Anger and frustration could be heard in the air during working weekdays as transit commuters and others using the CTfastrak bus rapid transit system in downtown New Britain found themselves being directed, during railway construction, down a long detour with poor conditions for walking.
Construction was being conducted by Pan-Am Railway on the Main Street railroad at-grade crossing during November 15th, 16th and 17th, 2017, according to a “Notice of Construction” appearing on the city’s website. The construction closed Main Street to vehicle traffic between Columbus Boulevard and East Main Street.
The construction also completely cut-off pedestrian access to the primary entrance to the Downtown New Britain CTfastrak Station to and from the center of downtown. Commuters going to and coming from the CTFastrak Station were detoured to distant the walkway entrance on the east side of the CTFastrak station. Pedestrians could also walk around the Washington-Myrtle-Main Street block.
The detour to the east side of the CTFastrak Station added approximately a quarter mile of walking distance for commuters and others on foot to and from the corner of Main Street and Columbus Boulevard.
The crosswalk over Columbus Boulevard at the east entrance to the station was poorly lit for those walking there after sundown. Sunset was approximately 4:30pm. In addition, a section of the sidewalk along the detour was gravel and dirt, having been stripped of its concrete pavement.
The “Notice of Construction” on the city website stated that, “a one (1) day closure to pedestrian traffic,” was expected. However, the Main Street pedestrian crossing was noted as being closed during at least two days.