Danbury executives float new station on the west side with reopened Maybrook line


DANBURY – An ambitious idea to reopen the unused Maybrook rail line to shorten the journey to New York City could result in the creation of a second station in the city’s burgeoning West End, executives suggested.

“(The Maybrook Line) is a 14 mile stretch that runs through the west side of Danbury, not far from the Mall, not far from the Summit property – and nearly hundreds of thousands of square feet of new development, and hundreds of new homes and a significant investment in the western part of town, “said Francisco Gomes, a consultant working with a task force of Danbury executives to draft a new master plan for the next decade.” had a lot of discussion about the location of a station in Danbury if there was more than one station? “

“Exit 2 would be a stop,” replied Roger Palanzo, the city’s director of economic development, referring to the Interstate 84 exit. “Danbury town center station would then become a hub for buses. , taxis, and Ubers, and you would have a (train) stop at Exit 2 in the area where you see all the growth that has been mentioned. “

The likelihood of a station on the west side and a revitalized suburban line from Maybrook could become clearer as early as early December, when Putnam County leaders across the border in New York City plan to announce the results of a million dollar feasibility study on the so-called expressway, which was funded in large part by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council.

“In addition to shortening the journey time, the frequency (increase) of trains to the city is just as important as the shorter 20-minute journey,” Sharon Calitro, Danbury Planning Director, said at the meeting. ” a meeting of the master plan working group. Last week.

The idea of ​​creating a fast lane to New York, which has the support of Metro-North President Cathy Rinaldi and DOT State Commissioner Joe Giulietti, came during the discussion of the Development Working Group. Danbury Economic Area, which reduced the city’s commercial vacancy rate. from 40 percent during the coronavirus crisis to 10 percent.

“There has been a lot of activity in Danbury over the past few years and COVID-19 has actually not slowed Danbury much when it comes to economic development,” said consultant Gomes, director of FHI Studio. “In fact, quite the opposite.”

Among the highlights of the city’s economic development, Gomes noted Nuvance Health’s 12-year lease of 220,000 square feet at The Summit, a $ 36 million approved Encompass Health rehab hospital at The Reserve, with Parker Medical leasing. 88,000 square feet for manufacturing electrical and medical industry components and an approved $ 80 million Danbury Proton cancer treatment facility on Wooster Heights Road.

“There is clearly a huge amount of interest – it’s mind-boggling, and it’s not just happening in the 6th room; it’s actually happening everywhere, ”said Paul Rotello, member of the city council and leader of the Democratic minority. “They say you should rather run a growing city than a shrinking city, but Danbury isn’t really growing. It explodes.

An east-west track between Danbury and Metro-North’s Harlem line in southeastern New York, could be an engine of economic development, Gomes said, in part because it “provides a route reverse to Danbury from New York State “.

The fast lane to New York made headlines earlier this month when U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal traveled to Danbury to suggest that part of the $ 5 billion Connecticut will receive from the federal government bill. The $ 1 trillion infrastructure signed by President Joe Biden could be used to reopen the Maybrook. line.

At the task force meeting last week, Gomes said the Maybrook line could also provide the momentum to launch a $ 27 million plan from 2019 to turn Danbury station into a transit hub. multimodal.

“The announcement of the passage of the Federal Infrastructure Bill is very exciting as it holds promise for real funding for the development of this line (Maybrook),” Gomes said. “It’s not just the connection to New York, but what it does to provide transit access to the west side of town and what that might mean for the mall and the summit and everything. happening in this part of town. “

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