Brilliant Underpass: Lighting the Dark on Humphrey Street

The Amtrak underpass on Humphrey Street in New Haven is known for its dark creepy character. The underpass is located along the burgeoning Mill River Trail and in close proximity to the District innovation campus and Elm City College Preparatory School. The underpass is important as it is an entry to Fair Haven from East Rock and Mill River Districts and is used by many pedestrians: school children, neighbors and people headed to work.

A group of volunteers called the Mill River Trail Advocates aim to transform this underpass from something dark into something brilliant. The project is called Brilliant Underpass. The group was inspired by colorful lighting projects in other cities, such as “LightRails” in Birmingham, Alabama from artist Bill FitzGibbons. The Brilliant Underpass will bring bright programmable LED light fixtures to the pedestrian paths through the underpass. The group has been exploring color changing effects that create an attractive interactive experience and emphasise interesting arched architecture of the underpass. The programmable capabilities of the 12 light fixtures create opportunities to experiment with a variety of sequences, influenced by sensors or data streamed from the internet.

The project is budgeted at a cost of $27,000 but has already received a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, a Regional Initiative Grant Program (REGI), matching funds from the Could Be Fund, a match from Sustainable CT and have received more than $1,000 in individual donations in the first 10 days of online fundraising. $3,000 is still needed from individuals to get the full matching funds required for the project budget. The Sustainable CT matching funds are available to match donations made before December 31st through the IOBY fundraising page.