The Yale Urban Design Workshop, led by Alan Plattus, has completed their Milford Downtown Plan. This is the second time YUDW has worked with the City of Milford, the last plan having been published in 2003.
Relative to 10 years ago, downtown has seen promising growth with an influx of new apartments, restaurants, nightlife spots, and independently owned retail. The newest plans calls for follow-through on many of the incomplete recommendations made in 2003, and even more ambitious optimizations and development for continued growth.
YUDW began the study in 2011, working closely with Milford Progress, Inc. A community workshop was held in the Milford Public Library in February 2012. Many residents expressed concern over a number of issues, including but not limited to: maintaining the charm and appearance of downtown, preserving Fowler Field as public space, and the need for a parking garage.
Many of these concerns were taken into consideration in the final plan. Plans to develop Fowler Field commercially were scrapped, and the plan now suggests optimizing that land for public park use. The plan calls for phased improvements over the next 1-10 years.
The full study can be downloaded here.
Some highlights of the plan include:
- Improved signage for way finding and parking.
- Improvements for better pedestrian and bike flow.
- The creation of the Wepawaug River Trail. A relatively small investment could provide a scenic walkway that connects the harbor and Fowler Field to City Hall and the duck ponds. This would help link neighborhoods and areas Downtown while showcasing the area’s natural beauty.
- Improved traffic flow, namely at the New Haven Ave/Broad Street/River Street intersection. The current orientation is confusing to visitors and not optimal, and streetscape improvements can be made to make the intersection safer and more pedestrian friendly.
- Visual improvements to the River Street railroad bridge as an attractive “gateway” to Downtown.
- The building of a multi-story parking garage adjacent to the courthouse.
- Better utilization of commercial space. Most urgently being the rezoning and redevelopment of 18 New Haven Ave into a more appropriate mixed-use property.
- Development of the west end of the green. Currently underutilized and lacking the restaurants, shops and vibrancy of the eastern end of downtown. Recommendations include mixed-use development in and around 247 Greens End Place, as well as similar exploration at the old CVS site.
- Optimizing Fowler Field for waterfront access and more efficient open space. A dedicated bandshell is recommended for events.