neighborhood revitalization. The planning effort will identify the types of land uses and development that are likely to best achieve revitalization goals, informed by both community input and technical analysis. The plan will look at different needs and opportunities present both before and after the opening of the planned station.

Key project goals include:
· Maximize public benefits associated with the planned station investment
· Catalyze economic & community development serving Bridgeport’s East Side, East End, and Mill Hill neighborhoods
· Connect residents and employers with new transit services at Barnum Station
· Determine how the former Remgrit factory site, the station site, and other major vacant properties in the area can best contribute to these goals

As a starting point, it is assumed that important qualities desired in the revitalized TOD area include reinforcing the community’s multi-cultural character; attracting a mix of land uses including workplaces, housing, retail and parks; and making walking safe and inviting throughout the area, especially to and from the planned station. Plan goals will be revised to reflect priorities stated by community members, and will be expressed in words and illustrations as a community vision for the Barnum Station TOD Plan area.

The TOD Plan will recommend key strategies to capture this opportunity, through coordinated actions by the City of Bridgeport and other stakeholders, like; area property and business owners, community organizations, and state agencies. Plan products will include:
· Comprehensive Vision
· Planning Sub-Districts
· Opportunities and Constraints Analysis
· Land Use and Redevelopment Strategies
· Development Regulations
· Mobility and Connections
· Urban Design and Placemaking
· Adequacy of Public Infrastructure
· Adaptive Re-use Strategy for the Remgrit Site

Community Outreach
Community input on priority concerns and goals is essential to the success of the TOD Plan. The planning process includes a series of public meetings providing opportunity for community members to express their ideas, goals and questions, and to review and refine the emerging plan vision and strategies. It also includes a series of meetings with an Oversight Committee composed of key stakeholders from the study area. The public and oversight committee meetings support a community conversation on the study area’s future, informed by local priorities and planning team research, into effective methods to address those priorities. Strong stakeholder support is essential to success of the plan. We welcome your participation in the plan’s community engagement opportunities so that the plan may earn your support!

TOD Plan Funding
The City has received a grant from the State Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to develop the TOD Master Plan and a grant from the State Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to develop an Adaptive Reuse Strategy for the 889 Barnum Avenue property (Remgrit site).

Other Initiatives That Inform the TOD Plan
A number of other recent and ongoing planning efforts by the City of Bridgeport, MetroCOG (formerly GBRC), the State of Connecticut and other parties provide a valuable foundation for the TOD Plan. These plans represent significant investments of financial and time resources from a wide variety of community stakeholders and public agencies. The TOD Plan builds on the good information and ideas of these plans as it identifies a focused vision and implementation strategies for the Barnum Station TOD Plan area. A partial list of past and ongoing plans includes:

· East Bridgeport Seaview Avenue Development Corridor – Draft (ongoing)
· Bridgeport Waterfront Plan (ongoing)
· State of Connecticut Economic Development Strategy (2015)
· Pequonnock River Trail Extension Alignment Study (2015)
· Let’s Go CT! Transportation Vision (2015)
· Market Overview of the Seaview Corridor (2014)
· Barnum Station Feasibility Study (2013)
· Mill Hill Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) Strategic Plan (2013)
· Complete Streets Policy & Action Plan (2011)
· East Side Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) Strategic Plan (2010)
· BGreen 2020 (2010)
· Bridgeport 2020 Master Plan of Conservation & Development (2008)
· East End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) Strategic Plan (2005)

Schedule
Project schedule milestones:
· Spring 2016: Invite community input on concerns and goals for the study area; analyze market and development potential, Remgrit building conditions, street and park network opportunities, and other existing conditions.
· Summer 2016: Develop vision scenarios.
· Fall 2016: Share scenarios with community members for feedback. Confirm a preferred vision and the plan initiatives that will help achieve it.
· Winter 2017: Complete additional recommendations for the Remgrit and Station sites so they may catalyze positive change in the area.

More info here.

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Stringfellow

    I am not sure this project is going help much if at all. What about the surrounding homes in the area? Sure, this station is walking distance for those who ride the train. How many people on the East Side ride the train to work? The jobs created by the station will last as long as the project does. These are mainly union workers skilled at a task. How many jobs will the station create after it is done?

    Will the station bring any taxes to the city?

    The old Remgrit site could be an Amazon warehouse. The city owns it. How long is it going to sit like it is now? Amazon would create jobs and taxes. It has just enough space. The city needs companies here that will bring taxes and jobs that pay well above the minimum wage.

