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Asylum Hill Reacts to Planned Flower Street Closure

By Kerri Provost

August 17, 2012

Employees of the Connecticut Department of Transportation met with residents and stakeholders in Asylum Hill on Wednesday night, primarily to rehash the presentation given on Monday to the Frog Hollow NRZ. Following a theme, Asylum Hill residents opposed the closure of Flower Street, while the DOT continued to provide questionable justification for that plan. No new arguments were presented, but residents and stakeholders pressed for more specific explanations.

When the representative from Baker Engineers, on behalf of the DOT, once again cited the outdated traffic study completed by CRCOG in 2006, he was corrected for misrepresenting data. The DOT claimed that one out of four days queueing happened on the tracks which cross Flower Street. This makes it seem as if a vehicle is stopped on the tracks 25% of the time, which is simply not the case.

Sandy Fry, the Principal Transportation Planner with CRCOG says that the 2006 study “did not make any recommendations relative to keeping Flower Street open or closed.”

She explained that the CRCOG study “did suggest some measures that could be taken to alleviate queuing under the conditions that existed at the time.”

Additionally, Fry said that during the study they “observed queuing behavior” of motor vehicles and “did not count pedestrians or bicyclists.”

The DOT continued to cling hard and fast to line of sight and distance of crossing arms as excuses for shutting down Flower Street to motorized, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. Passenger trains would be running at 30 MPH and freight trains at 15 MPH by the time they reached the Flower Street crossing; the DOT repeatedly claimed that the trains would be unable to brake in time due to the line of sight problem, which was not named as an issue for the actual busway. As for the crossing arms, DOT spokespersons stopped referring to minimum required distance this time, opting to refer to a “recommended distance” at which these gates needed to be placed. At the previous meeting, officials spoke of a minimum distance but could provide no numbers regarding a maximum distance.

Asylum Hill residents, like their Frog Hollow counterparts, remained in opposition, telling the DOT that residents live in this city 24/7, not just in peak hours.

Since the meeting, petitions have begun to circulate at businesses along Capitol Avenue; the proposed Flower Street closure continues to surprise even people working in buildings accessed from that road.

Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford. To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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