tod news

Residents excited for CTfastrak busway to open
Erica Schmitt | Newington Town Crier

 

The McLean station of Metro's Silver Line on June 23 in McLean, Virginia.

 If the turnout at the town’s CTfastrak open house Monday night was any indication, Newington residents are anxious for the busway to open this coming March.

 

The state Department of Transportation is hosting 10 different open houses at locations across central Connecticut this month through January.

 

People flooded Newington High School for Monday’s event to learn more about bus routes and planning specific trips.

 

“It’s a really good crowd tonight; it seems like there’s a lot of interest,” said Sara Radasci, a DOT transportation planner.

“I think people are just trying to figure out which route goes where,” added Radasci, who spent the evening passing out pamphlets outlining each route and its scheduled stop times by day of the week.

 

The CTfastrak webpage, CTfastrak.com, will soon feature a trip planner for people to use. They will be able to search for the best route by their desired starting and ending locations.

 

“I work part-time for the Salvation Army on the Berlin Turnpike, and we’re looking to get a bus stop there,” said Gary Bolles, a town resident who attended Monday’s event.

 

Tom Strand, CTfastrak marketing manager, stood by a ticket machine to demonstrate how people can purchase tickets at each of the 10 bus stations. Regular fare will be $1.50, good for up to two hours after time of purchase. Children 4 and under ride for free, youth ages 5 to 18 pay $1.20, seniors and disabled riders pay 75 cents and an all-day pass costs $3.

 

Gov. Dannel Malloy was joined by state legislators and media on a celebratory tour of the route Tuesday, beginning at the state Capitol. Over 60 people attended, including Newington Mayor Stephen Woods.

 

“I think the people we’re seeing here tonight are the people interested in riding,” Woods said at Monday night’s open house.

Town officials are carefully considering future development around Newington’s two stations at Cedar Street and Newington Junction.

 

“It’s still in the infancy stages,” explained Woods, who expects new business ventures adjacent to the Cedar Street station to be completed before those at the Junction.

 

Located across from the intersection of Willard Avenue and West Hill Road, this particular station is in a residential area, while the other — at the corner of Cedar Street and Fenn Road — is already being sought by developers.

 

“There is tremendous potential at both,” he pointed out.

 

Pedestrians and bicyclists are already taking to the five-mile recreational trail that runs from New Britain to Newington, even though the 9.4 mile bus-only roadway has yet to open.

 

There will be free WiFi for all CTfastrak riders, and security will be monitored at all stations using closed-circuit television systems.

 

CTfastrak is slated to begin service March 28.