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MadVlad

Do you guys think City planning really needs some rhyme or reason?

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Beerbeer brought up a bunch of great points in his Greenberg post. Is city planning really that difficult? Most of us here on these boards are average joes that don't know crap about city planning, but we could probably implement quite a few plans and reforms that would help turn a city around. Housing downtown... no brainer. Easy-to-use transportation, safety (or at least perceived safety), entertainment, no large gaps in buildings, isn't all this stuff pretty simple thinking, or are we naive?

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Beerbeer brought up a bunch of great points in his Greenberg post. Is city planning really that difficult? Most of us here on these boards are average joes that don't know crap about city planning, but we could probably implement quite a few plans and reforms that would help turn a city around. Housing downtown... no brainer. Easy-to-use transportation, safety (or at least perceived safety), entertainment, no large gaps in buildings, isn't all this stuff pretty simple thinking, or are we naive?

You need to have a degree or else no one will listen to you, and if it is easy the only people who could tell you are the people with degrees and they don't want anyone listening to you because then their degrees are worthless, so they will say it is hard and you need a degree.

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I believe many great ideas come from those that are not "formally trained". Professionals can be concerned with making a living, pleasing their clients and often think too practical to be creative. Afterall, many innovative ideas were not considered to be practical at one time.

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Planning is hard because there are a lot of politics and self interests that benefit one group at the detriment of the entire city. 84 is a perfect example of G Fox's self interest ruined Hartford. If it's easy then Hartford being the richest city 100 years ago would never have been in today's situation. Mistakes become obvious only after the fact.

I'd recently talk to some people who work at the capital, they readily admitted the convention center is not as well planned and the location is less than ideal when compared to Providence's convention center. But it suited state's purpose even though it will have less impact on the city.

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Planning is hard because there are a lot of politics and self interests that benefit one group at the detriment of the entire city. 84 is a perfect example of G Fox's self interest ruined Hartford. If it's easy then Hartford being the richest city 100 years ago would never have been in today's situation. Mistakes become obvious only after the fact.

I'd recently talk to some people who work at the capital, they readily admitted the convention center is not as well planned and the location is less than ideal when compared to Providence's convention center. But it suited state's purpose even though it will have less impact on the city.

as you say, mistakes become obvious only after the fact. you claim the location of the convention center will result in less impact then it might have otherwise. no offense, but how the heck would you be able to measure if it would have been better 3 blocks over or somewhere else? i thought the convention center was just another piece in the ongoing process of development in hartford. what will exist in 10 years is anyone's guess, but these people you spoke with at the capital sound like the convention center was the end piece for development. if that is the case, they will probably be correct. once growth stops, there is no growth.

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It's easy to see what needs to be done. It's far more difficult to work with all interested parties to get things done. And then there's the budget issue. It's nice to say, we need condos here, and a restuarant there, and whathaveyou. But people own properties and will do with them as they please. There's only so much the planning department can do to bend these landowners to the city's will.

In the Providence section, we all have plenty of (good) idea of how the city should be. We're fortunate to have Providence's Director of Planning drop into the forum from time to time (and he even attended our last forum meeting). Many (most) of the things he wants for the city mesh with our thoughts. But he's given us a few reality checks in regards to what the city wants vs. what the city can get. There's some very clever politicing involved in a lot of these projects and proposals.

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as you say, mistakes become obvious only after the fact. you claim the location of the convention center will result in less impact then it might have otherwise. no offense, but how the heck would you be able to measure if it would have been better 3 blocks over or somewhere else? i thought the convention center was just another piece in the ongoing process of development in hartford. what will exist in 10 years is anyone's guess, but these people you spoke with at the capital sound like the convention center was the end piece for development. if that is the case, they will probably be correct. once growth stops, there is no growth.

None taken. Regardless if the convention center was the end piece or just one piece of the puzzle, it is not as centrally located as Providence. If the purpose of the convention is to bring conventioneers to Hartford and help revitalize the city, then do you think it should be placed off to the edge where the city deemed necessary to bus people around the city, or have it more centrally located so conventioneers can walk around and explore the city?

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None taken. Regardless if the convention center was the end piece or just one piece of the puzzle, it is not as centrally located as Providence. If the purpose of the convention is to bring conventioneers to Hartford and help revitalize the city, then do you think it should be placed off to the edge where the city deemed necessary to bus people around the city, or have it more centrally located so conventioneers can walk around and explore the city?

here is what i know about providence from being there. it is an annoyance on my way to cape cod. also, my daughter said on the way back one time, lets go to the zoo there. i said ok, she had a little fact sheet to get me there. as i exited the hiway, i thought i had been dropped off in north hartford, took a left and went into a beautiful park that reminded me of beardsley park and saw a really nice zoo. i don't know where providence's convention center is or how large the immediate tourist area around it is. i do know this about hartford and it is just my opinion. how long does it take to walk from the convention center to the railroad station or the hilton hotel or the federal cafe, or the capital? 20 minutes i would think and those are the far reaches from the convention center. i don't know what they might want to walk to other than that right now. everything else to walk to is within those points i mentioned. there is no reason to walk beyond those points. i don't know what the colt park/dutch point area development holds for the future. i don't know if the park street pipedream will ever happen. i sure hope it does and i hope the dream spreads to hartford hospital and trinity college. tourists are not going to walk to the twain house, because the convention center is somehow positioned..........where in the middle of downtown would that have been exactly? i would say there is a helluva lot to do for a visitor within a 20 minute walk of the convention center. if they don't like to walk then they can take the public transportation that supposedly is coming to provide some kind of circuit transportation around downtown. if they don't like to walk, then it does not matter if they are in hartford or nyc because they are going to get somewhere while seated. i do not think that it is important to have the convention center in hartford be at the, if not the, center of the downtown tourist area; just my opinion.

