Road Closure Planned Just Outside of Downtown for This Weekend

On a weekend when the City of Hartford hopes to attract over 20,000 people to Downtown with its Discover Hartford Parks Tour, Envisionfest, and Pipes in the Valley, Broad Street will be closed between Farmington Avenue and Capitol Avenue. A bulletin from CTfastrak says that access to the I-84 on-ramp on Broad Street will be maintained for vehicles approaching from Farmington Avenue.

The detour, as depicted on a map provided by the Department of Transportation, sends motorists all the way to Sigourney Street, rather than have them use Flower Street, which would save time and fuel.There is no indication from the DOT that Flower Street will be impeded by the construction, which is due to close Broad Street from 9p.m. this Friday until 5a.m. on Monday.

This closure is intended to “expedite the replacement of the Broad Street Bridge.”

Board Gives Superintendent Low Marks

Those paying close attention to the relationship between the Hartford Board of Education and Superintendent Kishimoto knew this was a long time coming. Initially, the BOE was hesitant to speak up; one member of the school board said that because the Superintendent is female, they had tiptoed around in an effort to be sensitive to potential gender dynamics issues.

That free pass, however, has been tossed.

The Board of Education is recommending that Dr. Kishimoto “pursue services offered for additional professional development,” to address areas in which she received low grades from the board in her annual performance evaluation. (more…)

Flower Street: “No” becomes “what do you think we can reconsider?”

name and name

Margiotta and Cunningham

Not until employees of the Department of Transportation were asked about next steps in the process, at the very end of a two hour meeting, did they bother to dispense with one major detail: the hearing officer has not yet made a decision about whether or not Flower Street could be closed.

In a meeting of the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association, Brian Cunningham of the CT DOT and Tony Margiotta of Baker Engineering, explained the “recommended options for further study for the Flower Street crossing.”

Four of those options were presented by Margiotta as having potential; he said they considered 25 different options in a charrette, looking at fourteen of those in depth. No indication was given as to when any decision would be made about this part of the project, and after much bumbling with that softball question, Cunningham said that he would email individuals associated with the Frog Hollow and Asylum Hill organizations.

In a matter of weeks, the CT DOT and its associated engineers went from claiming that there was absolutely nothing they would do to accommodate pedestrians inconvenienced by the planned permanent closure of Flower Street to all traffic, to managing to find several alternatives that did not merely involve telling people to wait around for a circulator shuttle on their lunch breaks.

The shuttle idea is still one they are holding onto, however, despite being told by the Aetna and various residents that this would not mitigate the disconnection of Asylum Hill from Frog Hollow. In the Tuesday night meeting, one option was pushed by the DOT more heavily than others, yet this option does the least to meet the needs of residents and Capitol Avenue merchants.

Saying they “have not formally or finally decided” on any options, the DOT favored that of creating what they are describing as a pedestrian/bicycle multi-use trail between Flower Street and Broad Street. This would be constructed under the I-84/Aetna viaduct. The State would be responsible for the structure and landscaping, but they said the City would have to deal with matters like plowing. There was no indication that the DOT has had conversations with the City about this potential maintenance issue. (more…)

Destruction of Turf?

One might ask whose turf is allegedly being destroyed by the casual Ultimate Frisbee and soccer games that are being held in Bushnell Park.

Though this is not the first time the City has cracked down on such usage — over five years ago I witnessed individuals merely kicking a ball around, without cleats or a net, get threatened with arrest there — the pressure seems to have interesting timing. (more…)