    Like all pie in the sky ideas for Bridgeport, time will tell.

    • Frank Gyure

      Did not Amazon just announce closing their Wallingford Distribution center? I have a faint recollection of this being announced within the last few months.

  • Stringfellow

    Watching Ch 8 news tonight and Amazon wants to hire 100,000 people, I hope it is not true for Wallingford. Considering the stores Sears, K-Mart and Macy’s are closing because of on-line shopping.

    The RemGrit property needs something there, same holds for the property on the corner of Seaview Avenue to Grant Street. There are too many vacant properties, the city needs to do a better job marketing them. Even if they are sold below the market price the return with taxes and jobs might be worth it.

  • Bob Halstead

    Thanks for the information.
    Something has to be done to improve connectivity along the Bridgeport waterfront and its fragmented neighborhoods and business district. Bridgeport should take a page from cities such as New Haven that have become bike-friendly.
    In my opinion, the Congress Street Bridge should factor in as a pedestrian bridge as should the Pleasure Beach Bridge.
    A rails to Trails bike path to Remington Woods, an adaptive re-use of the sturdy historic former Remington buildings on Barnum Avenue, a strategy for combating vacant houses in limbo foreclosure, re-establishment of a Neighborworks Neighborhood Housing Services on the East Side, establishment of an Amtrak Acela stop, an adaptive re-use of the historic Shot Tower, a greenway park along Yellow Mill Creek, a pedestrian linkage to Bridgeport Hospital and a planning team that really does listen to local stakeholders and the hiring of local planners who live here to be instrumental in planning our city!

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Please stop with the Bike Path idea. It is a waste of money and in Bridgeport’s case the bike path at Beardsley park has really damaged the park’s appearance and made it difficult for people to get close to the water. Why did we waste all this money for something no one uses? Enough already.

  • Bob Halstead

    The bike path in Beardsley was not a problem with the concept but a Finch boondoggle.
    Look at any city with a robust economy and chances are they also not coincidentally have decent bike commute alternatives.

  • Stringfellow

    Bridgeport needs to be the place where people are coming to work, not the other way around. There was a time when that was the case. Bridgeport had it all.

    Bridgeport has enough parks. They lack things for people to do. Not everyone is a runner or looking to soak up some sun. When is the fishing pier at Seaside Park going to get repaired? There was talk of a restaurant at the bathhouse, sunsets and dinner, what a nice combination. Jet ski rental, PWC and kite boarding classes.

    Pleasure Beach could use an outdoor venue and attractions to get more people there. Look at the islands near Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod. See how they do their utilities and public safety.

    The arena should explore arena football and semi-pro basketball.

    What is the future of the old dog track? Between that and the old jai alai there is a lot of real estate not to mention a lot of it is on the water. Stamford and Norwalk seem to have waterfront dining, Bridgeport should too. The time has passed when there should be some fresh eyes looking at this old city. The potential is there if you have the right people for the right reasons.

  • Bob Halstead

    String, I don’t agree with the jet skiing idea. It’s the most selfish, obnoxious thing going. Kayaks and sculling are long overdue. None of these planners give a hoot about us Bridgeport folk. They are all outside, ineffective, self-serving mercenaries who do what they are told.

  • Stringfellow

    Okay Bob.

    Kayaking and sculling by the old sailing school or on the river by the dog track. Fairfield U. used to have their rowing club there. Perhaps saltwater flyfishing lessons too. The potential is there but things like this have to be in the right hands for the desired results. Anything positive would be an improvement.

  • Frank Gyure

    What good are our waterfront resources as long as we have to deal with the likes of O&G?

  • Bob Halstead

    Arrogance and territorialism and greed have to exit. There are enough creative young folks who get it. I hope they get more active. There are signs they are!

  • Stringfellow

    I agree, something has to done with O&G. However unless there is an immediate plan on a replacement it should stay. The city can ill afford to lose the taxes. Not having a replacement is why the city is in its current state. You don’t want the former O&G site to sit dormant for decades like CarTech and many others.

    No more brownfields. Make a decision on dredging the harbor or stop talking about doing it. Come up with plan B if dredging is not going to be done. The Congress Street bridge could be built in a month if they take a page from the Manafort Brothers Route 8 project last year.

    Does anyone know what is being done to the old Kaufman Fuel site on East Washington Avenue? The razor ribbon fence is new and the lot looks like it was paved. There is something being done with the building next to the dump.

    The problems are many and the solutions so few.

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