April 26 - May 3, 2006
By MIKE MCGARRY, The Hartford News Staff Writer
Now it’s up to our state legislators to stop the madness on the corner of Farmington and Broad.
To quote state Senator John Fonfara, “It’s a terrible place for a school.”
On top of trying to jam a school (Pathways to Technology Magnet School) on that tiny spot, planners now are going completely bonkers with a dangerous, expensive plan to really screw up the roads around the space – despite tremendous public opposition – all in a gamble that the state legislature will approve changing of the deed needed for such land use.
Closing of part of Asylum Avenue to traffic to somehow improve the school site – the new “Green Space” would be across four lanes of traffic – is really begging the question. The idea that a few more seconds on a traffic light would make a difference to hurried teenagers crossing a busy Farmington Avenue (with traffic doubled by the change) is worse than madness – the changes make no real difference. The traffic counts won’t change, the buses still will be in danger if they get stuck in any kind of a jam, and the odds that some distracted teenager will be splattered all over the corner of Broad and Farmington are still high.
The Courant has not done a good job of reporting on this issue. It has not discussed the big question - state legislature approval. If any of our state representatives want to know what the public thinks they should just ask Rev. Bell – a neighborhood clergyman – he’ll tell you nobody wants a school on that site. He stood out while some leaders twisted and turned, steadfastly opposed, saying a pig is a pig, impossible to dress up.
A simple answer to the “experts” brought in to dress up the pig, is that the traffic coming up under the train station to the West is important to the city and the region. Slow it up anymore with less capacity and longer lights and we’ll have New York and Boston traffic jams every day, after every civic center event and, especially, whenever anything happens on that little hill.
Imagine half an inch of snow on that rise, a stuck truck, tying up the only way out. Lots of babies will be born on that hill. Police cars, firetrucks, ambulances will have to punch holes in the jam every day - just wait until we have a real emergency.
So, it’s up to the Hartford legislative caucus. Have a meeting, have a vote, and tell the Mayor the truth: it’s a terrible place for a school and we won’t allow it.