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HartfordTycoon

PROPOSED: iQuilt Pedestrian Enhancements

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This is actually a pretty good idea. I had heard of it in passing but didn't really know the specifics. Something like this is definitely needed to encourage pedestrians to explore Downtown while they are here.

Hartford Business Journal

Almost all the key cultural destinations within the quilt, including the Capitol, Bushnell Park, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford Stage Company, the Old State House, and the new Connecticut Science Center, are within a 15-minute walk of each other.

The pathways would make it enjoyable to walk from one cultural site to another with offerings such as public art, education and entertainment activities, vendors and small parks.

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This iQuilt plan is even more interesting now that I have a visual to go along with it. I like what I'm seeing here. This could be pretty big.

257325080-14054350.jpg

Hartford Courant

A dramatic vision for making downtown Hartford more walkable — including extending Bushnell Park to Main Street and creating gardens and restaurants in the space — will be shown in detail Tuesday for the first time.

The project, known as iQuilt, has been in the works for four years and its rough form has been public since 2009. Details such as a redesigned Gold Street and Travelers Plaza, with an ice skating rink outside the iconic office tower, would be part of a "continuous walkway" connecting the Connecticut River with the state Capitol.

"We hope that people will think of this when they think of downtown Hartford," Douglas Suisman, a Hartford native and principal of Suisman Urban Design, said Monday.

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looks interesting. i was hoping they would uncover the park river but this is nice also.

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looks interesting. i was hoping they would uncover the park river but this is nice also.

I just caught this. Looks like you may be getting your wish. This project is now officially awesome. Hopefully this really comes to fruition.

From the article:

Tuesday's meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library is for the public and will focus on the walkway, dubbed the "greenwalk," and restoration plans for Bushnell Park, including bringing back a river that once wound its way through the park.

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I just caught this. Looks like you may be getting your wish. This project is now officially awesome. Hopefully this really comes to fruition.

From the article:

Tuesday's meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library is for the public and will focus on the walkway, dubbed the "greenwalk," and restoration plans for Bushnell Park, including bringing back a river that once wound its way through the park.

yeah, reading the park river aspect is cool.

The best part about the whole thing is that this is a long term plan, and they are not looking to shoot the silver billet tomorrow, its something that will be worked on over a long period of time like the riverfront recapture, and will be completed piece by piece untill its is fully awesome.

Making the area near MDC, Travelers Plaza, The Wadsworth, Bushnell towers and gold street in general more pedestrian friendly will just be awesome!

The inclusion of an ice rink as well as an uncovered pak river are PRICELESS!!!

I will be attending this thing at 5:30

I just caught this. Looks like you may be getting your wish. This project is now officially awesome. Hopefully this really comes to fruition.

From the article:

Tuesday's meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library is for the public and will focus on the walkway, dubbed the "greenwalk," and restoration plans for Bushnell Park, including bringing back a river that once wound its way through the park.

hey HT, you should pull these into their own thread, this IQUILT thing is pretty big and will be around for quite some time.

also projects proposed by all of the cities leading cultural institutions with buy ins from the park, Travelers, the city and state are pretty much the kind of thing that happen, and do not fizzle.

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yeah, reading the park river aspect is cool.

The best part about the whole thing is that this is a long term plan, and they are not looking to shoot the silver billet tomorrow, its something that will be worked on over a long period of time like the riverfront recapture, and will be completed piece by piece untill its is fully awesome.

Making the area near MDC, Travelers Plaza, The Wadsworth, Bushnell towers and gold street in general more pedestrian friendly will just be awesome!

The inclusion of an ice rink as well as an uncovered pak river are PRICELESS!!!

I will be attending this thing at 5:30

hey HT, you should pull these into their own thread, this IQUILT thing is pretty big and will be around for quite some time.

also projects proposed by all of the cities leading cultural institutions with buy ins from the park, Travelers, the city and state are pretty much the kind of thing that happen, and do not fizzle.

I agree. I was just going to move this stuff over to a new thread for this project.

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This thing is going to be much more major than I realized.

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This thing is going to be much more major than I realized.

I hate to get anyones hopes up but Imagine Hartford with IQUILT, and uncovered Park river, the buries I-84 the new police building finished, and new apartments on the plaza, Hollander II and 101-111 Park, and AI tech center+ the new HH parking garage and 12 story office tower....

These are all realistic and dare I say likely to happen....

Seriously not a bad piece of potential there ehh?

