Suggestion Box: Plan Outside the Conference Room Box

Ample space for a bike lane and other street improvements on Bartholomew Avenue

Ample space for a bike lane and other street improvements on Bartholomew Avenue. Pics in this article were all taken in the middle of a regular workday.

 

If you’ve been to one planning workshop, you’ve been to nearly them all. Typically, these are held in a meeting room with no windows. To an extent, we get why this happens. We live in a sedentary society that bristles at even temporary discomfort. That, and everyone always wants to use Powerpoint.

But is this the best way to solicit input from those who are using the streets, parks, and buildings under discussion for redesign? Barring weather extremes where participants might get heat stroke or frostbite, could we reconsider at least some of these venues? (more…)

TORUK’s Futuristic World Comes to Hartford

Cirque du Soleil performers practice a balancing act on the Thanator skeleton sculpture.

If you perused Trump’s proposed budget released yesterday, then you already know that among other things, all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts would be eliminated and the Environmental Protection Agency would have its funding cut 31%. Nineteen agencies in all would have their funding completely eliminated.

Eating that news for breakfast, it felt like the opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK — The First Flight, inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar, could not arrive soon enough as a temporary escape. (more…)

Suggestion Box: More Comprehensive Drivers’ Education

If you spend any amount of time commuting in Greater Hartford by way of anything other than single-occupancy vehicle, you know there is a stigma to it. More than the stigma, there are countless safety issues — motorists turning right on red without stopping to look in all directions first; drivers who use no judgement about whether or not they can completely move through an intersection, who end up blocking crosswalks; bus stops that are not shoveled, forcing people to board by standing in snowbanks or the streets; motorists who choose to not remove copious amounts of snow from their vehicles before getting on the highway. (more…)

Snow Parking Ban: March 13-15, 2017

Pic taken on March 13, 2017. Someone might want to update that

Pic taken on March 13, 2017. Someone might want to update that “remove by” date

No parking is permitted on Hartford streets from 8 p.m. on Monday, March 13 through 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Vehicles remaining on roadways during this time are subject to ticketing and towing. A towing experience will cost you around $200, for the towing and the ticketing. Those whose vehicles get towed should call the HPD at (860) 757-4000 to learn where to retrieve their vehicles.

Residents in need of off-street parking have a number of options and should move vehicles to those lots before the ban begins. You can use any of the Hartford district school lots and park lots (Colt, Elizabeth, Pope, Keney, Goodwin, Foster Heights, Hyland, and Rocky Ridge), along with the following: (more…)

Greater Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2017

The 46th Annual Greater Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade brought kilts and bagpipes into the streets of downtown Hartford on Saturday. A few highlights this year: the Finnegans Wake float, a cannon, and patio heaters along the sidewalk outside of Freed Marcroft. (more…)

Streetscape Improvements in the Future for Bartholomew Avenue

Around this time next year, expect to see some streetscape improvements under construction along Bartholomew Avenue in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood.

The Bartholomew Avenue Streetscape and stormwater improvement project is primarily funded by a State of Connecticut OPM TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) and Responsible Growth Incentive Fund grant of $2 million, and $1.6 million from MDC for streetscape design and construction combined with stormwater-sanitary infrastructure. The City of Hartford has kicked in $25,000 for CDM Smith — consultants with an office in East Hartford — to get the project going.

On Wednesday, the first public workshop was held at the Parkville NRZ’s monthly meeting. There were a few residents in attendance, but most participants represented nearby businesses and organizations. CDM Smith did not come in with designs, but set up the meeting to gain insight about what ideas might be desired by locals as they turn their attention to sidewalk enhancements on Hamilton Street near the signalized crossing, lighting improvements under the “Parkville” bridge, and various other changes along Bartholomew Avenue between Park Street and Hamilton Street. (more…)

Suggestion Box: Big Community Baking Events

Young children, elderly, and all ages in between participated in the Mega Challah Bake at the Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford last weekend. Imagine: 250 girls and women, in one giant room, making bread together — many for the first time. Participants were provided with all ingredients, tools, aprons, and even bags for taking home their bread.

The event opened with a few words and an open buffet. Directions were provided in print, on an overhead projector, and over the sound system. While everyone mixed and kneaded ingredients, lively music played. More experienced bakers helped out the newbies at their tables. The challah buffet re-opened and a guest speaker took to the stage while everyone waited for their dough to rise. Challah was braided, covered in egg, and given a few extras — rainbow sprinkles were a popular topping with the younger participants. (more…)