The Long Wharf section of New Haven is getting a makeover due to a state grant.
Thousands of cars drive along Interstate 95 and pass New Haven's Long Wharf, which is filled with food trucks, every day. It’s been nicknamed "food truck paradise."
However, the first impression was always disorganized and some would have said dangerous.
"It was crazy because you were always looking for a place to park. If I was on the right, you needed to be on the left,” Milford resident Patrice Fike said. “If I was on the left, I needed to be on the right. It was crazy, but I'm a taco lover."
Fike was enjoying tacos from the La Patrona's Mexican food truck on Monday. for years, the location and the parking down by Long Wharf, wasn't as nearly as appetizing as their tacos.
The stretch of Long Wharf was in the middle of a makeover on Monday. Part of a nearly $1 million state grant to redevelop the Long Wharf area. The city used roughly $400,000 for the infrastructure work.
"When we have twice as many trucks, we'll have three times as many people. The trucks will be in a safer place, we've got the concrete esplanade where people can line up,” New Haven Economic Development Administrator Matthew Nemerson said. "It was a little bit chaotic where people were making it up as they went along, parking in the wrong place, crossing the road in dangerous areas."
Before there were four lanes on Long Wharf. Now there are two, with the former lanes turned into spots for the trucks and a dedicated bike lane. The idea was to slow traffic down as it comes through this area. There are also 10’ wide sidewalks with angled parking, crosswalks and landscaping, which was going in today.
The major for the area was the addition of electricity. There will be lights and the constant hum of generators to power the food trucks will eventually be gone. They'll be able to plug in to power.
"At each of the parking spaces, every other parking space has two plugs on it for the trucks,” city engineer Giovanni Zinn said. “Twenty-six lights coming in to really light the place up in the evening, make it safe for everyone."
Leaving customers such as Fike satisfied, even before they take their first bite.
"It good for everybody,” Fike said. “It's good business for them and it's safer for us as the driver."
The city said it the project should be all wrapped up by sometime next spring.
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