Good morning - just heard about the potential for the creation of a new "Bus Path" being considered by the state to enhance mass transportation. It is proposed to run from the New Britain/Newington area to Hartford.The state is conducting a public hearing on the subject tonight at Union Station in HartfordNow that Bristol will have greater accessibility, with the completion of Route 72, this might be a superb opportunity for the state to consider the inclusion of Bristol in this project. I would appreciate any/all information on this idea and ask that the Bristol legislative delegation research the potential for Bristol becoming a part of this project.
For more information, see the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency's Busway West site here and the Connecticut Busway site here.
The Federal Transit Administration's bus transit site here.
Finally, here's a story I wrote in March 2004:
The number of Bristol commuters who use buses may double when the proposed busway between New Britain and Hartford opens in 2007.
The increased reliance on buses “will have a big impact” in Bristol, said Don Padlo, a longtime public works commissioner.
“It has the potential of alleviating a lot of traffic,” Padlo said, as drivers decide they can do without “this hassle on the highways.”
Officials are already planning more bus routes to bring from Bristol to and from the busway station in downtown New Britain. They’re also eyeing more commuter lots, bicycle paths and other improvements to make it easier to take advantage of the new transportation option.
Joe Barbeau, transportation coordinator for the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency, said a bus route that swings into Plymouth is also a possibility.
The 9.4-mile busway is a state Department of Transportation initiative to try to reduce the growing volume of cars and trucks clogging the interstate between Southington and Hartford. Plans call for it to run alongside the rail line from New Britain to Hartford, with as many as 12 stations along the way.
The new road would be accessible only to buses – though there’s some talk of a bicycle path as well – that could speed commuters through the congested corridor, making it an attractive option for at least some drivers who are tired of tackling the traffic.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Theodore Scheidel, Burlington’s first selectman and CCRPA board member. “It’s good for New Britain and Bristol.”
“It’s another sincere effort to get the cars off the highway,” he said.
Padlo said many people are tired of “the daily stress and traffic tie-ups” along Interstate 84.
Planners say that the number of commuters who take the bus from Bristol to reach jobs in Hartford may rise from 350 to more than 750 once the busway is operating.
“Obviously, it creates a great demand for parking,” Barbeau said.
The state is eliminating the Todd Street commuter parking lot because the $31 million Route 72 extension is going to plow right through it within a couple of years. A new lot is going to be built near Aldi grocery store.
But there’s not enough space for the expected number of commuters, Barbeau said.
He said planners are considering renting parking spaces from city churches to provide commuters with somewhere to park to take the buses from Bristol to the new busway.
Barbeau said there may be mini-transportation hubs created in downtown Bristol, at the commuter lot by Aldi and perhaps in Plainville. Bus routes could come together at the mini-hubs, he said.
He said officials need to consider whether there’s a need for benches, shelters, sidewalks or other amenities at the small hubs. The idea, Barbeau said, is to make sure people feel safe and secure at the sites.
“It’s really a broad focus that we have,” he said.
Planners are considering new bus routes in connection to the busway that might extend buses to Cyrpress Street, Stonecrest Drive, Jewel Street and other areas where they’ve identified a possible need.
Barbeau said there is “some interest” in having a bus line run to the Plymouth Industrial Park as well. But, he said, there are “no resources” for it now.
The state is looking into having four busways running in and out of Hartford, with the New Britain busway slated to come first. It is supposed to open early in 2007.
Other busways on the drawing table include one from Hartford to Manchester, one from the capital to Bradley Airport and one that runs south of the city.
For more information about the busway project, check out www.ctrapidtransit.com and www.ccrpa.org/transport.htm.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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