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Article Published August 26, 2020

Not a Minor Concern

By Jeannette Redensek

Recent articles and letters in The Sound have alerted readers to the plans for large apartment and commercial developments on the banks of the Branford River. These projects would pack 380 new apartments and more than 600 new residents into narrow lots along the river and the Amtrak-Shoreline East train tracks.

Meanwhile, the developers predict little or no increased automobile traffic. Common sense and lived experience tell us otherwise.

The projects are touted as “transit-friendly,” in reference to the nearby Shoreline East station. That proximity is being used by developers to skimp on parking and under-estimate traffic impacts. A few new residents may indeed use the line to commute to work, but trains won’t bring them to the store, or take them to the beach, or get them up to North Haven to visit their mothers.

Shoreline residents know our communities are not transit-friendly. We’re hardly even transit-acquainted! And wishing otherwise won’t make it so. Moreover, building four-story apartment buildings right up against the train embankments will foreclose the possibility of ever being able to add new tracks to the line.

These developments will substantially increase traffic, as new residents must use narrow neighborhood streets to reach I-95 and Route 1. Main Street, Maple Street, Kirkham Street, Cedar Street, Montowese Street, and Indian Neck Avenue will all see significantly more traffic. Neighborhood streets such as Rogers, Elm, Church, and Hopson Avenue will also be negatively affected.

Traffic is not a minor concern. It irritates our nerves, it wastes our time, it spoils our air, it destroys the peace of our streets—in short, it degrades exactly those qualities of life that make our communities livable.

There’s a need for thoughtful residential development in Branford, but these three projects are just too big for their locations.

Jeannette Redensek