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Gold Recognized For Urban Vision, Advocacy

Toni A. Gold: Thoughtful planner to receive Main Street award

Hartford Courant Editorial

April 26, 2013

Toni A. Gold, the Hartford planner and transportation consultant, is this year's winner of the Connecticut Main Street Center's CL&P Award, given for outstanding contributions to the revitalization of Connecticut's historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. If we were writing the inscription, it would read "To the Jane Jacobs of Hartford."

Like the legendary New York urbanist, Ms. Gold has been a transformative thinker in city planning and been involved in many of the measures, large and small, that have made the city and region a better place to live.

She was a key player in Riverfront Recapture, the nonprofit that reconnected Hartford to the Connecticut River and created a wonderful series of riverfront parks and activities. She helped organize her West End and Asylum Hill neighbors around a plan to revitalize that key east-west corridor. She also championed a city ordinance that allowed "granny flats," apartments in historic barns and carriage houses. This was a sensible way to increase density and preserve historic structures.

Ms. Gold has with some success urged the state to use roundabouts instead of traditional intersections, on the sound theory that they are safer and less expensive. She is a national authority on what is called "context-sensitive design," the building of transportation facilities without destroying the fabric around them.

Perhaps her most ambitious effort is the Hub of Hartford, a long-term plan to reknit the city by reducing the wall-like impact of I-84. A clear thinker and writer, she once mused on the building of the interstate highway system and a proposed route of a new Amtrak high-speed train and derived this vital question: "Does federal money make us stupid?"

Congratulations to Ms. Gold on the award, which will be presented on June 10. it's hard to imagine a more worthy recipient.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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