It's time to expand the route of downtown's Star Shuttle circulator bus. For one, the current route is short enough to walk. A wider loop would make public transit more accessible to a wider range of passengers and create synergy between institutions in and around downtown.
Currently, the Star Shuttle goes no further south than Arch Street, and that for just one block, and no further west than Union Place. A more appropriate loop would expand the southern boundary to Charter Oak Avenue and Buckingham Street, so that the southwest corner of the loop would pass by the state Capitol. This would allow people at the Connecticut Convention Center to get to the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, which seems like a no-brainer.
The loop could hop west to Broad Street and pick up more state workers as well as employees of Aetna, The Courant, The Hartford and other companies. Then it could head to Union Place via Asylum Avenue.
Along with the Bushnell and the Capitol, expanding in this fashion would bring institutions such as the popular Polish National Home, the Charter Oak Cultural Center, the State Library and the courthouses into the loop.
This expansion of the Star Shuttle's route would provide almost door-to-door access between city hall and the Capitol, probably a good thing for the city. It would provide access along the route to more parking options for public- and private-sector workers, which should lessen downtown congestion. It might even free some land now used for surface parking for the construction of buildings.
So far, the Star Shuttle has been a success. Ridership averages more than 200 passengers per day, and has peaked at more than 2,000 with conventions in town. Expanding the Star Shuttle just a little bit more would make it a lot more useful to a lot more people.
Who knows how that might help the city?
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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