Mystic transportation center is possible
As a lifelong Mystic resident, with a house off Route 27, I have witnessed firsthand the need for intermodal surface transportation in Mystic. The answer is right in front of us. The old Ramada Inn property on Route 27 should be converted into a transportation center.
Moving people is one of the keys to our local economy, and Mystic residents should know better than anyone after the development of Interstate 95 created the opportunity for Mystic to become a destination at all.
There are currently 300 parking spaces on the former Ramada property, less than a half-mile from the I-95 exits. I would re-imagine the front third of the building that housed the restaurant space and unused pool, and convert that footprint into a three story parking garage. A specific amount of hotel rooms should be maintained to add another revenue stream for the property. Zoning regulations dictate 1.24 parking spaces per room. In addition, a specific area should be redesigned as a public restroom.
The surface transportation that is needed for Mystic can be based at this site. In my estimation, four buses running two loops through town would be the baseline needed to address the continuing sense that Mystic is a destination, and not simply the “tourist” town of my youth. One loop would be around the Golden Triangle, connecting the hotels with the second loop, which would run from the Transportation Center to the Train Station, with another stop at Mystic River Park.
SEAT could also utilize the Mystic Transportation Center, which would allow bus access directly to Mystic from the network of towns in the SEAT nexus.
This property also affords the possibility of a Water Taxi. There are no houses directly across the probable dock areas on the Groton side of the Mystic River, which would minimize the impact on the residents of River Road. A water taxi could have stops at the Mystic Seaport, and the Mystic River Park, with the possibility of continuing to Noank, which might minimize summer traffic to that tiny village. The next logical step would be to link the Noank Water Taxi stop with the Thames River Water Taxi.
In addition to this project, the most necessary transportation need in the Greater Southeastern Connecticut Autonomous Zone is Shore Line East expansion from Niantic (Old Saybrook) to Westerly R.I. In vast regions of this country automobile traffic is relegated to state highways. The density in our corner of the world forces everyone to travel on the interstate. I think I should be able to walk to the Mystic train depot, visit New London, and return. Or Downtown Westerly. I have outlined many positive concepts that the former Ramada property could offer to make this a reality. How the State DEEP hasn’t shut down the current hotel operation is beyond me. A few quotes from travel website reviews of the current Mystic River Hotel from 2022:
“This was by far the dirtiest hotel I’ve ever experienced.”
“The outside door was missing, zero security to keep anyone from walking into the hallways.”
“Walked in to hotel and saw that it wasn’t clean or taken care of. Upon checking in, I was told there was no hot water.”
“The hotel looked deserted and closed, scary, old sign, we actually drove by it, twice. It was NOT clean, it’s dirty, lamps broken, sheets dingy, pool cloudy, TV blurry.”
“The hotel was a misrepresentation between the online and the reality. The property looked abandoned on arrival, the pool looked like a superfund site.”
Imagine a family travelling to Mystic from Fairfield County, or Westchester County, or the Quiet Corner, or Suburban Boston, and parking at the Mystic Transportation Center, and never having to drive their car until the return trip home. Mystic has always been a forward thinking place, let us use that now to manage our expansion.
Moving people is one of the keys to our local economy, and Mystic residents should know better than anyone after the development of Interstate 95 created the opportunity for Mystic to become a destination for all.