Ken Krayeske, a Hartford cyclist and lawyer, posed a question at Bike Walk Connecticut’s fundraiser dinner: How does the permanent closure of Flower Street to pedestrian and cyclist traffic enhance Transit Oriented Development (TOD)? The keynote speaker, Kip Bergstrom, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, gave a succinct response before swiftly changing the topic: “I’m not sure that it does.” (more…)
Simsbury has had no trouble branding itself: village charm and bicycles. They have infrastructure to support cyclists. Most notable is the visibility of teenage girls on bikes; this is usually the time of life when many females stop participating in physical activities. All of this is great for Simsbury, but recent developments in Hartford may give the little town some competition for the title of the only Bicycle Friendly Community in Connecticut— maybe not this year or next, but soon.
Improvements to bike infrastructure were written into One City, One Plan — Hartford’s Plan of Conservation and Development. These improvements include providing of parking facilities; connection of neigbhorhoods to parks, shopping, and employment; and investment in “bike lanes, wide shoulders, wide outside lanes, and multi-use trails.” The POCD through 2020 also focuses on complete streets and reducing the dependency on single occupancy vehicles.
Next to the $5 million appropriated for the iQuilt plan in the fiscal year 2012-13 budget, $300,000 for citywide bike lanes is nothing. For FY 2011-2012, $50,000 had been appropriated for lanes. (more…)
Blight extends beyond a few notable buildings in or just outside of Downtown; when such conditions exist unchecked, the problem eventually becomes one that can be corrected by nothing other than demolition.
The Neighborhood Conditions Report divides blighted properties into three categories: those the City has taken action on (fines, foreclosure, demolition), those the City is working with owners to clean up, donate property, renovate, etc., and those that are being monitored.
Under the LSNI, the City has identified targeted blighted properties within demonstration areas. (more…)
Read about the basics of the LSNI here.
The perennial complaint, and one I heard made specific to this initiative, is that brainstorming and planning have been happening forever, but little measurable progress is being made. Some of this is sheer impatience with the rate at which it takes for change to occur, and some is with how work that can be done in ten hours is stretched out to forty.
A combination of paper trail and vocal residents has to exist. These meetings do contain both elements, but more people need to get involved. The Monday evening meeting was not large enough to warrant a microphone.
According to the LSNI meetings, it appears that it is mostly the City holding itself accountable. That’s a start; it also requires we trust the City to do the right thing. (more…)
Aside from specifying which blighted properties would be cracked down on, explaining what the “demonstration areas” were, and describing how the City would be accountable throughout this initiative, little new information was shared during the recent Livable & Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative (LSNI) meetings. It was not new, anyway, to those who have been involved in One City, One Plan. (more…)
Not fatigued yet by all these development meetings? Here are four more to add to your schedule then:
June 22: Handel Performing Arts Center on the corner of Albany Avenue and Westbourne Parkway will host the discussion pertaining to Asylum Hill, Blue Hills, Parkville, and the West End.
June 23: Metzner Recreation Center at 680 Franklin Avenue. This meeting is for the Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, South End, and Southwest neighborhoods.
June 27: Hartford Public Library will host the meeting for Downtown, Frog Hollow, Sheldon/Charter Oak, and South Green.
June 29: Parker Community Center at 2621 Main Street will host meeting for Clay Arsenal, Northeast, and Upper Albany neighborhoods.
The meetings about Livable & Sustainable Neighborhoods are described as opportunities for the public to learn about how the One City One Plan projects are being implemented. Literature sent from the City of Hartford says this will pertain to “infrastructure, community development, and anti-blight projects” happening “over the next two years.” A press release from the City indicates that this is part of the One City, One Plan. The One City, One Plan — the Plan of Conservation and Development through 2020 — was developed after receiving input from NRZs and the public. The projects vary from neighborhood-to-neighborhood. All of these meetings run from 6-7:30pm.
The “oh, hell no!” heard throughout Hartford today was in response to the Historic Preservation Commission’s agenda item:
I Historic Review
a. 77 Wadsworth Street — Demolition of building for the purpose of repaving the property as a surface parking lot. Applicant– Jeffrey Dressler, Owner- 77 Wadsworth Street, LLC
Let’s look at a few of the problems with this.
1. Hartford does not need more surface parking
2. This particular area does not need more surface parking. Though technically in the South Green neighborhood, it is considered by some as part of South Downtown.
View 77 Wadsworth St in a larger map
3. The City of Hartford’s adopted Plan of Conservation and Development is pretty clear about reversing the trend of creating surface parking. The part of the adopted POCD dealing with Downtown directly states, the need to “rationalize Downtown parking” by “Encourag[ing] removal of surface parking.” Not a single section of the plan under the “neighborhoods” category suggests creating surface parking.
4. In nearly every discussion that has happened involving the direction of Hartford in the last two years, sustainability has been part of the conversation. There is nothing ecologically sustainable about surface lots.
5. Tearing down an historic building entirely to create parking is shortsighted.
The Historic Preservation Commission will be meeting on Wednesday May 18th at 4pm in the conference room at plaza level — 260 Constitution Plaza. If you can not make that meeting, you can email the Director of Planning, Roger O’Brien, at firstname.lastname@example.org or send the message to him via Lynda Crespo, Administrative Assistant. at email@example.com
Over a dozen organizations and individuals were given sharp, green Onesies on the sixth floor of the Connecticut Science Center.
The One City Celebration and Awards Ceremony featured an overview of the City of Hartford One City, One Plan — adopted in June 2010 — and gave trees to those who have already taken action to meet some part of the Plan of Conservation and Development goals.
The Urban Forestry Working Group was one that proposed an ordinance to promote Hartford’s urban forest; the Tree Ordinance was recently adopted by City Council. Bike Walk Connecticut, which organized the Discover Hartford Bicycling and Walking Tour, also won an award. The Urban League of Greater Hartford was honored for the Litter Attitudes survey that its Youth League (along with Respect Yourself Hartford) administered last summer.
Other awards recipients included: Frog Hollow NRZ, Parkville NRZ, Asylum Hill NRZ, Julio Concepcion, Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, Green Ribbon Task Force, Fairfield Avenue Neighbors Association, HUB of Hartford, The Market at Hartford 21, City of Hartford Employee Green Action Team, Thomas Swarr, Leadership Greater Hartford and Ted Carroll, and the Hartford Planning & Zoning Commissioners.
COO David Panagore said that if people have ideas for projects that fall within the goals of One City, One Plan (POCD 2020), then the City will support them.
Here are the top twelve items of interest on Real Hartford, judging by which posts were read the most and over the longest period of time. Sometimes there are short spikes in blog traffic, but I am more interested in what is on people’s minds for more than a week at a time. These are not ranked exactly in order of popularity: (more…)