transport more mobile
what we could become if we shifted from car-centric to broad-based mobility: a walkable, bikeable network of town centers
move400: transport more mobile
The region has low-density rural and suburban communities with pockets of higher-density urban neighborhoods. This has encouraged a costly and unsustainable dependence on cars. As we look to our 400th anniversary, we must improve and expand our rail, bus, bike, and walking infrastructure, while making our highway system more efficient. Emphasizing walking, biking, and public transit will reduce greenhouse gases and lower asthma rates. New commuter rail, bus rapid transit, bike routes, pedestrian paths, and transit-oriented development have improved the way we move. But work remains to finish the Hartford Line, expand the airport, and rethink our highway system. It will make our region more healthy, prosperous, affordable, and resilient.
Areas of Focus: Airport/Rail, Highways/Transit, Walking/Biking
Recommendations & Actions
Biking & Walking
The Hartford Business Improvement District received national recognition for its free roadside assistance for cyclists.
Make the Valley and its Capital City a national leader in bicycle usage, recalling its exceptional history as a center of bike production. Promote a regional bike plan and network of protected bike lanes and intersections. Increase usage by empowering advocacy groups and vendors of bike services. Capitalize on recognition of Hartford as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community and the national press it received for developing an on-call bike repair team in the downtown area.
CRCOG is beginning a planning study to assess the optimal route and investments to close this gap.
Many sections through the region are already completed, but a key gap remains in Bloomfield, Hartford and East Hartford. Completing the Greenway highlights the Connecticut River Valley and Capital City as a prime destination along the trail, and adds key infrastructure for regional bicycle commuting.
CRCOG has developed both a Complete Streets Policy and a Network Map.
Create a regional Complete Streets Network Map to focus investment, and develop Complete Streets Policies to guide regional funding decisions, along with Implementation Guidance for municipalities. Ensure that all streets are designed to be safe and accessible for pedestrians, especially in downtowns and town centers, and along retail, recreational, and cultural corridors.
The City of Hartford has a rentable Link scooter program, including a reduced fare program.
This is critical as a last-mile option. The pilot of Lime bikes in Hartford in 2017 spurred conversation throughout the region of the value of providing a variety of mobility options. A robust mobility ecosystem provides a more equitable, greener, and more connected region. The top-tier success of the Link scooter program in Hartford ought to be grown to serve a greater portion of the region.
The Hartline is a proposal well-positioned to make a dramatic case for each of these benefits.
Walking provides a host of benefits: free and non-polluting mobility, reduced emissions, accessible and attractive neighborhoods, support for mixed-use areas and with housing density, and the creation of vibrant and active public spaces. Favorable walkability scores are now definitively linked to higher real estate values, and is now a key factor in attracting workers and companies to relocate. All of these benefits from walkability can make our towns and neighborhoods better places. Our Valley and city have ample historic settings capable of improving their walkability.
When Hartford was recognized as a silver-level Walk Friendly Community, the absence of a Safe Routes to Schools program was identified as an area of need. This is an equity issue: children in urban communities are more susceptible to auto injury on their way to school, but as the region densifies the area of risk will expand. This program ensures the ability of children to reach school without the fear of high-speed traffic and, for drivers, makes school zones an areas of extreme care and attention.
Airport & Rail
The Connecticut Airport Authority is pursuing an ambitious expansion at Bradley, now an award-winning airport. The expansion is critical to position the Valley and Capital City as a business and tourism destination, and to make Bradley a compelling and competitive alternative for those wishing to avoid overcrowded Boston and New York airports. This includes extending runways and additional taxiways, building a new terminal with additional gates, completing the ground transportation center, and improving air cargo capabilities. Direct connections from Bradley to greater numbers of cities increase the attraction of the Valley and Capital City for new business investments, support businesses already located here, and expand the region’s market for tourism. Business and government leaders should work with the Airport Authority to persuade airlines that our airport expansion and shared vision for Valley growth will justify and reward expanded route offerings.
CTtransit has introduced Route 24, which connects the Windsor and Windsor Locks train stations with Bradley Airport.
