The Connecticut DOT has proposed creating a new exit 46 to I-95 that would necessitate taking 1/3rd of an acre from the Long Wharf Nature Preserve. This new exit would bring hundreds of cars and trucks only a few feet away from pedestrians and wildlife.
The Long Wharf Nature Preserve is the only place along the west side of New Haven Harbor that has not been developed or industrialized. It is home to numerous species of native plants,birds and other wildlife. Long Wharf Nature Preserve is the only place along the harbor where one cannot see I-95. Within walking distance of the Hill neighborhood, the preserve provides a peaceful respite from the noise of city living for many urban dwellers who otherwise would not have the opportunity to visit a nature preserve. The New Haven Harbor Bike/Walking Trail, part of the East Coast Greenway, also goes through the preserve. In the DOT's plan cars and trucks will butt right up against the trail creating an unsafe environment for bike riders and walkers.
A highway exit is incompatible with a nature preserve. The DOT just built a new exit 46 in Jaunuary of 2010. This exit is working fine. There is no compelling reason to destroy Long Wharf Nature Preserve just to move this exit once again.
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