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Posts posted by Yankee.Peddler

  1. While burying 84 would give Hartford much more land to play with, burying 91 would likely be much easier and cheaper. Also, as the news clip stated, if Colt Park gets National Park status, this opens a whole world of federal funding. and While our national parks may not be cash rich, the DOT can assist NP by helping the area out and giving it riverfront status again.

    Also the city recently approved a 10 billion 10 year bond that will completely re-do the cities sewar system, and stormwater run off. I have NO DOUBT that this project will affect the old Hog River as most of this water ends up flowing out of that viaduct. If This happens the city would just need to be sure the hog river part of the project were done closer to year 8,9 or 10 and I am sure the plans they have now could be slightly modified at little cost as they are completely re building these tunnels as is.

    A project like this might be an ideal time to remove the whitehead all together as it would no longer be linked to a highway. It would be part of the local roads built along the river. This part would likely fall on the city more than the state and certainly not the feds.

    If the city state and Feds all got together on a project like this I would be thrilled. I would love to see something done right here downtown.

    We COULD and I will repeat, COULD end up with a National Park downtown. A Burried 91 leading to a larger and more usefull Riverside Park. An exposed Park River. The Colt condos would get their funding and be built out. The Whitehead could be turned into surface streets that link up with the riverfront Blvd and funnel people onto the highways. The entire Eastern part of the city would get a boost from this. People would also see the advantages of doing something about 84. Parcels of land along the river and along the whithead would be built on as they are uncovered, and as the highway view is replaced by a river view.

    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. You make a lot of very valid critiques regarding why the site is less than ideal and how difficult it may be to finally get something done there. I think you are correct regarding those hardships but I think they can be overcome. The site was originally chosen because it was a huge underutilized site that would have been perfect for the Patriots stadium originally intended for it. Now that the plan has fragmented into smaller parts it is getting hard to get the pieces to come together but I think it still can and should be developed fairly closely to the plan. The current plan calls for less intensive retail and more emphasis on entertainment and dining. I still think that we need to make an effort to get some of that stuff there for the sake of the Science Center and Convention Center. I also think it is a decent area for residential development.

    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.

  4. That's the way I feel. I just have no idea why it's been so difficult to get this project moving.

    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.

  5. Here's a crazy thought - why doesn't someone call Mr. Blue Back Square developer and ask him to ride in on his white horse to save Front St. and Hartford? He can use the same plans and build the exact same thing for all I care.

    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.

  6. Seems like you drank the kool-aid. Buses faster than trains? What? I also think the idea that the buses will hop on the corridor at random points is a farce. If the suburbanites use the buses, they will drive to the station. There is no enough density. And there are not enough stops in the cities due to the location of the corridor. It will be cheaper to start, but will turn out to be more expensive in the long run. The same train tracks laid in the late 19th century are still active in parts of this state. Petroleum prices will go up. It's a big corrupt mistake to lay asphalt on this corridor.

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. Well, unfortunately it can't all be blamed on them. Some of it has to do with the location; It's a good and bad thing at the same time. You would think some airlines (Delta, Northwest) would maybe use Bradley as a smaller feeder airport to Europe. Northwest does it slightly with flights connecting to AMS, but our location should be utilized much more than it is. We advertise as a less crowded, hassle free, second option to BOS, JFK, EWR, and LGA, but we don't have the connecting routes that would make more people choose to come to BDL instead. It's stupid to think that we can lure people from bigger airports that have many more non-stop routes without having some of the same that passengers would want (which is where the DOT and Kiran from the BDL board come in to play). The bad part about our location IS our location....too close to better options(as of now). I think if the DOT gets shaken up a little it would help us greatly with our status as a destination and feeder airport in the future.

    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.

  9. I see what you mean, but I don't necessarily think that they'd choose to pay $$$$ for two airports if they could get away with just one. Remember, RyanAir has hubs that are in most cases not immediately close to the city they're advertising the destination for. Ex. Frankfurt-Hahn airport is 75 miles West of Frankfurt, Barcelona-Girona is 63 miles North of Barcelona, Oslo-Torp is 70 miles South, and Stockholm is 62 miles South....

    So, who's to say that 100 miles from both Boston and NYC is all bad. It's not THAT different from the ones mentioned above. However, don't be surprised that if they do decide to make their eastern hub at BDL they advertise it as NYC-Boston Airport etc.

    If RyanAtlantic decides to make BDL its hub for Northeast operations, I'd be very surprised but very supportive.

  10. just a thought....but I just had an idea. I think Kiran and the rest of BDL board members should be trying to lure in RyanAtlantic to Bradley for an American base of operations. It's close to both NYC and Boston and is also not major airport, which is what they're looking for. Columbus already had representatives go and talk to RyanAir this past summer. We should get on the ball if not on it already. The European destinations are thought to include Dublin, London (Stansted), Frankfurt (Hahn), and Barcelona.

    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.

  11. I really don't like that idea. I think New England is just too big and generic. It would be better to change it to Bradley Hartford International or Bradley Connecticut International. I don't think incorporating New England into the name helps with marketing our specific region at all.

    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.

  12. I wonder what the load factor was in business class? If up front is full, it really doesn't matter if coach is only 60% full.

    And with all the corporate presence in Hartford, especially UTC, The Hartford, ING, and GE down in Fairfield, business class should be full most of the time. That isn't accounting for the number of last minute tickets these companies buy as well.