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Jeez, the frikkin' negative comments are unbelievable - there ought to be a thread started here to discuss ways of stemming the tide of Hartford's awful perception problem.

http://discussions.courant.com/20/hartnews/hc-iquilt-0624-20110613/10

I think its a lost cause. All cities have the same problems to varying degrees but our suburban population has no tolerance for urban ills and are just generally unwilling to give Hartford a chance or even have any optimism for anything happening in the city. Personally I say screw em'. They are not going to be the ones to help turn this ship around for good. If things improve enough to change some these people's perception then obviously that is great but I don't lose sleep over the Hartford haters. The apartments downtown are full and they are building more. Obviously there are those who want to live in Hartford and see it do well. Those are the people we need not the closed minded ones who don't think the city has any positive attributes.

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After looking at the rendering, I believe iQuilt will be a really great project for downtown Hartford. It looks like a realistic project and I hope it gets underway soon. Uncovering the Park River and having some sort of river walk would be great for the city.

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I went to the meeting and it was PACKED.

having been to the Hub meetings, the One city plans, etc, I gotta say this one is totally different.

I really like the firms hired, they clearly care and are thoughtful.

and I want to clear something up, this is not one project

it is 8 projects quilted together.

its potentially dozens of projects really, but there are 8 specific independent elements, and well its not finalized, but its kind of amazing what they will be doing in the park. there is a while lighting scheme. absolutely amazing

more another time

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I went to the meeting and it was PACKED.

having been to the Hub meetings, the One city plans, etc, I gotta say this one is totally different.

I really like the firms hired, they clearly care and are thoughtful.

and I want to clear something up, this is not one project

it is 8 projects quilted together.

its potentially dozens of projects really, but there are 8 specific independent elements, and well its not finalized, but its kind of amazing what they will be doing in the park. there is a while lighting scheme. absolutely amazing

more another time

Sounds extremely promising. Wish I could have made it.

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I think its a lost cause. All cities have the same problems to varying degrees but our suburban population has no tolerance for urban ills and are just generally unwilling to give Hartford a chance or even have any optimism for anything happening in the city. Personally I say screw em'. They are not going to be the ones to help turn this ship around for good. If things improve enough to change some these people's perception then obviously that is great but I don't lose sleep over the Hartford haters. The apartments downtown are full and they are building more. Obviously there are those who want to live in Hartford and see it do well. Those are the people we need not the closed minded ones who don't think the city has any positive attributes.

I completely agree with your thinking. they don't matter. people moving into the city will make the difference, not the suburban people. people that come to the city for its unique qualities will make the difference. I understand their position, as silly as it is. but they are there, not here. they really don't matter. save any comments about the city needing the suburbs. the city needs people moving into downtown. it won't be me moving in. but i work downtown, subscribe at theatreworks, HSO, attend the Atheneum monthly and have more than enough places to drink and dine. I love the city for what it is. If suburban people think perching on a barstool in west hartford is where it's at, then good for them because there is nothing else to do there, but go home.

Edited by nor'easter

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OK, so a little more now...

They gave out a map and it includes some interesting stuff.

Some of the interesting stuff is as follows.

1: Travelers needs to re do its plaza, the parking garage it covers is in bad shape and it needs to be town out completely and rebuilt in some way. Since Travelers is doing this, they were open to working with IQuilt and the Bushnell park to make a better plaza and to help improve the area. THIS IS PRIVATE MONEY.

So the result will be that one of Hartfords corporate citizens will help to create "hartfords living room" The intention is to have a book store cafe type thing at the wadsworth, and seating all over the place. it is a space that could also be potentially used as winter skating and such. Think less walls, less road, and more umbrellas coffee and books.

2: The intention is to narrow Jewell Street as it is built for rush hour maximum loads, and most of the time sits empty. if the road were right sized from 3 lanes each way down to 1 each way, the park can be widened, and the sidewalk can be expanded allowing people to be more in the park than in the street while walking on the sidewalks around the park. it looks amazing, honestly. you do not think about it till you are there, but you feel very exposed on these sidewalks now because they go from road to sidewalk, no grass strip, no trees, just paving. we will see the results if it happens, as DOT is involved, but so is a traffic engineer who is making these suggestions, so kinda cool.

3 Bridges!!!

they would be rebilding all of the original bridges we lost, and unburying trinity bridge , 1 bridge would be slightly moved, and a few additional bridges added, but ultimately the parks iconic stone bridges will be back.

