This week, we continue our conversation with Doug Suisman, the architect and urban planner, who is leading an ambitious planning project for the Greater Hartford region, called Hartford 400. Last time, we talked about the plan’s vision to re-route highways that cut off, and in many cases, destroyed neighborhoods.
Today, we talk about the three major “places” that the project would create: a linear park called The Hartline, that’s based on successful walk/bike paths like Atlanta’s BeltLine; a brand-new urban district in East Hartford, called Midtown, created from the removal of the “mixmaster” of highway overpasses that clog the city; and River Road, the main thoroughfare that reconnects Hartford to the Connecticut River, built over an underground section of I-91. We also discuss the possibility of Hartford becoming a hub of high-speed rail.
Suisman says these plans work as a unit, but don’t rely on each other to achieve success, making a more manageable transformation than the $17 billion price tag might suggest. And, he tells me, it imagines a Connecticut economy built on creating a place people want to live.