New Britain Downtown Plan

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New Britain Downtown Plan
New Britain, Connecticut
2005-2008
with the Yale Urban Design Workshop

New Britain, Connecticut was once a major industrial town, but like other cities in the northeast, today, much of the former industrial job base had disappeared, and suburban flight has left the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods devoid of their former vibrancy.  Building on the recent development of arts-related and educational uses, the New Britain Downtown Plan is based on the notion that downtowns can once again be vibrant, compact, transit-oriented, mixed-use environments.  Through the addition of substantial new residential development to the downtown district, comprehensive revitalization can take place and new, 24-hour populations will make streets feel safer and livelier, for both residents and commercial development that serves this new downtown population.

In addition to 1,200 new units of downtown residential, the New Britain Downtown Plan proposes a series of new projects to strengthen the character of New Britain’s core.  A vehicular roundabout provides a new gateway to the city, and anchors one end of the district.  Other projects take advantage of underutilized sites – these include Theater Square, an urban green which will provide a public front porch to several theaters and arts organizations at the southern end of downtown, a new mixed-use civic building which will anchor the south end of Main Street, a downtown Busway Terminal on Main Street linking the city to Hartford, and a new CCSU events center and revitalized shopping district at the north end of Main Street.  All of these projects are linked by a new greenway via a series of existing and new public spaces.  The plan employs various strategies to improve the pedestrian environment along this route: reducing vehicular right-of-ways and increasing sidewalk widths, using bulb-outs to reduce crosswalk lengths, new through block pedestrian passages, as well as streetscape improvements.

The New Britain Downtown Plan is a collaboration between Harrall-Michalowski Associates, the Yale Urban Design Workshop, Community Initiatives Development Corporation, and the Maguire Group.  The YUDW served as urban designer.

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