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IN PROGRESS: Hartford-New Britain Busway/ CTFastrak

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I was wondering what is going on with the Hartford-New Britain Busway? I heard it didnt get reccommended for FTA money earlier this year but is the project still on?

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Just this past week the state received an enourmas jump in the amount of money it receives to use for transportation. One of the projects that the state plans to use the money for is the New Britan-Hartford busway

Other projects include:

-Road improvments at Adrieans Landing in Hartford

-Road improvments at Coltsville in Hartford

- Road imrpovments on Mark Twain Drive in Hartford

- 3.4 million for the Hartford downtown circulator project

- Widening and other work on I-84

-Widening and other work on I-95 (widening from Brandford to North Stonington)

- Improvments to Route 11 and 82

- Bus transit aid including 5 million for the NEW BRITAN-HARTFORD BUSWAY

- Extra 35 million for Quinnipiac River Bridge reconstruction in New Haven

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Once again the state of Connecticut is ready to jump into the busway business. The state ignores the fact that busways rarely succeed. Look around the globe, only two cities can be said to have truly successful busways, Brisbane, Australia and Bogota, Columbia. Hartford resembles neither.

The only reason that the busway has moved this far -- at the expense of rapid transit or light rail -- is that the busway falls under the juristictiion of the DOT.

I am currently preparing to speak at the APTA convention in Phoenix next week. There will be some busway talk. Some mild sucess perhaps. But the vast majority of these entities wll be looking for real solutions. And busways, or Bus Rapid Tranist BRT, as the professionals call it, won't be heavily discussed. They know it doesn't work.

Here's the problem. People don't like buses. They never have, never will. They are a necessary evil and a very tough marketing sell. It's a constant uphill battle.

On the other hand, commuters love high speed transit. When tourists visit cities with high speed transit, they usually ride the system. In places like Washingotn, DC, the metro is actually a tourist attraction. That's not to mention the explosive commercial growth that occurs at rail stops along these systems.

So one again the DOT, who would control the busway system, is backing Connecticut into a corner. If you want public transportation, it's a busway or NOTHING. Here's a prediction, the busway will be an underused white elephant soon after it is built. It will drain money from taxpayers and the DOT will move that money to the pockets of its favorite subcontractors.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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I don't understand why light rail isn't being built. Hartford isn't a small metro area. Markets like Buffalo, Portland, Kansas City all have light rail systems. Portland's is really nice and extensive. I wish Hartford could just model some of those cities instead of throwing money out the window like they are with the bus route.

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Ottawa has, from what I understand, a successful BRT system. However, they are now in the process of converting it over to LRT.

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The DOT unveiled its first concept for this busway and even the people who backed it in the past are now skeptical of its design. Among some of the screw ups are completely closing Flower St (between ING and The Courant) in Hartford so the buses can run unimpeded and raising New Park Ave. above the train tracks where they are now. As you can imagine, this cuts off New Park Ave merchants from vehicular traffic and completely reduces their visibility. No one likes what they see so far.

Here's a novel idea... instead of PAVING OVER the existing rail lines for this assinine busway, buy trains and use the rail lines. As one person stated in the Courant: "I just don't see people driving to New Britain in order to park their car and take the bus to Hartford."

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The DOT unveiled its first concept for this busway and even the people who backed it in the past are now skeptical of its design. Among some of the screw ups are completely closing Flower St (between ING and The Courant) in Hartford so the buses can run unimpeded and raising New Park Ave. above the train tracks where they are now. As you can imagine, this cuts off New Park Ave merchants from vehicular traffic and completely reduces their visibility. No one likes what they see so far.

Here's a novel idea... instead of PAVING OVER the existing rail lines for this assinine busway, buy trains and use the rail lines. As one person stated in the Courant: "I just don't see people driving to New Britain in order to park their car and take the bus to Hartford."

Yeah, I don't see this busway accomplishing much at all.

First of all, as everyone knows, people don't like busses. Overwhelmingly, they are used by people who have no other choice, i.e. people who are not wealthy enough to own cars. So the idea that they will reduce vehicle congestion is questionable at best.

Second of all, the idea that the busway will promote development around the stations is also doubtful. The fact that bus routes are easily changed and rerouted means that these stations lack permanance, as compared to light rail. I just don't see high-density TODs being developed around bus stations.

Lastly, the idea of paving over rail right of ways by the highway-happy CT COT seems prelude to more auto-centric transportaion, not less. Say the busway fails to attract much ridership...what will the DOT do with the busway? My guess is that they will turn it into a HOV / HOT lane. And once that happens, you've lost the railway forever, because people will never go for removing a road and putting rail in its place...

BJE

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Ottawa has a large system. It is more expensive and less efficient than promised. While I won't call it a failure. The Ottawa BRT system was clearly not up the the task. As you note, Light Rail is now on the agenda for Canada's capital.

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I used to be down on busways...they aren't as "sexy" as light rail. The reality, however, is that they DO function like and can have the same impact as light rail lines. The key: fixed stations. When BRT runs along fixed corridors with fixed stations, then the best residual effect is that development occurs around the station.

Edited by Phillydog

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I don't know...45 Mil just to raise Flatbush at New Park Ave...That intersection is already a mess #1 and #2 how much will it cost to seize those businesses. What's in New Britain anyway or am I missing something? Why is this line being built?

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What's in New Britain anyway or am I missing something?

The only thing I know about in New Britain is girls with loose morals. :thumbsup: Other than that, not too much. Well there's Central Connectict State University, another place full of girls with loose morals. The bus line is being built so that they can come see me and I don't have to drive out there to go get them. :rofl:

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What's in New Britain anyway or am I missing something? Why is this line being built?