Bradley Airport must be accessible to the Capital City area by other modes than private automobiles. This is important for tourists and business travelers seeking to visit without a car, and for residents wishing to reduce their car dependency. Important options include new bus and rail links to the Windsor Locks Hartford Line station, and expanded and improved Bradley Flyer service.
This idea has come to life in the North Atlantic Rail coalition, and has been further enhanced by the State of Massachusetts exploring additional rail options between Boston and Springfield.
We need a sustained, long-term push for higher or high-speed rail from New York to Boston, which would transform the region. This realignment would put Hartford directly between New York and Boston, ending its position on a branch line. Connecting to either of these cities in as little as an hour would exponentially increase Hartford’s attractiveness as a business or living destination.
In early 2022, funding was committed for a train station in Enfield.
Currently there are seven stations in operation of the ten planned. The State is seeking funds to build the stations in Newington, West Hartford, and Enfield, and to rebuild the Windsor Locks station. Doing so would help create higher and more sustainable population density, catalyze a range of economic activities, enhance the vibrancy of town centers, and increase housing choices. Over time, increased ridership on the Hartford Line can reduce reliance on highways and driving. Building out neighborhoods around stations maximizes ridership for the service, and provides options for those wishing to live in walkable, accessible communities.
Highways & Transit
Working with ConnDOT, develop a comprehensive transportation and land use strategy that recognizes that the region is at an historic crossroads for transportation investments – a new paradigm is essential for economic development and sustainability.
By eliminating the I-84/I-91 interchange downtown, by re-routing and tunneling I-84 and capping I-91, we can:
Free up land for urban development: 28 acres in downtown Hartford, and over 130 acres in East Hartford would be unlocked by removing both the downtown interchange and significantly reducing the East Hartford Mixmaster. This would create the Twin Cities concept, expand Riverfront Plaza and bring new development along River Road.
Create River Road: Creating a cap at the height of the dike and levelling the grade of the highway would allow for a road to be developed above the highway to serve as connections to downtown streets, while making the riverfront accessible to downtown, and allowing for new development on an expanded Riverfront Park.
Reclaim Bulkeley Bridge and remove the I-84 “trench” downtown: With I-84 out of downtown, the Bridge can return to its original multi-modal roots and be an attractive destination. Downtown North can be reconnected with downtown effectively, and a direct connection from Homestead Avenue can be developed in order to strengthen the connection between the North End and Downtown and the future Midtown.
Reconnect neighborhoods along the I-84 viaduct: The necessary work for I-84 includes the aging viaduct behind Aetna and Union Station. For decades, this has separated the Asylum Hill, Frog Hollow, Parkville and downtown neighborhoods from each other. Removing this barrier would unlock the potential of these neighborhoods to grow into a strong, cohesive city experience.
Integrate with the Hartford Line, local buses, bike network, pedestrian oriented town and city centers, and improve critical last-mile options. The system should eventually extend to Storrs, strengthening its utility to the region and developing the backbone for a true transit network.
CRCOG is currently developing an implementation strategy in its MetroHartford Rapid Routes project.
Focusing on Hartford and East Hartford, proceed with a demonstration project on one of the six priority corridors selected as part of the Hartford Comprehensive Transit Service Plan.
CTtransit is now accessible on the Transit app, and has become integrated into Google Maps.
In 2022, fares are not collected on public buses.
Enhance the rider experience by providing real-time information, digital ticketing, shelters and stop amenities, and through the introduction of dedicated bus lanes.
Airport & Rail: Bradley Airport Light Rail Feasibility Study (ConnDOT 2016), Bradley Field Airport Master Plan (ConnDOT 2018), Long-Range Transportation Plan for Metro-Hartford Capitol Region (CRCOG 2019), Northeast Corridor Capital Investment Plan (2019), Capital Gateway Master Plan, Knowledge Corridor Rail Workshop (RPA 2016)
Highways & Transit: Long-Range Transportation Plan for Metro-Hartford Capitol Region (CRCOG 2019), 84 Viaduct Plan, 84/91 Tunnel Proposal
Biking & Walking: Long-Range Transportation Plan for Metro-Hartford Capitol Region (CRCOG 2019), Hartford Bicycle Master Plan, Complete Streets Plan (CRCOG), The iQuilt Plan for Downtown Hartford (iQuilt Partnership 2011), East Coast Greenway plan