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    Silver Spring, MD & Newington, CT

Yankee.Peddler's Achievements


Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. A National Park designation for Colt makes no difference in terms of finding more Federal resources to bury I-91. NPS and USDOT funds are in separate silos.
  2. While I love the idea in dream world, I don't see feasibly how I-91 could be buried from the Colt Building past downtown. ConnDOT would have to sink the road beneath the Park River conduit and make significant modifications to the recently reconstructed Whitehead Highway interchange. Such a project would cost billions of dollars and I don't think anyone would be willing to pony up such a sum. With that said, I think it is very plausible to extend the convention center plaza over I-91 between the Whitehead Highway and Founders Bridge. It might also be plausible to build something on top of the northbound lanes between the Founders and Bulkley Bridge. If any expressway needs to be buried in Hartford, it's I-84. Replacing the aging Aetna viaduct gives ConnDOT some leverage in securing greater amounts of Federal transportation dollars for replacing the viaduct with a sunken expressway or tunnel.
  3. I believe the Science Center is a big improvement over the proposed "attraction" (Adriaen Block's ship?) in the rendering!
  4. I see your point of view. And I certainly see the benefits of a mixed-use development on that site. The fundamental problem is that nothing substantial has happened now for several years! Sure, there may be some blame placed on CCEDA, Cohen and Nikin for various actions or blunders. Despite all that, if there was adequate private interest to invest in a mixed-use development at Front Street, then the project would have been constructed already and this thread would have been put to rest a long time ago. Maybe we'd all be sharing a pint now at the Arch Street Tavern marveling at the urban wonder that is Front Street. My point is that developers have no incentive to indefinitely delay a project like this unless the site is failing to attract adequate private interest and investment. I don't know what long-term use could be considered for that site. I'll think about it. But given the indefinite delays and broken promises, a discussion needs to take place about re-thinking Front Street, especially if we don't see action from Nitkin in the near future.
  5. Aside from the issues around CCEDA mismanaging Front Street, I think a major problem continues to be the site's location. I think I may have indicated this a long time ago. When you look at Front Street, what do you see? To the east is the convention center; to the south is the Conland Highway; to the west is Prospect Street and the Wadsworth; to the north is Travelers. The convention center has drawn many people to Hartford; that goes without argument. However, the center draws inconsistent crowds at inconsistent times. I have to say that during my numerous times to Hartford since the convention center opened, I've seen that area devoid of foot traffic more often than not. The Conland Highway and its access roads comprise a big barrier between downtown and the Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood. The walk between them (on Columbus Boulevard) is loud, unpleasant, and not very pedestrian-friendly -- especially in terms of shade. Prospect Street is a pleasant but dead street in terms of activity. Sure, there's a little foot traffic during the workday but nothing during off-hours. And the adjacent block of Main Street features nothing but City Hall, the Wadsworth, the MDC building, and Bushnell Tower (set back from the street). Travelers speaks for itself. It's a large office complex and little else. This is my point: Front Street does not connect to any other residential neighborhood or residential development in downtown Hartford. The site is relatively isolated from areas and businesses in the city that cater to nightlife and residents. Heck, even the river is cut off by the convention center. Unlike Blue Back Square, a development in Front Street cannot be easily integrated with an existing neighborhood where people already live. If I were a developer, this fact would make me very concerned. Given the lack of private interest in Front Street over these past three to four years, I really think there should be a discussion on marketing the property for another purpose and focusing increased retail and residential interest in the areas that already have a "foundation population" so to speak.
  6. The fundamental problem is that if this site was still appealing to the private sector (developers and business owners), it would have already been developed by Nitkin or even Cohen. Many months ago I voiced my disgust at this project and the state money it consumed. Little has happened since to change my view. As I witness the sea of gravel and growing weeds, I still think the land should be converted into a nice park until a firm development plan is cemented and construction begins.
  7. I think Steel Point is a tremendous project for Bridgeport and Fairfield County. It is not in the city's short or long-term interests to let this project fall apart.
  8. I'm going to respond to your argument here piece by piece. Seems like you drank the kool-aid. Buses faster than trains? What? I'm drinking the kool-aid of reason, babe. Nine stations will be located along a twelve-mile route. This puts each station a little over a mile apart. Buses will be able to accelerate and decelerate more quickly than trains (with the possible exception of a heavy-rail subway like the Washington Metro) on a route like this. Furthermore, train speeds are going to be severely restricted because of all the at-grade crossings and curves (primarily in New Britain and Hartford) that plague this route. I also think the idea that the buses will hop on the corridor at random points is a farce. Well, you're entitled to your opinion but you're dead wrong. Read the busway plans. Buses will be entering and exiting the busway at most if not at all the stations. If the suburbanites use the buses, they will drive to the station. Sure, some people may drive to the station. However, many more would be driving to the station if the station was serving rail alone. With properly-designed bus routes along major streets in New Britain, Newington, West Hartford, and Hartford, you could attract commuters/riders by offering them "one-seat" service to downtown Hartford, downtown New Britain, or any other major commercial center via the Busway. There is no enough density. And there are not enough stops in the cities due to the location of the corridor. You seem to be arguing here that the corridor is not suited for either rail or a busway. It will be cheaper to start, but will turn out to be more expensive in the long run. Quote me a report that concludes the cost of operating and maintaing infrastructure associated with a busway is greater than a rail system. Petroleum prices will go up. Good point, but not all buses operate on gasoline any more. A new wave of vehicles running on natural gas and other forms of power are becoming more and more affordable each year. It's a big corrupt mistake to lay asphalt on this corridor. How about concrete, then? In closing, I would love to see a rail system built along this line. Unfortunately, the cold economic realities associated with building a rail line versus a busway here simply favor a busway. As I said before, we should focus our rail efforts on upgrading the Springfield Line into a full-fledged commuter railway between New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield.
  9. I am a big rail fan. However, I happen to believe that this corridor is best served by the proposed bus rapid transit system. First, infrastructure associated with the bus system will be less expensive to operate and maintain than a rail system. Second, the bus system will offer more route flexibility than a rail system. Built correctly, it could offer dozens of neighborhoods adjacent to or near the corridor with "no transfer" service to downtown Hartford or New Britain. And third, the bus system will provide faster service than a rail system. Let's face it. Buses would operate more quickly along the line and spend less idle time at station stops than either heavy or light rail. Trains would be bogged down with the multiple at-grade crossings that still exist in New Britain and Hartford. I think buses can be made attractive to the commuting public. In D.C., Metro operates some newer models of sleek buses that are quieter and more comfortable than the subway cars. In my view ConnDOT needs to focus on expanding commuter rail along the Springfield Line.
  10. You make a good point. I would also add that I think the airport's location between Hartford and Springfield keeps passenger volumes lower. If Connecticut's principal airport were theoretically located somewhere between Hartford and New Haven, it would be much larger than Bradley because (in addition to keeping its current passenger base) it would attract a greater number of travelers from New Haven and Fairfield Counties -- travelers who currently opt to use New York's airports.
  11. If RyanAtlantic decides to make BDL its hub for Northeast operations, I'd be very surprised but very supportive.
  12. I agree, although I fear that RyanAtlantic would prefer to set up shop at places like T.F. Green to lure Boston travelers and Islip or even Stewart to lure New York travelers.
  13. I agree. I like Hartford Bradley International Airport. I mentioned this on the Courant's website. The name puts "Hartford" on the map but keeps the old name in play (especially for the locals). This arrangement works well for airports like Boston Logan and Washington Dulles. It's also the least-expensive and least-confusing to implement.
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