The question is not what's in New Britain, it's what's in Hartford. The line is being built to bring people into Hartford. Buses will be able to feed into the busway from points beyond New Britain giving them a straight run into Hartford.

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The idea is people west of the city will walk to or drive to these busway stops and take the bus into Hartford to avoid traffic and the hassle of parking. It doesn't have the perception of being THAT different from the existing bus system - I just don't see it happening

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It doesn't have the perception of being THAT different from the existing bus system

It's a dedicated busway that will allow buses to avoid all local traffic. It's a vast improvement for bus commuters.

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^ I know. But my point is that there is still the "perception" (from what I've read at least) that these are still busses... and busses have a certain stigma attached to them.

Hopefully, it will be successful. But I'll admit I'm one of the bigger skeptics regarding this project. If the DOT had only taken the money they have spent in the Hartford area in the last 10 years on HOV lane building, highway widening and this busway, we could probably have a decent light rail commuter system instead.

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^ I know. But my point is that there is still the "perception" (from what I've read at least) that these are still busses... and busses have a certain stigma attached to them.

Hopefully, it will be successful. But I'll admit I'm one of the bigger skeptics regarding this project. If the DOT had only taken the money they have spent in the Hartford area in the last 10 years on HOV lane building, highway widening and this busway, we could probably have a decent light rail commuter system instead.

I agree. It is so stupid how Connecticut made their HOV lanes. Here in Phoenix and I believe most cities, the HOV lanes are a solid white line that you can move in and out of and only have a restriction from 6AM-9AM and 3PM-7PM. During non-rush hour times the HOV lanes act as a normal passing lane. If they had a similar one on I-91 and I-84 it would help out a lot more. Instead you have a unused lane for the entire HOV segments which serve no purpose. They could have at least put a train in there instead of waisting two full lanes in each direction.

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I agree. It is so stupid how Connecticut made their HOV lanes. Here in Phoenix and I believe most cities, the HOV lanes are a solid white line that you can move in and out of and only have a restriction from 6AM-9AM and 3PM-7PM. During non-rush hour times the HOV lanes act as a normal passing lane. If they had a similar one on I-91 and I-84 it would help out a lot more. Instead you have a unused lane for the entire HOV segments which serve no purpose. They could have at least put a train in there instead of waisting two full lanes in each direction.

Not to mention the HUGE bridges and overpasses they built east of Hartford just for HOV - how much did THAT cost?? They could make 2 additional lanes in most places by filling in the center 'no-mans-land' sections.

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Not to mention the HUGE bridges and overpasses they built east of Hartford just for HOV - how much did THAT cost?? They could make 2 additional lanes in most places by filling in the center 'no-mans-land' sections.

Never understood why they made bridges only for HOV lanes. When they were built about 15 years ago HOV was kind of new and just getting started so maybe that could be to blame. Remember when they were first built you needed 4 people in the car, then it dropped down to 3 and now 2.

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The DOT sees their mission as taking money from the taxpayers and giving it to the road builders. That's why they are not interested in mass transit. They are interested in enriching road builders.

That way, when they leave the DOT, they can get good paying jobs at the road building companies. Then the process repeats.

If you are not a road builder, please do not bother the DOT.

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Why do they want the Hartford East Busway to be a busway? Is the rail line still existing and in tact? It seems like it'd be perfect for light rail, given it goes through pretty dense areas and parallels 84.

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Why do they want the Hartford East Busway to be a busway? Is the rail line still existing and in tact? It seems like it'd be perfect for light rail, given it goes through pretty dense areas and parallels 84.

Why ask why? Just accept the ass-backwards mentality like we do and take the lumps. I'm just kidding by-the-way, it's a question we've all asked numerous times. We've pretty much all supported light-rail, whether it's east of the city, north along the Griffin-Line to Bradley, or wherever, it just seems like those in power have different ideas than we do...

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Why ask why? Just accept the ass-backwards mentality like we do and take the lumps. I'm just kidding by-the-way, it's a question we've all asked numerous times. We've pretty much all supported light-rail, whether it's east of the city, north along the Griffin-Line to Bradley, or wherever, it just seems like those in power have different ideas than we do...

Well the busways are cheaper to implement and have that "flexibility" that is always touted. That "flexibility" is also its downfall. Transit Oriented Development, as was already stated in this thread, thrives on permanance, not flexibility. The whole state needs to start laying the foundation for a future network, the commuter rail is a good start. I think a flashy light rail system from New Britain to Hartford would be a huge success and there would be more lines built in the future. A failed busway system would reinforce the "people don't like transit" idea that many people have.

www.lightrailnow.org is pretty good source of information, though obviously biased and in need of a web designer.

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The proposed Busway irks me to no end. People around here HATE taking the bus. It has extremely negative connotations. I'd be surprised if ridership increased even 5% from what it is today.

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Once again the state of Connecticut is ready to jump into the busway business. The state ignores the fact that busways rarely succeed. Look around the globe, only two cities can be said to have truly successful busways, Brisbane, Australia and Bogota, Columbia. Hartford resembles neither.

Actually I find that Hartford and Brisbane have a lot in common. Both cities have downtown areas with highrises that are mainly for work and the cities tend to be a bit lifeless after 6PM and on weekends. Brisbane does have the Queen St. shopping area, but I found that after 6PM many of the shops close. Both metro areas are of a similar size and density and have sprawling suburbs. Both cities are now trying to attract residents to their downtown cores. I did not use the Brisbane public bus service though I did ride into the city from Gold Coast by rail and I noticed quite a few people from the suburbs (some were quite rural) used the rail service. So I'd like to know what makes Brisbane's busway service successful, perhaps it's success can be applied to Hartford.

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