4 The pump house will now be waterfront and would have its patio come to the water so not only would this be in a park, but even better have waters edge seating. and the would be partly possible because of number 5

5: pulaski circle is being adjusted or removed. when this was put in back 50 years ago the park lost a lot of land to the circle, the roads, and really this is an example of the car pushing out the human. the plan is fluid, but the thought now is to remove the circle and create an intersection reclaiming the parkland, and cleaning up a terrible wasteland .

6 on gold street they want to put some kind of space for a jazz club near the Hubline location reflecting on our heritage, and there would be maybe greenhouses there and a reflecting pool etc..

up by the state office building, that huge parking lot weould be re done (has allready been mandated by the state and funded) but will be done as a permiable green space with potential uses as an event space(performances, farmers markets, festivals etc...

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I agree with everything 1000% except..... the State parking lot nonsense. That area along Capitol Ave was supposed to be brownstones... or row houses... or... something. Adding more park there is kinda silly. I love the idea, really I do, but we need more RESIDENTIAL downtown! Yes, I know, we are getting some, but Capitol Ave is a perfect place to create a nice neighborhood. Go look at Paris, full of 6 story apartment buildings with nice iron-wrought balconies, etc. Now, imagine that along Capitol Ave and the little side streets. That's what's needed, not a farmer's market...

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I agree with everything 1000% except..... the State parking lot nonsense. That area along Capitol Ave was supposed to be brownstones... or row houses... or... something. Adding more park there is kinda silly. I love the idea, really I do, but we need more RESIDENTIAL downtown! Yes, I know, we are getting some, but Capitol Ave is a perfect place to create a nice neighborhood. Go look at Paris, full of 6 story apartment buildings with nice iron-wrought balconies, etc. Now, imagine that along Capitol Ave and the little side streets. That's what's needed, not a farmer's market...

Dont jump!!!

the state parking lot is being repaved regardless, and there is a FEDERAL mandate requiring lots like this to be "green" and permiable and reclain wastewater from cars, so the whole thing will not be a park, but a green parking not, and the city will start to use it for events on weekends and such when people are not parking on it.... and if townhomes ever come along... they still happen.

the plan also had all the other lots edging the main one envisioned as being developed, so they very much see the area needing residential, but this I quilt is about pedestrians... it just includes this lot because of the federal mandate(and funding) so its happening with or without iquilt, so they decided to include it as the bushnell uses the lot

so again, not a park, just a green parking lot

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Lol, green surface parking is still surface parking, which I find to be the single biggest waste of space in the universe. However, I concede the point, I misunderstood it's use, and since it's happening anyways, it might as well happen this way.

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:)

hey and look at it this way, everything released yesterday was completely conceptual, its not like anything is final designs they in their own words take artistic liscence and try and make things liike as detailed as possible as a proof of concept, so we do not have to imagine it. while in reality, there may be no reflecting pool, no jazz club no greenhouses etc...

the designers were very clear about that.

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OK, so a little more now...

They gave out a map and it includes some interesting stuff.

Some of the interesting stuff is as follows.

1: Travelers needs to re do its plaza, the parking garage it covers is in bad shape and it needs to be town out completely and rebuilt in some way. Since Travelers is doing this, they were open to working with IQuilt and the Bushnell park to make a better plaza and to help improve the area. THIS IS PRIVATE MONEY.

So the result will be that one of Hartfords corporate citizens will help to create "hartfords living room" The intention is to have a book store cafe type thing at the wadsworth, and seating all over the place. it is a space that could also be potentially used as winter skating and such. Think less walls, less road, and more umbrellas coffee and books.

Done and done. This plan makes a ton of sense and can be done at minimal cost to the public. Things like this are exactly what needs to happen more in the city. It's the kind of relatively small change that has the potential to make a huge difference.

Now if only Phoenix, the owner of the stilts building, the Clarion owners, and a bunch others can be convinced to do similar remodeling to make their properties more city friendly.

2: The intention is to narrow Jewell Street as it is built for rush hour maximum loads, and most of the time sits empty. if the road were right sized from 3 lanes each way down to 1 each way, the park can be widened, and the sidewalk can be expanded allowing people to be more in the park than in the street while walking on the sidewalks around the park. it looks amazing, honestly. you do not think about it till you are there, but you feel very exposed on these sidewalks now because they go from road to sidewalk, no grass strip, no trees, just paving. we will see the results if it happens, as DOT is involved, but so is a traffic engineer who is making these suggestions, so kinda cool.

