Saturday, January 29, 2011

Malloy Looks to Complete Route 11

The Day - Malloy looking to put Route 11 on road to completion | News from southeastern Connecticut

The New London Day's new political reporter, Matthew Collette, who succeeds Ted Mann, reports that the Route 11 project appears to be moving toward the front burner.

As a general principle, advocates for sustainability take the position that spending our exceedingly limited funds on building new roads is exactly the wrong route to a sustainable, competitive green economy. Governor Malloy has tended to subscribe to this notion.

In the business world, we talk about "making the business case" for doing project x, y or z. As a parallel, what's the sustainability business case for proceeding with expanding Route 11?  Are decision makers use a common set of criteria to make go/no-go decisions on transportation projects? If so, what are they?

Here are some criteria by which we might evaluate projects going forward.  Will the project:

  • Resolve safety problems?
  • Create viable alternatives to driving?
  • Reduce VMT (vehicle miles traveled)?
  • Reduce greenhouse gas pollution?
  • Discourage sprawl?
  • Avoid runoff pollution?
  • Induce transit-oriented development?
  • Create long-term good, green jobs?
  • Create some other quantifiable benefit that exceeds that cost?

Transportation for America has a good set of similar performance objectives here.  The site at makes for interesting reading, discussing the Route 11 Greenway concept that was funded in 2003.

What do you think?  What's the sustainability business case for expanding Route 11?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Not? Greater Hartford as Mecca for Outdoor [Muscle-Powered] Sports Enthusiasts

I guess it’s so cold that even my camera turned blue.  But that hasn’t stopped me, or my beloved pooch, from getting out and enjoying the snow. With a two-foot snow base, you’d think we were in New England.  Oh wait! We are!

skiing w LexiWhatever the season, I spend a lot of time on the trails around my home in West Hartford.  I’ve probably been out on my XC skis or snowshoes at least a dozen days since Christmas, including an 8 miler to Heublein Tower yesterday.

While schussing along, it occurred to me that Greater Hartford has a really good thing going here. 

What if, as The Courant has suggested, we did form a regional park and recreation management organization?

What if it not only helped maintain our vast trail network, but actually groomed the trails for XC skiers? Apparently it’s commonplace in Canada for municipal parks to be groomed for skiing.

And what if GHPR (Greater Hartford Parks & Recreation) operated a small fleet of snowmobile groomers -  fueled by used vegetable oil?!  Is it possible? 

What if, instead of plowing the 3.2 mile roadway around the West Hartford reservoir completely bare, we used it for a skate skiing invitational? 
Would city dwellers from Boston or New York or Providence go for a weekend of skiing, snowshoeing or hiking on our trails? 
Could we entice visitors to finish off a good day on the trails with a visit to our restaurants, brew pubs or music venues?  Could it encourage a little B&B sector?  Could we require modestly-priced trail tickets?

I know this is the best snow season in about a decade, but we should be prepared to capitalize on it when we get it. And, besides, this idea isn’t limited to winter sports.  We’d just want to make sure our trails don’t get loved to death.

Anybody with me on this?

Coming up next: Bringing an Iron Horse music and family pub concept to West Hartford.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Let the Frenzy Begin : Lieberman Not to Run for Re-Election

The New York Times has reported that Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman has decided against running for a fifth term.

Cue: frenzy on the political front.

Linda McMahon is expected to resurrect her failed campaign of 2010. Susan Bysiewicz, who went from promising gubernatorial candidate to being forced to bow out of the race for attorney general, says she plans to run for the senate seat. And rumors are building about interest in the senate seat on the part of Congressmen Chris Murphy and Joe Courtney.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Malloy Now Leads by 4242 Votes

With New Haven votes apparently corrected and with the addition of the votes from Windsor Locks’ 2nd precinct, Malloy now appears to be leading Foley by 4242 votes.

Votes from 10 precincts in Bridgeport are still unreported.

The AP reports a total of 559,609 votes cast for Malloy, 555,369 for Foley, and 17,315 for Independent candidate Tom Marsh.

The Hartford Courant reports that Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz will report official vote counts at noon today.