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Clinton’s Shoreline east train station is slated for upgrades in spring 2019. (Photo by Eric O’Connell/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Commuters from Clinton will be excited to hear that the town is “all aboard” on much-anticipated upgrades to its train station that should begin in spring 2019. Those watching the town’s economic development prospects will be glad to learn the station will now also link to the north side, which abuts the currently empty Unilever site.
The project is out to bid, according to a July 27 post on the town’s website. Improvements to the station will include a pedestrian bridge over the tracks with stair towers and elevators, increased parking, lighting improvements, a pickup and drop-off zone, and a bike shelter.
The town also plans to discuss expanded train service and other site improvements with Amtrak and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT).
“With the upgraded station, the new platform will allow increased service with existing trains because more trains will be able to stop,” said First Selectman Christine Goupil. “There will be an estimated six to eight additional trains per day.”
Goupil said the town would work with the DOT and the Regional Planning Agency, RiverCog, to examine changes to the design, particularly the parking.
“This will include a comparison of ridership increases alongside parking increases in the surrounding towns. A parking demand analysis could test the proposed supply with anticipated future demand,” Goupil said. “Clinton will expect riders who had migrated to surrounding towns to return to Clinton with the availability of increased service on Shore Line East.
With the station being enlarged and the site more visible from Route One due to the new, neighboring CVS, the plan calls for visual improvements, as well.
“Landscaping along the entire site plan was raised as a way of creating a consistent identity for the station and beautification of our downtown,” Goupil continued.
The northern area of the station was discussed as being used for a bus stop for the 9-Town Transit route.
“We also wanted to ensure maximum pedestrian access to the site and circulation around the site. It was important to raise implications for pedestrian safety, parking and circulation with the CVS development along the southern edge of the station. The town is looking forward to a productive relationship with the DOT and incorporating the results of the Route 1 Corridor Study and the future Route 81 Corridor Study,” Goupil said.
For more on the Route 81 Corridor Study, visit www.zip06.com.
Goupil said that the rebuilding of the train station is an important piece of improving downtown Clinton due to the station’s proximity to the former Unilever property and the downtown.
“This is the heart of our commercial and arts center of our town and adjacent to the former Unilever factory. This facility, at over 250,000 of existing building square footage and over 20 acres of surrounding property, represents one of the largest redevelopment opportunities anywhere along the Shore Line East corridor,” Goupil said. “We have identified this property, and the planned improvements to the train station, as key components to revitalization in our 2015 Plan of Conservation & Development.”
Improvements to the train station were originally presented to the town in October 2017 by DOT officials, however the project was put on hold in January 2018 due to cuts by the state. The train station upgrades were to cost $18 million and be paid for by the state. The project was originally slated to begin in March 2018 and be finished by the end of 2019. Other stations along the Shoreline East have received a second round of upgrades at their stations before Clinton was able to receive a first round.
“The selectman’s office and town staff are committed to working with the DOT to ensure the best possible outcome for the town and welcome community input and questions,” Goupil said.
Interested residents may contact Goupil at email@example.com.