|Middletown's Plan of Development
TRANSPORTATION AND CIRCULATION PLAN
The purpose of this Transportation and circulation Plan in the Plan of Development is to determine and record recommendations for the long-range transportation needs of the City of Middletown. These recommendations, if implemented, will increase the capacity and safety of the existing and future transportation network. This plan recognizes that many transportation problems are regional in scope and therefore a regional approach is essential. The goals of this portion of the Plan of Development are as follows:
EXISTING ROAD NETWORK
A basic understanding of the existing road network is essential before articulating any objectives, strategies or modifications to the existing network.
Two major highways link Middletown with the region and the nation. The other streets in the system, whether designated as highways or local streets, appear to have developed on an incremental basis with little evidence of being consciously planned as part of an adequate circulation system.
The two major highways, Interstate 91 and State Route 9, both run north and south through the city, but do not link directly with each other within the city. The recently completed Central Connecticut Expressway (Rte. 9) now links the Middletown Central Business District with Interstate 91 and Interstate 84. The completion of this expressway is bound to have positive and far-reaching effects on the traffic patterns in the city.
The other major east/west link is State Route 66, also called Washington Street. Washington Street links Middletown’s Central Business District with Meriden to the west and after crossing the Connecticut River, over the Arrigoni Bridge, with Portland to the east. Other than Interstate 84, Route 66 is the only east-west highway in Connecticut south of Hartford and north of Interstate 95 at Long Island Sound.
No local street, other than Main Street and deKoven Drive in the Central Business District, permits traffic to move from north to south or vice versa without a jog east or west usually at Washington Street. Several arterial streets radiate out from the Central Business District. Route 17, South Main Street, reaches New Haven to the south. Route 372, Newfield Street, reaches Cromwell and Berlin to the north.
The transportation network in the Central Business District and its relative convenience and ease of flow is an important ingredient in the economic growth and prosperity of the city and specifically the Central Business District. For this reason, the network in the Central Business District was carefully analyzed in order to correct current problems and plan for the future growth and economic prosperity of the most important area in the city. The city contracted with Wilbur Smith Associates to undertake a comprehensive Downtown Traffic Study. This study of the current Central Business District traffic situation and recommendations for the future is incorporated in it entirety into this section of the City of Middletown Plan of Development for the year 2000.
While it is essential that traffic flow be optimized in the downtown area, it is equally as important that traffic flow be optimized on the arterials, collectors and local streets. These streets feed traffic, including shippers and employees into the Central Business District and receive traffic from the Central Business District. In order to better understand the road network, it is broken down into functional classifications as discussed below. Figure 8.1 is a map which displays the functional classification of the existing street system.
Expressways: Designed for heavy volumes of through traffic with limited access to abutting properties. (Interstate 91 and Route 9)
Arterial Road: Designed to efficiently distribute local and regional traffic through the city and between communities. All state-numbered routes which are not limited access are arterials.
Collector Roads: Serve primarily to funnel traffic from residential areas to arterial streets. The aim of the plan is to keep as much traffic as possible on these streets and the arterials. These streets create superblocks in their patter. Within these superblocks , development of residences can take place with local street freed from fast and heavy traffic.
Local Streets: Function to provide access to residential properties. While primarily these streets are designed only for local traffic, it is recognized that many of them are experiencing high traffic volumes due to the fact that they represent an alternative to congested collectors. Therefore, in terms of volume, many could also be considered collectors.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE IMPROVEMENTS
Having an understanding of the existing road network, the Transportation and Circulation Plan now recommends the following transportation strategies and objectives for improving the transportation network in the city.
Short Term Recommendations
TRAFFIC AND THE AIR QUALITY ISSUE
While air pollution from non-point mobile sources (automobiles), is largely a situation which must be addressed at the regional if not state and national levels, Middletown, being the commercial center and leader within the region, should begin to address these air quality concerns in its Plan of Development for the year 2000. For this reason the Transportation and Circulation portion of the Plan of Development will now outline and endorse local level strategies designed to allow the City to begin to do its part in improving air quality in the MidState Region. Most, if not all, of the recommendations above will help lead to the reduction of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons in the air.
These street improvements which increase capacity, reduce congestion, produce higher speed links in the road network and shorten travel distances tend to reduce emissions due to smoother traffic flow as well as high and more uniform speeds.
Other local level strategies for reducing mobile source emissions, which the city should now be actively promoting are:
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