With so little useful information traveling between City Hall and the general public, it is easy to get the impression that projects have stalled when that’s hardly the case. Continue reading 'Proposed Crosswalks, Sharrows, and Bike Lanes That May Happen During Your Lifetime'»
Today Real Hartford introduces a new series: Grid, Interrupted. This will be a glimpse at some of a street or block’s history.
A recent piece in the Courant painted a kind of dreamer’s dream. It reported that the State of Connecticut’s laboratory building, pictured above, is being vacated and is potentially slated for demolition. The Bushnell is eying this spot for condominiums and apartments. Other desired changes to this area: retail and restaurants. A potential change: a parking garage on part of a surface lot and the possibility of a garage elsewhere with (maybe) housing and (maybe) a restaurant surrounding it.
Lovely, ain’t it?
But what the iQuilt supporters have skated around is obvious and simple: no neighborhood is going to exist until all those hideous and isolating surface lots are dealt with, seriously. Continue reading 'Grid, Interrupted: The Bushnell Neighborhood'»
Pope Park Recreation Center, now being called the Samuel V. Arroyo Recreation Center, played host to the final public input session for the Capital Parks Master Plan Monday night. This was the only of three meetings to be held in one of the city’s parks; the other two were at the Hartford Public Library.
Enthusiasm and engagement was low. New material was sparse. The audience was told that results from the online surveys were in, but that “the team” would not be spending any time sharing this information with the group who had come to hear more about potential plans and give feedback on them.
Most of the evening was a rehash of previous meetings, the process, and a mix of abstract concepts. There was no question-and-answer period. After the presentation was given, residents were told to write down their top three items (desires? dislikes?) on postcards. From there, the meeting seemed to fall apart.
Does Input Matter?
There has been more of an effort with this project than with others to get public comment. Besides the three meetings, there was an online survey used to collect thoughts on the parks and there continues to be a feedback form on the Sasaki website.
But what has happened to those ideas?
Materials from the presentation in October did not include all remarks made in the first meeting. Suggestions challenging the iQuilt plan seemed to be omitted from record. Another slide providing early data on barriers to park and recreation program use stated in a large font that “use is hindered by a lack of information, maintenance, and safety concerns,” as if those were the top three issues. Looking at the numbers directly next to the statement, the top three concerns are actually the lack of information about services, poor maintenance, and programs being offered that park users do not have an interest in. During the first meeting, there were plenty of remarks about programs park users would enjoy, but these did not seem to go anywhere.
On other slides, only the negative comments given about Pope Park and Colt Park were shown, despite there being positive comments submitted. As expected, Bushnell Park, Elizabeth Park, and Riverside Park were portrayed as favored.
There were also claims that many comments came in suggesting that the parks need better marketing and branding. From everything witnessed in the first meeting, there was no indication that the public was pushing for yet another branding campaign, which is a creature different from marketing the programs and events offered at the parks.
During Monday’s meeting, it seemed almost nothing from the first meeting had been incorporated. There was no mention of leash law enforcement, programming, cooking grills, or historic fencing at South Green. Allowing some areas of parks to “renaturalize” and creating better infrastructure for cyclists seemed to be the only items, besides that perennial complaint about ATVs, that made it into this round. It was suggested that hillsides and other areas allowed to renaturalize might discourage ATV use in parks.
It was unclear if those previous ideas from the other meetings and survey were mostly discarded or if the team opted to just not discuss them. Continue reading 'Capital Parks Master Plan: Park Program Fees and Bike Lines'»
“More events in Goodwin, Colt, and Keney Park”
“Ice skating in more parks”
“Enough with the iQuilt already!”
“The old Taste of Hartford…when all the restaurants had booths on Constitution Plaza”
A full house of residents did not hesitate to say and write down what they thought Hartford’s parks could use. The Capital City Parks Master Plan‘s timeline involves several public forums, stakeholder meetings, and an online survey in the near future. Thursday night’s public meeting at the library was the first; two more meetings are planned for August and September. There will be intermittent stakeholder meetings.
With a steering committee, consultants, and engineers on hand, the first meeting was what Tom Deller, City of Hartford’s Director of Development Services, called an attempt to “understand what we have, what we need . . . and how to improve it.”
“It’s important that we hear your concerns,” he said. Continue reading 'Improving Parks, One Carriage Ride at a Time'»
For those paying attention, there was nothing new shared at Wednesday evening’s iQuilt Plan update regarding the “Bushnell Park North” and “Bushnell Gardens” projects.
The former is a name given to the street which changes from Asylum to Ford, Jewell, and Wells. There has consistently been talk of putting this on a “road diet” to create a “wonderful boulevard for downtown,” as Doug Suisman says. Continue reading 'Isle of Safety Among Changes Planned for Intermodal Triangle Project'»
The iQuilt Plan is less of a mystery now to area residents than it was a few years ago, and depending on who you ask, it either gets rave or entirely mixed reviews.
On Wednesday, January 9th there will be a public meeting about the Intermodal Triangle Project piece of the iQuilt Plan. The two-hour meeting will be a combination of updates and public input. This is slated to begin at 5:30pm in the Center for Contemporary Culture at the Hartford Public Library.
The year-end lists are a little bit phoning it in, but looking through the archives is great for perspective. Originally, this was going to be a Top Twelve list: the top article from each month. Stories are more complicated and ongoing than that. So, this is a gathering of articles that fall into one of three categories: received a lot of attention, deemed by Real Hartford to be somehow more important than others, or were especially interesting or fun to write.
I ended up with more than twelve: Continue reading 'Top Twelve Articles of 2012'»
After the quiet turnout for the Envisionfest back in September, there has been little in the way of news about the iQuilt Project. That does not mean it has been forgotten.
Tomorrow evening, there will be a forum on the advantages and disadvantages of government spending on this project. This event, presented by the Connecticut Policy Institute, will feature panelists such as Thomas Deller, who is Hartford’s relatively new Director of the Department of Development Services. Also on the panel: Alan Plattus from the Yale School of Architecture and Don Poland of the CT Partnership for Balanced Growth.
This event is slated to kick off at 5p.m. on November 14th at the Hartford Public Library. It should wrap up around 6:30.
In any mention of the Hartford section of the East Coast Greenway, two points always seem to come up: people are unaware of its existence despite online cue sheets and markings on the sidewalk, and, the lack of signage.
Yet, ECG signs have popped up in places downtown, in the Riverfront Plaza area.
At the same time, the organization is more or less being forced to take steps away from its own stated goals. On Saturday, the East Coast Greenway Alliance had a booth at the Discover Hartford Tour, providing an opportunity for some answers about why they would agree to an action that would not add, but remove, an off-road section of the route.
As it turns out, nobody representing the organization is thrilled about the push to remove the ECG from Bushnell Park.
They said that “because of the iQuilt,” the City is trying to make Bushnell Park for pedestrians only, despite bicycles being allowed in all of Hartford’s parks. Continue reading 'Signs Point to Bullying'»
Bike Walk Connecticut wants to know what is working and not working for cyclists and pedestrians in downtown Hartford. They have set up a survey to complete anonymously, if desired, and would like to hear from you by September 27th, as this Friday there will be an episode of Where We Live about the iQuilt Plan.