I was going on a run the other day (no, really), and I wanted to check out Long Wharf. Cause, you know, it’s pretty and whatnot. It turns out, actually running to Long Wharf isn’t that easy. In fact, it’s a downright pain in the ass.
You essentially have to cross under the I-95 overpass, or, as I like to call it, The Tunnel of Broken Glass (and Dreams). And then you take a right on Long Wharf, dodging cars until you’re over in Food Truck City (Capitol: Nextali). And it’s pretty nice. Except, you know, for the non-stop traffic behind you.
You can, of course, drive to Long Wharf. That’s easy enough. But in a transit-oriented city, how is it that the only way to get to the waterfront is a CAR?
Come on, New Haven.
In a blog post, New Haven architect Jonathan Hopkins described how moving I-95 further out into the water would reclaim a ton of waterfront space. But here in Reality, that shit is never gonna happen.
So what can we do to encourage all of those Ikea shoppers to come on by and enjoy the waterfront?
Why, a majestic pedestrian bridge over I-95, of course!
Behold … Josh’s Cool Bridge:
As you can see, it’s a pedestrian-only bridge. Well, pedestrians and bikes, I think. I’m flexible on the use of drab gray, but I insist it has stairs and/or a ramp, as I’ve carefully drawn using my expert Photoshop skills.
I might even be convinced of a different name.
Also, it’d be way closer to Ikea but I couldn’t find a decent picture of that part of the highway to steal from the Internet, sorry. (You can sue me for my total lack of profits, Internet.)
By building this bridge, we connect the now-isolated Long Wharf area to the popular Long Wharf Theater and Ikea. Imagine if you could go buy a lovely Grönkulla at Ikea, then enjoy a spicy Nextali taco over in the food truck area, enjoy the setting sun, and then take in a play at the Theater!
Sure, you could do that now, but you’ve had to drive your car like some sort of 20th century Neanderthal. Gross.
One of New Haven’s sad truths is the lack of waterfront development. It’s a terrible waste of beautiful, smelly property, and without moving the highway (Sorry, Jon), there isn’t a TON to be done about it.
New Haven is opening a Long Wharf Visitor Center, and the addition of Lenny and Joe’s is an excellent start, but we really need to do more.
Where Does The Money Come From?
I don’t know, what am I, some sort of Money Scientist?
Obviously, this would be a bit expensive. Probably like… way more than 30 or 40 dollars. I get that.
But you could make the money back in economic development. Sell a permit for a foot cart on the bridge itself! Plus, you can sell advertising on the pedestrian bridge. I assume, since it’s my idea, that betweentworocks.com will get free advertising forever. Which will probably lead to us being profitable in 2024.
I just can’t help but feel that the isolation of Long Wharf has been a significant problem for waterfront development. There’s simply no easy way to get there — especially if you aren’t driving.
Admittedly, even getting to Ikea, most people drive, since nobody wants to deal with Water/Brewery St. But maybe a few bike lanes and suddenly this whole idea becomes more attractive. I mean, the current layout is a bit… sub-optimal?
Long Wharf Can Be So Much More
Waterfront property is, generally speaking, the most coveted and desired. But somehow, New Haven, in their brilliance of urban planning, thought to themselves, “How can we absolutely ruin all of our waterfront property?”
“I know! We’ll build oil refineries and an enormous highway intersection where people can sit in traffic!”
Somehow, despite all that, food trucks have managed to scratch together a little community and people love that shit. Well, people who drive cars.
Can I hear myself saying, “Let’s ride our bikes over the Josh’s Cool Bridge and get some tacos! And stand on the pier and remember our youths, when we had hopes and dreams before they dissolved into the creeping realization that you’ll never amount to everything you’d hoped”?
Heck yeah I can!
So let’s get this bridge built. Maybe we can make Yale pay for it. They love paying for shit, right? And paying taxes. I heard that about them.
Long Wharf is a sadly under-utilized part of the city. It has the theater and Brazi’s and Ikea and the food trucks and a restaurant and a sad off-track betting area and a couple of boats you can ride on and enjoy the wonders of Long Island Sound.
Now let’s actually get people there.