BERLIN — The Capitol Region Council of Governments will host a public meeting tonight to gather feedback on potential local bus service improvements, including a change in the Berlin route and new service in Southington.
CRCOG representatives will present the Comprehensive Transit Service Analysis at a meeting from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library meeting room, 243 Kensington Road. An additional meeting will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the New Britain Public Library community room, 20 High St.
The Comprehensive Transit Service Analysis is a collaboration by CRCOG, the Connecticut Department of Transportation, CTtransit and the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments. After the public hearings, the group will make a final report in spring.
The study team developed a draft preferred service scenario to improve CTtransit bus service in the New Britain-Bristol Division. The draft was developed based on the two scenarios that were presented to the public during the spring of 2017 and the feedback received by the study team.
The draft is intended to address current issues and improve overall service, and consists of three phases. Phase 1 would include the majority of service improvements, while phases 2 and 3 would each build on that with additional service expansions. Phase 1 is cost-neutral, and would not require additional funding to be implemented, while Phase 3 includes all service improvement recommendations.
Notable changes include Route 501 between New Britain and Meriden to include Arch Street, Farmington Avenue, Lower Lane, Berlin Turnpike, and Colony Road into service to Meriden’s Westfield mall and MidState Medical Center. Service along Chamberlain Highway would be discontinued due to low ridership potential, according to a statement announcing the presentation.
“We do recommend rerouting one route and adding a second route that goes to the train station and links to Meriden,” said Cara Radzins, principal transit planner for CRCOG.
The bus route would pass the Berlin train station, giving riders the option to travel north to Hartford and Springfield via rail.
“We’ve been talking about downtown New Britain to the train station,” said Berlin Economic Development Director Chris Edge. “They are trying to coordinate responses before making decisions.”
Edge and other town officials hope to piggyback economic development around the new train station through new housing and commercial space. The bus system through the eastern part of the town will add another piece to the puzzle.
Route 542 would provide new service connecting Bristol and Plainville to Southington, operating via West Street, West Queen Street, and Queen Street. Connections to other routes would be available at the Lake Avenue Park & Ride, downtown Bristol, and Connecticut Commons in Plainville.
Phase 2 would include an expansion of service in Southington by operating along West Street, Main Street, and Queen Street. Phase 3 would include an additional expansion of service north to Unionville.
The group plans to issue a final report in the first quarter of 2018 to present to the state Department of Transportation and CTtransit.