Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Bridgeport need Barnum Station?
Bridgeport is the largest city in the state of Connecticut (146,680 residents) yet is supported by only one rail station, located Downtown. In contrast, the neighboring Town of Fairfield has less than half the population of Bridgeport but has three rail stations along the same New Haven Main Line, the City of Norwalk has just over half the population of Bridgeport but offers four rail stations, and various other municipalities in Connecticut provide their residents with access to multiple rail stations to meet mobility needs.
A new station is needed to support the anticipated growth in population and economic activity, improve the capacity and efficiency of the MNR and Amtrak service, and support anticipated growth in population and employment associated with planned transit oriented development. East Bridgeport is an employment center and a focus area for growth and development but the area lacks regional public transportation options. Without convenient access to the intercity rail network, employment among East Bridgeport residents will continue to decline or remain stagnant. Residents and workers in the area must currently commute by car or bus, contributing to regional vehicle miles travelled (VMT) and localized air pollution. Providing convenient commuter rail access will provide a robust transportation alternative, advance the City's objectives of enhancing multi-modal infrastructure, and support transit oriented development.
More extensive train access will be available with the new Barnum Station than what exists at the Downtown Bridgeport Station. This station will establish access to all four tracks, unlike the current Downtown Station which has access to only the outer two tracks. Being able to access all four tracks will allow for Metro-North express service to be implemented between New Haven, Bridgeport and Stamford, and for expanded service with Amtrak.
Where will the new Station be located?
The station will be located on the south side of Barnum Avenue between Seaview Avenue and Hallett Street on a portion of the site of the former Remington Arms factory.
When will the Station open?
The Station is scheduled to open in 2021.
How much will the new Station cost? Who is paying for it?
Cost estimates will be prepared as part of the current effort and will be available in early 2017. USDOT through the TIGER process is partially funding the construction of the project. Additional funding is anticipated through a variety of state and federal funding sources.
Will there be parking at Barnum Station? How much will it cost to park?
There will be parking at Barnum Station. Current station layout plans contain between 500 and 550 parking stalls for the year of station opening. This number could grow over time as development occurs in the vicinity of the station. The cost to park at the station has not yet been determined.
Who is going to use the new station? What is the projected ridership?
It is anticipated that users of the new station would be a combination of current riders who may live closer to the Barnum Station than another station (Stratford and Downtown Bridgeport) that they are currently using, and new riders. New riders are anticipated to be local Bridgeport residents, and residents from elsewhere in the region, who are currently driving or who are not currently taking trips along the line. It is important to note that there is strong ridership potential between hospital employees shuttling between the nearby Bridgeport Hospital and the Yale-New Haven Hospital.
A rail ridership analysis has been conducted as part of this initial phase of work. Analysis indicates that approximately 1,600 riders a day will use the station when it opens in 2021 and that it will increase to 2,400 riders by the year 2040. These estimates will be updated in early 2017.
How many trains will stop at the new Station?
Assumptions were made about future train service at Barnum Station, which consist of a mixture of Metro-North Railroad trains, Shore Line East Trains, Amtrak Northeast Regional Trains, and Hartford-Springfield trains. These assumptions are not a reflection of a planned future operating plan and were developed for the Barnum Station Project and for simulation testing purposes only. .
What happens to the existing Downtown Bridgeport Station?
The existing Downtown Station will remain in operation like it does today.
Will a new Barnum Station add commute time for passengers getting on at other stations?
The introduction of a new station would mean that trains along the New Haven line would decelerate and stop to serve Barnum Station riders. This could mean added commute time for current riders at Stratford, Milford, West Haven, and New Haven, of a few minutes or less in order to introduce this new service. A main focus of the current phase is to determine how to introduce service while minimizing impacts to existing riders. In particular, physical track improvements could allow trains to safely retain their current speed or increase speeds on either side of the Barnum station. Station and platform design will allow for fast and efficient passenger boarding.
What are the impacts to local roadways leading to and from Barnum Station?
An assessment of access and circulation options to effectively serve passengers reaching Barnum Station by car, foot, bus, or bicycle has been undertaken. Traffic impact analysis conducted as part of the environmental review process indicates that the existing roadway system around the station currently operates at acceptable levels of service. Drivers accessing Barnum Station do so from a variety of roadways, meaning that no one roadway takes the impact of additional traffic. That said, roadway improvements are planned for Barnum Avenue, Hallett Street, Crescent Avenue, and Seaview Avenue. Furthermore, the project is currently analyzing traffic circulation during construction, especially in the vicinity of Seaview Avenue, Hallett Street, Pembroke Street, and Crescent Avenue where road closures will be needed to reconstruct railroad bridges.
What is expected to happen around the Station?
It is anticipated that the area around the new Station will be redeveloped as a transit-oriented and mixed use hub and act as an economic development catalyst for the city's East Side, East End and Mill Hill neighborhoods. The city is currently undertaking a separate planning effort (link to the Barnum Station TOD Plan website) that will outline strategies to encourage a mix of residential, commercial, light industrial and office uses, while recognizing the industrial past of the area. The TOD Plan will also recommend strategies to transform the former Remington Arms Ammunition Factory into a moderate to high density mixed use district adjacent to the new Station.