Great. From my understanding, the actual location of the Park River is under what is now Jewell Street due to its widening. So this would be a prerequisite to uncovering the river. That said, never underestimate the DOT's ability to screw this up somehow.

4 The pump house will now be waterfront and would have its patio come to the water so not only would this be in a park, but even better have waters edge seating. and the would be partly possible because of number 5

Do we know if there is any idea where the city can get funding for daylighting the river?

5: pulaski circle is being adjusted or removed. when this was put in back 50 years ago the park lost a lot of land to the circle, the roads, and really this is an example of the car pushing out the human. the plan is fluid, but the thought now is to remove the circle and create an intersection reclaiming the parkland, and cleaning up a terrible wasteland .

I always thought that this would be a superb place to put another fountain. Maybe this would help get some momentum going to build on that hardly used parking lot here.

6 on gold street they want to put some kind of space for a jazz club near the Hubline location reflecting on our heritage, and there would be maybe greenhouses there and a reflecting pool etc..

up by the state office building, that huge parking lot weould be re done (has allready been mandated by the state and funded) but will be done as a permiable green space with potential uses as an event space(performances, farmers markets, festivals etc...

These are the weakest parts of the plan, IMHO. It's like they ran out of truly visionary ideas and fell back on urbanite warhorses. A farmer's market! A jazz club! I have no objection to these things, in fact, I'm a fan of both (although I get bored of jazz pretty quickly). I just don't think that these locations are very good fits for these things. These areas need dense development as they are crucial to tying central downtown to south downtown.

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I'm glad that the Gold Street area, which seems to be the most resolved element right now, is a top priority. I always thought that street needed to be straightened and aligned with Atheneum Square.

In the aerials below, notice how Gold street looks like a road running through a suburban office park. Notice the two odd pieces of useless land on opposite sides of the street. One parcel is the lawn next to Busnell Tower. The other is filled with boulders.

It looks like the concept would join these odd parcels into one rectangular shape.

What should be done with the rocks?

Would this be a good site for a farmer's market?

post-6896-0-84802900-1308234394_thumb.jp

post-6896-0-46822000-1308234411_thumb.jp

How about trying to find a way to extend Haynes Street to the park?

post-6896-0-65690400-1308234948_thumb.jp

post-6896-0-65210200-1308234967_thumb.jp

The area around the Legislative Building and the state Armory seem to be off the IQUILT radar for now. That is probably because the improvements here would need to coincide with the highway reconstruction plan.

Notice (in the aerials below) that the park in front of the Armory (Minuteman Park) and the space between the Legislative building and garage seems to almost connect to Bushnell Park.

Do we need to stay away from this until the highway is realigned?

Or, could someting be done sooner (since it is not really in the heart of the highway project)?

post-6896-0-10981100-1308236352_thumb.jp

post-6896-0-68257800-1308236341_thumb.jp

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What should be done with the rocks?

I read that the rocks may be moved to a pool or fountain of somesort nearby. I think on the Travelers Plaza somewhere.

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Great. From my understanding, the actual location of the Park River is under what is now Jewell Street due to its widening. So this would be a prerequisite to uncovering the river. That said, never underestimate the DOT's ability to screw this up somehow.

My fault for not elaborating. The river being used is not actually the park river, so we are not daylighting anything, we are actually redirecting a stream(the one that goes thru UHart I think) to appear like the park river. The reason is that the Park river is filty and gross, and would require insane investments to clean up its entire watershed. the rat issue, the water volume would be an issue, there really are a ton of issues. so this tributary stream is clean and managable. as far as the location, they are putting the river exactly where it was as much as possible. the road might have encroached on this, but not necessarily covered it. so its my understanding that they will be using current park land for the river part, and honestly there is a ton of info on this as its part of the parks rennovation(its own project being tied into the Iquilt) the park project is also 3 different sections, and each has a different feel and style. the river in the west will be more still and tranquil, then in the middle we get more nature like and faster flow under trinity bridge etc... then we end up near the pump house and have an urban river feel with steps built into its banks facing south for sun worshipers and picinics etc...

Do we know if there is any idea where the city can get funding for daylighting the river?

