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IN PROGRESS: Hartford-New Britain Busway/ CTFastrak

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If something was done like the Silver line in Boston than I think it would be successfull. The Silver line is mostly electric the entire route, except when it goes onto Logan. I agree that rail should be done, however this is Connecticut we are talking about, nothing is ever done correctly.

Where lucky if anything ever gets done.

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I agree with everyone that light rail would be better for many reasons, but I also believe something is better than nothing. What I don't understand is the bias that so many people have against riding the bus? When I was working in Hartford I rode a commuter bus into downtown. I didn't have the stress of driving, I could read or take a nap, I didn't have to worry about parking, it was the best option for me. Would it have been better for me and the forty other people that used that bus to have each driven our own car into Hartford everyday further clogging the highway?

CTman wrote, "train=quiet and relaxing bus=dirty and noisy" and that is not always the case. I currently live in New York and I use the subway everyday, I wouldn't describe the F train from Queens to Manhattan as quiet and relaxing during the morning rush hour. But, it doesn't matter because it gets me to work quickly and easily. Once again I agree that a train is the best option, but hopefully the design of this busway will enable people to get to work quicker so they will be inclined to use mass transit. There are only eleven stops so it won't be like a city bus that screeches to a halt every two blocks and I believe they are planning on having express limited stop service as well.

Does anybody know more specifics about the actual plan, how are they going to handle road crossings? Inside of Hartford is this thing going to be running on city streets or along a rail bed?

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Does anybody know more specifics about the actual plan, how are they going to handle road crossings? Inside of Hartford is this thing going to be running on city streets or along a rail bed?

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I agree with everyone that light rail would be better for many reasons, but I also believe something is better than nothing. What I don't understand is the bias that so many people have against riding the bus? When I was working in Hartford I rode a commuter bus into downtown. I didn't have the stress of driving, I could read or take a nap, I didn't have to worry about parking, it was the best option for me. Would it have been better for me and the forty other people that used that bus to have each driven our own car into Hartford everyday further clogging the highway?

CTman wrote, "train=quiet and relaxing bus=dirty and noisy" and that is not always the case. I currently live in New York and I use the subway everyday, I wouldn't describe the F train from Queens to Manhattan as quiet and relaxing during the morning rush hour. But, it doesn't matter because it gets me to work quickly and easily. Once again I agree that a train is the best option, but hopefully the design of this busway will enable people to get to work quicker so they will be inclined to use mass transit. There are only eleven stops so it won't be like a city bus that screeches to a halt every two blocks and I believe they are planning on having express limited stop service as well.

Does anybody know more specifics about the actual plan, how are they going to handle road crossings? Inside of Hartford is this thing going to be running on city streets or along a rail bed?

Well, first you say that you too would prefer the rail line, but then state that something is better than nothing. The question I ask you is why is something better than nothing? Why not just do it right in the first place? I have a problem with it because it seems a general consensus agree's it isn't the besrt thing to do, it's just "something". I'm tired of "something", "something" is the fat chick you bring home at the end of the night because you struck out with the hot chick. "Something" is going to see the Hartford Wolf Pack play the Providence Bruins in the Hartford Civic Center instead of seeing the Hartford Whalers play the Boston Bruins in the new Hartford Insurance Group Center arena. We could always just ban cars and make people use horse and carriages again. Yeah, cars are better, but we still have "something" don't we?

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Does anybody know more specifics about the actual plan, how are they going to handle road crossings? Inside of Hartford is this thing going to be running on city streets or along a rail bed?

The busway will be along the rail right of way. The biggest problem so far is one road crossing in particular. They are talking about raising the road in one section to be a bridge over the bus/railway.

Their site is under construction right now. But you might be able to get some info. from this link...

http://www.cssboston.com/projects/buswaytod

Here's the info:

http://www.ctbusway.com

Sounds like a bad idea to me. Ending at Union Station?? Most people work EAST of there!

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I found a presentation with a lot of photos. There is a lot of junk so skip through to page 30 and start there. You will find a lot of aerial photos and plans for possible transit oriented developments in the future. Please note it is from 2003 so it probably has changed somewhat since then. It appears that this thing will be built next to the railroad tracks not over them. You can also see that each stop has a passing lane so the express bus can pass the local bus that is picking up passengers.

www.cssboston.com/projects/buswaytod/presentations/oct03/October2003OpenHouseSlideShow.pdf

The stop at Sigourney Street looks like it will be walking distance to Aetna. So in the future when the New Haven to Springfield commuter train is working Aetna employees will be able to commute to Hartford on the train and then transfer to the bus and be one stop away from their office.

