Anticipated Permanent Closure of Flower Street Creates Controversy
By Kerri Provost
August 12, 2012
Critics of the New Britain-Hartford Busway, now called CTfastrak, have questioned the cost of the project, along with how much use it would get. Detractors may not be taking the long view on this, but one aspect of CTfastrak is beginning to receive more scrutiny from those who are supporters of the project as a whole: the closure of Flower Street.
Although James Redeker, Commissioner of the Department of Transportation, asserts that the busway will reduce overall traffic from the area, there are concerns from local businesses that the street closure will add to the congestion of Broad Street, especially during rush hour.
Others have opposed the move to close Flower Street because it will impede access for pedestrians and cyclists. Because of the barrier created by I-84, there are limited options for pedestrians and cyclists to commute between Frog Hollow and Asylum Hill already, most of which — like Broad Street and Sigourney Street — are unsafe options due to the highway on/off ramps. Expected changes to Broad Street have not accounted for cyclists, who have essentially been told to ride on the sidewalk.
In a recent meeting with the Frog Hollow NRZ, a representative from CTfastrak did not indicate any intention of preserving a path for pedestrians and cyclists using Flower Street. No maps were provided showing that CTfastrak had worked out the details for the closure anticipated to happen this fall. It is expected that this closure will happen shortly after the completion of the remodeled parking lot that spans the block along Capitol Avenue between Flower and Broad Street.
The frequency of bus traffic has been the justification for this closure.
There will be a special meeting of the Frog Hollow NRZ Committee at 5:30pm on August 13, 2012 at the Lyceum (227 Lawrence Street). Representatives from the State of Connecticut Department of Transportation will be present, as the only matter for this meeting is the proposed closure. Officials from the DOT have been asked to bring traffic studies of Flower Street. This meeting is open to the public.
On August 23rd, there will be an adjudicated regulatory hearing at DOT headquarters in Newington; this will be held at 8am in Conference Room A.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
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