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Photo by Ian Christmann

On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, the Greater Hartford Transit District (the “District”) culminated a massive eighteen-month long construction project with the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony of its new state-of-the-art ADA Paratransit Operations and Maintenance Facility, located at 148 Roberts Street  in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Prior to the constructing of this 37,000 sq foot facility which sits on approximately 5.6 acres, the District had operated its ADA paratransit service out of a leased facility in Hartford, Connecticut (an old Harley Davidson showroom).  While the former facility was adequate in the early years, it did not allow for efficient maintenance and operation of the existing paratransit fleet or for the significant growth that the service has experienced over time. 

The Roberts Street location was selected through a detailed analysis of commercial properties available within a 10-mile radius of the Downtown Hartford area.   Several properties had been considered and evaluated, but this specific site met the minimum criteria previously determined by the District.  The criteria included;  location near to the center of the service area for efficient dispatching; easy access to the highway, sufficient space to accommodate the system’s current and future operational needs, suitable zoning for the proposed use, low impact on the environment, cost of the parcel, surrounding land uses, etc…

There was no question after careful analysis and consideration that the 148 Roberts Street parcel was the location that best met the needs of the District, the employees, and most importantly the passengers.

Fast forward twelve years later, the newly constructed state of the art facility boasts separate operations and maintenance areas.  In addition to housing offices for management, the operations area consists of a training room, dispatch area, reservations area, scheduling area,  conference room, server and communication rooms, quiet room for drivers, lunch room, restrooms/ locker room (with shower access), and a fitness room.  The maintenance area consists of four maintenance bays, a storage area, parts room, mechanics room, wash bay with water/oil separator, vehicle parking, restrooms/ locker room (with shower access), and a fueling station.

The District’s ADA paratransit service provider, First Transit, moved into the new facility with their 270 employees in mid-July and began operation immediately to ensure a seamless transition of service delivery to our disabled passengers.  The District oversees one of the largest paratransit operations in New England and provides over 500,000 passenger trips annually.   

The success of this project was funded with the financial support from the Federal Transit Administration and the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

The Intermodal Triangle Project is Nearing Completion

The Greater Hartford Transit District is assisting the City of Hartford in the implementation of the Intermodal Triangle Project, which is nearing completion. The intent of this project is to 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, have been 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, have been 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 are Complete!

Working with the City of Hartford, the Greater Hartford Transit District (GHTD) oversaw the development of the Sigourney Street Station – Connectivity Improvements Project. This constructed 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. Improvements focused 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. Construction was completed in the Summer of 2017.

New Britain
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 generally consists of streetscape improvements along Main Street, East Main Street and Myrtle Street. The project includes the construction of the "Beehive Bridge" as well as small parks on the southern corners of the Main Street and East Main Street intersection. A "road diet" will be used to decrease the road width on the Main Street Overpass, making the area more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. The Beehive Bridge project ties into the previous phases of New Britain's Downtown Revitalization efforts. City of New Britain signed a contract on 5/1/18 with contractor Martin Laviero. The contract value is approx. $7.5 million, with $1.6 million in FTA funds. The project is expected to take 425 calendar days and substantial completion is scheduled for 10/28/19.

Regional Shelter Program
In a partnership with the Capitol Region Council of Governments and CTtransit, Hartford Division, the District has been working to implementing a regional bus shelter program. This program has been used to install bus shelters in a number of towns, including East Hartford, South Windsor, Windsor Locks, Bloomfield and Wethersfield. Future shelter installation is being planned for the City of Hartford. Some of the shelters will have advertising panels, which will help to fund the maintenance of the shelters. Funding is provided through federal transit enhancement funds with the CTDOT and the participating towns providing the local match.

Freedom Ride Program for Accessible Taxi Service
Studies of transportation needs in the Greater Hartford region have identified difficulties faced by individuals with disabilities who may require same-day trips, or need to schedule a ride outside of the ADA Paratransit service area and/or hours of operation. For most individuals without access to a car, a taxi could serve these particular needs. But for an individual who uses a wheelchair, until recently taxi service was not an option. Now, federal grant money has enabled several taxi companies to add accessible cabs to their fleet. Freedom Ride is a prepaid reduced-fare voucher program offering a 50% discount from the standard taxicab rate, with a minimum voucher deposit of $25 and a maximum of $50. Freedom Ride is available to all ADA-certified passengers. For more information about the Freedom Ride Taxi Voucher program and how to register, please visit www.hartfordtransit.org/freedom-ride.html, or call 860-247-5329 extension 3086.