    I am sure a lot of people don't know of this flight still. Give it a few months and it will be a solid flight to keep around all year long.

    Ricky, don't be such a hater because PVD will never have a "true" international flight. :)

    And if you do the math, the load factor was actually closer to 82%.....

    Also, I believe there is no NW employees in Connecticut. Maybe the ground crew, but all gate agents were replaced with contracted employees.

    Since Northwest uses a 757 on this flight, there are only -- at most -- a dozen first-class seats. I'd be very surprised if these weren't full all the time.

    There's a billboard advertising this flight on I-84 in Tolland County. I'm sure (or hope) there are more; this is the first I've seen.

  13. Northwest has very few employees in Connecticut. It's doubtful that employees from Boston and New York would travel to Bradley in lieu of catching a flight out of Logan and Kennedy (or Newark) respectively. Therefore, I would assume the number of non-revenue passengers is very low.

    Business travel will sustain this flight in some fashion through the off-peak periods. We may see a reduction in flight frequency, but I'd be surprised if Northwest pulled the plug all together. Obviously, trying to predict the future of the airline industry is murkier than trying to predict New England weather.

  14. I think everyone from this forum that has a love for CT would like to see that. Problem is that many people think of outlandish possibilities that aren't practical. As the saying goes....you have to learn how to crawl before you can walk. Amsterdam is a great start, but it's only a first step. Not to mention AMS is most likely on a trial run for a year or so to see how it can do. As I've stated many times in previous posts, additional European service will most likely come from a native airline. Our best bet is Delta due to our decent domestic link with them and the most logical European destination would be Paris. Not only do they have the most non-stop Delta flights in Europe, but they also have an extensive network of connections throughout the world via Deltas Skyteam partners. Also, if and when this happened you might see past domestic destinations come back along with completely new routes.

    I don't think there have been many "outlandish possibilities" proposed on this thread -- at least not recently.

    I think we'll see more direct service to the Carribbean in the future. The demographics of Connecticut are coming more into line with sustaining this type of service. Delta and American are probably Bradley's best bet.

    As for Europe, it will be hard for Hartford to sustain many direct flights. Flights to global hubs like Amsterdam work because they provide connections to destinations around the world. Perhaps we'll see one or two additional flights in the future. Only time and the market will tell.

  15. Just a bit of info for you guys. Delta has just recently applied for BDL-CUN. If it gets govt approval this will definitely give USA 3000 a run for their money and possibly open the flood gates to more international travel with Delta from BDL.

    The college kids in Connecticut will be thrilled ;)

    Seriously, this may pave the way for future flights to the Carribbean, especially Nassau.

  16. I sent the Director of Development for H.B. Nitkin, Peter Christian, an email asking for an update on Front Street:

    Good afternoon, Mr. Christian.

    As a resident in Hartford who lives within walking distance of the development going on at the Adriaen's Landing/Front Street construction site, I was wondering if there was any sort of news you could offer with regards to your company's construction progress and any plans for marketing to retailers, etc.

    I understand if you cannot release information, but if there are any details you could possibly shed some light upon, it would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to this project's completion!

    Hope to hear from you. Thanks.


    This is the response I got:

    Thank you for the email and your interest in the Front Street District. We are currently deeply engaged in the design process with our design professionals Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Ismael Leyva Architects and have recently named Whiting-Turner Contracting Company as our construction manager. We intend to begin construction this fall.

    We hope to include a mix of local and national restaurateurs and retailers in order to create a district with a vibrant mix that appeals to a broad spectrum of patrons.

    Best regards.

    -- Peter

    Food for thought, anyone?

    It's a form letter that does not make any promises.

  17. I work part-time in retail at Buckland Hills mall for a clothing company that caters more to the professional image. I can't tell you how many men and women have come into the store sporting a purse or satchel or wallet from Louis Vuitton. Out of curiousity, I usually compliment them on their LV and ask where they got it. Usually they respond with NYC, or Boston. LV seems like a viable option for downtown at Front Street for higher-end retail.... if a LV can survive in the Copley Sq mall in Boston, an LV could surely survive here :shades: There's certainly the demand.

    I'd be careful to make the comparison that just because a store survives in a place like the Copley Square Mall, it could survive in Hartford...

  18. It's probably inevitable that Front Street will contain at least a few chain stores (whether restuarant or retail). My hope is that at least a few establishments will be independent businesses.

    The rendering in HBJ (thanks again, editor) doesn't particularly excite me. However, I'm withholding my final judgement until some more detailed drawings are released.

  19. So, I was thinking about this last night. Why couldn't UCONN operate two hospitals in Greater Hartford? UCONN could renovate Dempsey out in Farmington while not increasing the number of beds. Meanwhile, the university could build a new campus in Hartford that would include a new small hospital (200 beds?) along with new buildings for the medical school (in other words, the medical school would move from Farmington to Hartford). I like Luca Brasi's idea of building the campus in downtown north of I-84.

    This proposal would keep the availability of general hospital care to residents of the Farmington Valley. If Dempsey were relocated in a new smaller facility, it would also allow for the demolition of the concrete eyesore off I-84.

    This proposal would further allow for the construction of a state-of-the-art campus in downtown Hartford, where I believe the medical school should belong.

    I could see UCONN object because the new hospital in Hartford would primarily serve the urban poor and, consequently, be less profitable. However, I believe UCONN (since it's funded by the state) should not be allowed to serve only the affluent populations of the Farmington Valley.

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