Farmington Canal Greenway Master Plan and Yale Section
NEW HAVEN, CT, USA
CLIENT Yale University Office of Facilities / SIZE 2.1 miles / STATUS Master Plan Completed 1995 / Engineering School Section Completed 2011 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Pelli Clark Pelli
The Farmington Canal, a 2-mile-long section of railroad in eastern Connecticut, has been abandoned since 1982. A canal that ran three miles through the city of New Haven and six miles through Hamden, a New Haven suburb, preceded the railroad. The masterplan for the Farmington canal reuse was initiated as part of the federal Rails-to-Trails rehabilitation program. Developed by Balmori Associates it sought, through substantial research, to reactivate the canal and transform it into a recreational corridor that connects disparate parts of the city with its center. By modest moves, the canal corridor can eventually affect projects that occur along it, becoming a spine on which to hang other built development.
The two mile long Yale owned section sits by the new Engineering Research Building of Yale University, located at the corner of Prospect Street and Trumbull Street. Working together with its design architects, civil and environmental engineers, Balmori Associates explored numerous sustainable design ideas. The porous paving used as part of a larger storm water management strategy reduces runoff's volume and velocity.
The section of abandoned railway is envisioned not simply as a trail but a new prototype of public open space, a linear park made up of discrete green segments that respond individually to their respective urban or suburban contexts.