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If you want to see a poorly located convention center, go to New York. The Javitz is way over on the West Side and there is absolutely nothing between it and Times Square, where most of the hotels are that serve conventioneers. Everytime I've gone to a convention in New York, most people were bused from Times Square.

Of course once you're back in Times Square, there's no end of things to do. But when you are at the Convention Center, you're stuck there, there's no place to go if you want to step out a for a little while. Things need to be in the immediate area of the convention center, even 10 minutes away is too far to walk, when you only have 20 minutes to step away from your booth.

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If you want to see a poorly located convention center, go to New York. The Javitz is way over on the West Side and there is absolutely nothing between it and Times Square, where most of the hotels are that serve conventioneers. Everytime I've gone to a convention in New York, most people were bused from Times Square.

Of course once you're back in Times Square, there's no end of things to do. But when you are at the Convention Center, you're stuck there, there's no place to go if you want to step out a for a little while. Things need to be in the immediate area of the convention center, even 10 minutes away is too far to walk, when you only have 20 minutes to step away from your booth.

That's why we are supposed to be building an entire new neighborhood of retail, residential, and entertainment across the street. What I am praying we get is a smaller scale version of Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

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Once the other pieces are in place, they shouldn't be a problem with the CCC.

Whoever killed the Grifffin Line should be shot. I would prefere high speed rail to light rail. But connecting the city to the airport would have been a great idea.

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First of all blackstone, "it is an annoyance on my way to cape cod" is absolutely pointless and brings nothing to the discussion. If Hartford convention center is so centrally located, then why do we even have those silly yellow buses, driving around town most of the time with nobody in it? I can tell you that to many people, 20 minutes walk in a strange city is a lot, especially in a city with a reputation of high crime rate. Think about what Cotuit wrote "Things need to be in the immediate area of the convention center, even 10 minutes away is too far to walk, when you only have 20 minutes to step away from your booth." I have been to Providence convention center for trade shows, and there is no doubt in my mind it's better integrated to downtown Providence than where Hartford has its convention center. If you don't know where Providence convention center is, then obviously you have no point of reference to compare the two.

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I really think we need to keep the long term viability in mind. If Front Street comes to Fruition then I think everything will be fine. The CCC is already within easy walking distance to Main Street and the Wadsworth, once that is all integrated into a nice new district of shopping, entertainment, residential as planned, it will be great. The site of the CCC was chosen because it was available. We do not have alot of space to squander and it looks great on the river. I really like the location and how it's a showpiece when entering Hartford from the east or the south. I like how it is next to Riverfront Plaza, and how the CCSE will compliment the area.

I also think the downtown circulators are a good thing and when large events are in town, like the NCAA tourney, people will be riding it. If I worked downtown, I would ride it.

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Now, worst case situation, what if Adriaen's Landing is not happening? What does that say about planning the convention center as a part of revitalization of Front Street? Convention center should be planned so that it can have a substantial impact on Hartford all by itself without other projects that may or may not be well planned, and may or may come to fruition. Yes it is a short walk to Main Street and Wadsworth, but as prior posts already point out it is not short enough. Ask merchants around Main Street if convention center is making an impact on their bottomlines. Most of those I spoke with on ton Asylum Street, on Pratt Street, and on Main Street said no; the exception being some resturants that did do more business. I can ask the people at Wadsworth, but I am willing to bet anyone a sake martini at Koji that Wadsworth also did not see at dramatic increase because of convention center.

As for the river front location and how beautiful it looks, if you ask me, people pay a primium for river front view and people cram inside a building selling stuffs or attending meeting don't give a damn about river front view. Therefore river front is better for residential development.

Regarding the bus, it's suppose to be for conventioners to have easier access to the rest of Hartford, not as a free ride to and from Civic Center. The fact that most of the time they are almost empty make me to think it is a waste of city's or state's money. If it was planned as a free ride within downtwon then let's consolidate those buses that people actually have to pay to get on to one or two stops so they won't add to the traffic.

My whole point is not to bash Hartford convention center, but to point out it's built there because the state provided the money, and the state wanted build it there, regardless if it is the best location for the city of Hartford. Therefore going back to the original topic, is city planning easy? My opinion is no, it is very hard.

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I agree that city planning is very hard. Where else could they have built something so massive, without demolishing stuff that we want to keep? That is the one question that I have for you since you don't like the current placement of it. I don't see somewhere else, except maybe 12B or some of the adjacent lots. I have faith that the plan will come together eventually and the placement will be fine along the river. To me that's kind of like planning for the long term. The plan is to have attractions, retail, and residential along the CT River. Right now we have 1 of 2 major attractions completed and a brand new hotel. Hopefully 2 years from now we will have tons of housing and shops creating a sort of "bridge of activity" to Main St. from the CCC. If that doesn't happen, then yeah we're in trouble. I just say let's plan for the best case scenario right now.

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I remember when they first drafted the Adriaen's landing plan as a part of the six pillars to save Hartford. I'll say now what I said then: no convention center or stadium or arena or retail development can save (or even really help) Hartford as it is; no one is going to move to Hartford because there are conventions within walking distance; and no city in such a state of crisis should make luring turists its chief priority. Only residential development can bring about the change we want. The rest is just gravy.

In that sense I'm glad they put the CCC where they did, since it's out of the way of more important developments that need to be closer to downtown. IMO, living downtown is attractive because you can walk to work and restaurants/museums/theatres every week. But who is going to need to be close to the convention center?

I for one am happy we left the quality lots free for residential/mixed-use developments. And when I go to the convention center once a month I won't mind the 15 minute walk.

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