This is what the east-west mitigation path (Flower Street to Broad Street) looked like at 10:30 last night. At the meeting, two representatives from the Hartford Courant said that building a bridge would be “extravagant” and that they think the DOT did a “good job” with this pathway.
Fighting with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to lock down safe and reasonable pedestrian and cyclist access is a long process, so it’s unsurprising that those attending the latest round were small in number– a mix of those who understand the project better than some of those presenting on it, and those who were uninformed about how we came to be in a room discussing a multimillion dollar project that nobody wants.
Background for those just tuning in: The DOT barricaded one of Hartford’s city streets last year. Pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles, even emergency vehicles, are unable to go from Capitol Avenue to Farmington Avenue on this street.
Neighborhood groups opposed this for obvious reasons, like losing north-south access between Frog Hollow and Asylum Hill. Area small businesses opposed this out of fear of losing significant foot traffic; later, those stores along Capitol Avenue would experience the loss in revenue predicted. The City of Hartford initially opposed this, but then backed off. Aetna had been ready to provide legal support to fight this, but they eventually cowered. Christopher Brown, a resident of Frog Hollow and board member of Bike Walk CT, sought a writ of mandamus — for us plain folk, that means he sued the DOT, not to get any money, but to force them to keep Flower Street open for cyclists and pedestrians. In Superior Court, as in these public neighborhood meetings, the argument for keeping the street open got twisted; instead of the case being about safety, it was interpreted as being about convenience — something that has never been the emphasis for vocal residents and business owners. What came out of that time in court was that the DOT is now on record as being committed to building a bridge that would actually move pedestrians and cyclists in the north-south direction.
Still no word on how this would be funded
At Monday’s meeting intended to update the community on the DOT’s plans for this Flower Street up-and-over, the attention once again was placed on convenience over safety. Though the method for obtaining these numbers was never disclosed, we were told that taking the Broad Multi-Use Path would take 6.3 minutes, the Skywalk, 5.5 minutes, and the elevator, 5.6 minutes. During this process, the community has asked the DOT for data on pedestrian and cyclist fatalities and injuries at at-grade crossings versus at busy intersections and at Interstate ramp crossings. To date, the public has not received this information.
At the meeting, Brown raised the point that according to the DOT’s own internal emails obtained through a FOIA request, there is a simple solution that would not require millions of dollars or minutes of detour: go from a double lane of busway to single for a small portion of the New Britain-to-Hartford path. According to the DOT Continue reading 'DOT Mitigation for Closure of Flower Street: Ain’t Nothing New Under the Sun'»