It looks like Walmart would be walking distance to the Flatbush stop. Anybody familiar with this area? They mention possible retail developments in that area so it could become a commercial area one day.

They also mention Central CT State University is considering expanding their campus which would be next to the Cedar Street stop.

Do you think the areas near these planned stops will be developed?

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I found a presentation with a lot of photos. There is a lot of junk so skip through to page 30 and start there. You will find a lot of aerial photos and plans for possible transit oriented developments in the future. Please note it is from 2003 so it probably has changed somewhat since then. It appears that this thing will be built next to the railroad tracks not over them. You can also see that each stop has a passing lane so the express bus can pass the local bus that is picking up passengers.

www.cssboston.com/projects/buswaytod/presentations/oct03/October2003OpenHouseSlideShow.pdf

The stop at Sigourney Street looks like it will be walking distance to Aetna. So in the future when the New Haven to Springfield commuter train is working Aetna employees will be able to commute to Hartford on the train and then transfer to the bus and be one stop away from their office.

It looks like Walmart would be walking distance to the Flatbush stop. Anybody familiar with this area? They mention possible retail developments in that area so it could become a commercial area one day.

They also mention Central CT State University is considering expanding their campus which would be next to the Cedar Street stop.

Do you think the areas near these planned stops will be developed?

Well, this sounds better than it did. Central expanding the Campus is a good thing, and getting those students to Hartford for a night out would be awesome. Flatbush area already is seeing a growth spurt with WalMart moving in with the other stores and the new housing that replaced the Charter Oak ghetto, so sure it could be even busier I suppose. The Aetna area needs something else done to it before it expands, like, say, remove the f'ing highway...

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Well, this sounds better than it did. Central expanding the Campus is a good thing, and getting those students to Hartford for a night out would be awesome. Flatbush area already is seeing a growth spurt with WalMart moving in with the other stores and the new housing that replaced the Charter Oak ghetto, so sure it could be even busier I suppose. The Aetna area needs something else done to it before it expands, like, say, remove the f'ing highway...

Has their been any discussion about the equipment to be used. Will these be gas/diesel powered buses or will they be trackless trolleys using cantenary lines?

As an aside, I once asked a friend of mine who worked in the state capitol about the prospect of light rail instead of bus. He said the main reason was cost. He said the cost of an extensive light rail system/subway system eminating out of Hartford in all four directions, north, south, east, west was estimated at about $30 billion worth of bonding with equipment, tracks, right-of-way, station construction, personell costs, and the inevitable legal, regulatory disputes/approvals. He then added that, in a "good year", the state bonds about $2 billion. The long and short...this isn't a question of spending $150 million on a busway or $200 million on light rail. It seems to be the question of spending $X million on busway or $4 or $5 billion for rail. So this seems more an issue of practical cost than anything else.

Incidentally, subway/rail systems in cities like New York (BRT and IRT) and Boston were constructed more than 100 years ago by private companies when it was easy to buy a swath of land and do just about anything with it.It wasn't until the mid-20th century that these systems became government entitities after the private companies couldn't keep up with costs.

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Land Sales Are On Agenda

One Site Would Be Sold To State

By MONICA POLANCO {sodEmoji.|} Courant Staff Writer

October 10, 2007

NEW BRITAIN - Tonight, the common council will discuss a proposal to sell a vacant Main Street parcel to the state for at least $454,500.

The state wants to use the 327 Main St. property for the proposed New Britain-Hartford busway, a two-way rapid bus line that would start in downtown New Britain, run through Newington and West Hartford and end near Hartford' s Union Station.

The property was once the site of Greenfield's grocery store and most recently has been used by a traveling carnival.

More readings on th other half; click here> http://www.courant.com/news/local/nb/hc-ne...0,7598965.story

I am concern to what I read but the article also spoke about other then about New Britain-Hartford busway but putting other property on sale to the state such as on Arch and Oak street because that my concern but I'm afraid that they might nock some historic American brick Italianate building down, but I truly hope it is not the case and hope that they reopen it to remodel it and not let to much historic buildings to be fading away even with these empty areas in New Britain that need to be filled in too!

