RECENT GHTD INITIATIVES
Paratransit Maintenance and Operations Facility: CONSTRUCTION BEGINS!
Currently the Greater Hartford Transit District operates its paratransit service out of a leased facility in the City of Hartford. While that facility is adequate, it does not allow for efficient maintenance and operation of the paratransit fleet. To improve the operation, the District has purchased land on Roberts Street in East Hartford for the construction of a modern operations facility. The new facility includes separate operations and maintenance areas. The operations area will include a training room, dispatch area, reservations area, scheduler area, copier and storage room, server room, drivers’ break room, lunch room, and management offices. The maintenance area consists of: four maintenance bays, storage area, parts room, mechanic’s room, wash bay with water/oil separator, vehicle parking, restrooms/ locker rooms, and a fueling station. A plan view of the proposed facility is available here. Construction began in the fall of 2015, with contractor Banton Construction. Construction photos can be viewed here.
Development of a Transit Center at Union Station
In an effort to more fully integrate Union Station with local CTtransit bus service and to improve amenities for transit users, the District constructed a local bus Transit Center on the northeast side of the station. Located on Union Place, the Center is the new downtown terminus for CTtransit routes 82, 83 and 84, and also serves the Bradley Flyer (Route 30). Service to the Center was initiated in December 2015. The Center provides improved passenger waiting facilities, in fact, it is the only indoor waiting area for CTtransit in downtown Hartford. With the Center in place, transfers between local bus and rail and intercity bus are more convenient. A small store is located in the Center as a convenience to passengers and nearby residents and employees.
Digital signage in the station
Improved passenger information signage debuted in Union Station in Fall 2014. Digital signs were installed at each bus gate, providing up to date information on bus departure times and destinations. Inside the transportation center, departure screens list all trains and buses with departure times and gate/platform. The signs are linked to "real time" information and automatically update to reflect any changes in arrival and departure times. A touchscreen information kiosk installed in the Transportation Center enables visitors to the area to learn about the many places of interest in downtown Hartford.
The Intermodal Triangle Project
The Greater Hartford Transit District is assisting the City of Hartford in the implementation of the Intermodal Triangle Project. Currently under construction, this project will strengthen the region's economic and employment core by improving downtown intermodal connections and increasing transit access through the downtown area. Ford and Jewel Streets, which border the north edge of Bushnell Park, are being rebuilt with traffic calming features to provide a promenade along the park and to improve pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. Asylum, Pearl and Main Street, as well as Union Place, are being improved for transit and pedestrian use. Improved bus stops and pedestrian amenities are already in place in much of the project. The Union Station Transit Center, discussed above, was constructed as part of the Intermodal project.
Sigourney Street Station Bus Livability Improvements
Working with the City of Hartford, the Greater Hartford Transit District (GHTD) is overseeing the development of the Sigourney Street Station – Connectivity Improvements Project. This project will construct a series of improvements in the vicinity of the Sigourney Street Station of the New Britain-Hartford Bus Rapid Transit Project (CTfastrak) to enhance access to the station for residents and employees in the station area. These street and sidewalk updates will improve ridership potential and improve the livability and sustainability of the communities around this station. Improvements included are beyond those provided as part of the CTfastrak construction and focus on improving pedestrian connections to the station and creating safe, convenient, accessible and attractive pedestrian routes to the station from surrounding residential and employment districts. Project activities include wayfinding signage, new and/or enhanced sidewalks, new crosswalks at desired crossing locations, traffic calming, pedestrian scale lighting, and aesthetic improvements such as planting street trees and landscaping. A contractor has been selected for construction: Paramount Construction . Construction will begin in April 2016.
The Greater Hartford Transit District is serving as the administrator of a Federal Transit Administration Bus Livability grant made to the City of New Britain. The grant funded project will improve the Main street overpass of Route 72, transforming a desolate highway bridge into a walkable and bikeable link between two sections of the downtown. The project is currently in design. Preliminary sketches of that design can be viewed here.
Acquisition of alternative fuel buses
The District is committed to exploring cleaner fuel systems to reduce its carbon footprint. Making use of federal and state grants, we have purchased two hybrid electric gas buses and 26 compressed natural gas fueled buses. Monitoring is ongoing to determine how these vehicles perform in paratransit service. The District will be examining the feasibility of propane powered vehicles.
Bike share investigation
The Greater Hartford Transit District and the Capitol Region Council of Governments have been working with a consortium of agencies to investigate the feasibility of implementing a bike share system in the Metro Hartford Region. Bike share systems – like those implemented in Boston, New York City and Washington DC – allow for short term rental of bicycles. The rentals are usually less than ½ hour and the bike is usually picked up in one location and dropped at another. Bike share has the potential to complement the new transit investments in the region: the CTfastrak busway from Hartford to New Britain and commuter rail service on the New Haven/Hartford/Springfield rail line. The feasibility report can be accessed here: http://www.hartfordtransit.org/bikeshare.html
Regional Shelter Program
In a partnership with the Capitol Region Council of Governments and CTtransit, Hartford Division, the District is implementing a regional bus shelter program. This program will install bus shelters in the City of Hartford and the Towns of Bloomfield, East Hartford, Newington, South Windsor, Wethersfield and Windsor Locks. Some of the shelters will have advertising panels, which will help to fund the maintenance of the shelters. CTTRANSIT will assume responsibility for the daily and long term maintenance of all the shelters installed through this program. Funding is provided through federal transit enhancement funds with the CT DOT and the participating towns providing the local match. To date, shelters have been installed in Windsor Locks and Windsor.
Increase in Accessible Taxi Availability
Recent studies of transportation needs in the region have identified the difficulties faced by individuals with disabilities when they have to make a trip but do not have the lead time to reserve an ADA paratransit trip, or they need to make a trip outside of ADA hours. For most individuals without access to a car, a taxi can serve these last minute needs. But for an individual in a wheelchair, until recently, a taxi was not an option. Now, federal grant money has enabled several taxi companies to add accessible taxis to their fleet. The District has managed or is managing several of these grants: overseeing the purchase of vehicles for Yellow Cab, Executive 2000 Taxi, and Ace Taxi; and instituting a taxi voucher program for individuals with disabilities who use these providers for taxi service. Most recently, 5 accessible vehicles were placed in service by Ace Taxi and Executive 2000 Taxi put its voucher program into place.