Some of the money comes from the need to fix the control gates of this stream, and there is federal funding etc... so they will upgrade and redo the gates so that this stream can be diverted into the "river system" or into the park river conduit, this way flooding is controlled.

part of this is also from the federal mandate on cleaning greywater discharge from going into the CT river. its a major federal prodject, so the friends of the CT river are involved and working on that kind of stuff on a support and fuinding side. Its all green engineered, and thats where alot of funding comes from. much of the rest would be from the "friends of bushnell park" who were planning park improvements.

I think everyone wins! and as you add these things together there is a better chance at winning funding and levereging ideas.

These are the weakest parts of the plan, IMHO. It's like they ran out of truly visionary ideas and fell back on urbanite warhorses. A farmer's market! A jazz club! I have no objection to these things, in fact, I'm a fan of both (although I get bored of jazz pretty quickly). I just don't think that these locations are very good fits for these things. These areas need dense development as they are crucial to tying central downtown to south downtown.

I also failed in the details here.

IQuilt is not about development at all, its about making things people friendly.

this section of the park is quite key, it connects to Travelers plaza, and the park, and its what allows the whole thing to interact with all the people (main street is always swarming with people around here)

the greenhouses and such are part of the concept of creating potentially revenue generating infrastructure to the project to help maintain and defer operational costs on the park.

Nationally there is a movement to help parks sustain themselves so the city has less burden, but maintain all the park like benefits. While its easy to just build something in the park, it also takes away from the open space concept. in order to provide this "developed" parkland, and revenue stream, they are using Gold street to accomplish this. For one, facilities at this location would help to support events in the park (for example a jass festival, or races etc, without building any more in the park. the greenhouse thing was mentioned as it might be to attract funding, but also as an asthetic. they showed a bunch of greenhouse resturaunts and the concept I think is to make these more than just farming. and again they were just a concept, so it could be anything. The Jazz place was as an homage to the old Heubline hotel, and its legendary status in the jazz world. so, the thought again was as a revenue generating rentable space that tied in history and added life to this end of the park at night.

One more thing.....

I forgot to describe the changes to the East end of the park.

With the extention near Polaski circle, and the patio at the pump house becoming water front (like a dock or peir) there are a few other changes. the playground would be moved to this part of the park, as would the carousel. Additionally, there would be a section for more "adult play", like bocce, table tenis etc... and...... near the pump house there would be a permanent ice rink that in summer would be an area for water play, like fountains and such. There would be a small support building for skates, icecream sales and snacks at the rink area.

this end of the park should be very active year round with the rink, fountains, pump house resturaunt, playground and all the activities, and mixing into the activities on gold street. so East Park and Gold street will be the focus of the merge between city and park.

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I'm glad that the Gold Street area, which seems to be the most resolved element right now, is a top priority. I always thought that street needed to be straightened and aligned with Atheneum Square.

In the aerials below, notice how Gold street looks like a road running through a suburban office park. Notice the two odd pieces of useless land on opposite sides of the street. One parcel is the lawn next to Busnell Tower. The other is filled with boulders.

It looks like the concept would join these odd parcels into one rectangular shape.

What should be done with the rocks?

Would this be a good site for a farmer's market?

post-6896-0-84802900-1308234394_thumb.jp

post-6896-0-46822000-1308234411_thumb.jp

How about trying to find a way to extend Haynes Street to the park?

post-6896-0-65690400-1308234948_thumb.jp

post-6896-0-65210200-1308234967_thumb.jp

The area around the Legislative Building and the state Armory seem to be off the IQUILT radar for now. That is probably because the improvements here would need to coincide with the highway reconstruction plan.

Notice (in the aerials below) that the park in front of the Armory (Minuteman Park) and the space between the Legislative building and garage seems to almost connect to Bushnell Park.

Do we need to stay away from this until the highway is realigned?

Or, could someting be done sooner (since it is not really in the heart of the highway project)?

post-6896-0-10981100-1308236352_thumb.jp

post-6896-0-68257800-1308236341_thumb.jp

iquilt is staying away from there. the thing is that the highway redesign as you know affects the entire western part of the park. may expand it even, so the designer did pretty much nothing to that part, I think in anticipation of the highway project

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I read that the rocks may be moved to a pool or fountain of somesort nearby. I think on the Travelers Plaza somewhere.

The rocks are apparently a very..... VERY hot topic and there were annoying people trying to derail everything over the rocks while in the meeting.

the iquilt people are trying to placate the "art" lovers by actually reaching out to the artist on hw to handle the boulders. anyways, as of now they are exactly where they are now, but just contain a water feature"reflecting pool" that is not currently there.

so we will see, this is the least concrete of all plans

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