Edited by penetcostal_iglesia_faith

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There is no way this corridor was going to have "high-speed transit" but the busway is complete disgrace. I bet the consultants either had an agenda to push this mode, or the DOT fears doing anything other than paving more land.

The fact that this "busway" is to be built on a rail corridor is even more insulting. I could undertstand if they were just adding a lane on a highway to be used as a busway, which makes way more sense than ruining this corridor like they are with buses.

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There is no way this corridor was going to have "high-speed transit" but the busway is complete disgrace. I bet the consultants either had an agenda to push this mode, or the DOT fears doing anything other than paving more land.

The fact that this "busway" is to be built on a rail corridor is even more insulting. I could undertstand if they were just adding a lane on a highway to be used as a busway, which makes way more sense than ruining this corridor like they are with buses.

I guest you'll be happy once you read this article. It seems dead right now but the New Britain mayor is piss off right now....

Stewart's war chest grows

By: RICK GUINNESS, Herald staff

10/11/2007

NEW BRITAIN - The city and state are in a tug of war over property earmarked for a planned New Britain-Hartford busway considered a major part of the city's redevelopment plans.

The Common Council voted 10-4 on Wednesday night against selling 327 Main St., the old Greenfield's grocery property, to the state or risk having it taken over by eminent domain....

Read more here>>> http://www.newbritainherald.com/site/news....95283&rfi=6

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The whole concept of the busway is that busses will be able to "jump off" the busway onto city streets. It sounds like they are just making more roads for busses.... nothing new and a recipe for failure.

When you take into consideration that they are actually paving over existing rail lines, it all seems so stupid - and a huge waste of money. We should just bite the bullett once and spend the moeny for trains. It is a fact in every city that people prefer trains over busses and are more wiling to use them.

Edited by Luca Brasi

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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The Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency is hosting a meeting on March 27 to discuss the feasibility of creating commuter service along the little-used rail line linking Waterbury and Berlin. Municipal officials from Waterbury and Bristol are invited, and representatives from Pan Am Railwaysthe company that owns the track, will attend, the agency said.

"Our agency has always supported keeping an eye on that rail infrastructure. We don't want to let an asset go to waste in light of the way oil prices are climbing," said Kenneth Shooshan-Stoller, vice president of the planning agency.

Pan Am, based in North Billerica, Mass., is providing use of a modified rail car that municipal officials will use to tour part of the line through Bristol, Shooshan-Stoller said.

The tracks are used infrequently by freight trains, and the route hasn't seen scheduled passenger service in several decades. Shooshan-Stoller said his agency is interested in initiating a study to determine whether it would be financially practical for the state Department of Transportation to revive commuter service on the route. That study would estimate ridership and potential revenue, as well as the costs to operate the service and to bring the tracks and bridges up to federal standards for passenger use.

www.courant.com/news/local/hc-brichoo0315.artmar15,0,4079434.story

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Nice find.

I would be thrilled to see some kind of action on commuter rail around here. If Hartford could take that step and tie in Waterbury, we would really stand out from the rest of New England. I think it would make living here so much better and bring about a true change in this sleepy city.

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Berlin Station is one of the oldest in the State. It is usually desolate, unfortunately, and the increased traffic would be awesome, though I don't know if it could handle it. That area is kinda crappy too, tucked away off Farmington Ave, near Berlin Steel, I always wondered what Berlin was thinking by not developing the land around it and trying to utilize that little gem in town. Sounds good to me.

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Ideally, planning should be started on the whole shebang:

Danbury to Vernon

New Haven to Springfield

Spur line to BDL

Easy connection to Metro North / NYC

Easy connection to T / Boston

Start now, we should be all set by 2108 at the latest....

Where is the easy connection to the T?

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Realy, if you read the plans they have for the New Haven Springfield line its quite interesting.

there are lots of maps and PDF files with station renderings and even opportunities for development around them. and of course parking garages.

They do two versions, a minimum build out and a maximum build out. the maximum build out is much more usefull as it connects Bradley, but the biggest problem with the whole study is the lack of any plans or ideas for East West travel. If you live in the Hartford area you know, and I mean KNOW that East West is where all the problems lie. If this connection were built from Waterbury to Hartford and it tied into the New Haven Springfield line the added functionality would be amazing and i am sure it would increase ridership tremendously. Also it would greatly increase Bradleys usefullness.

I really hope the good people of Bristol and Waterbury can get the weels rolling on this as it could spark the regional system. hell if it were all built Hartford might actually get some net in migration.

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