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.

An aerial rendering of the “Hartline,” a proposed linear park connecting Bloomfield with East Hartford with biking, walking and transit.
“Midtown” is the name given to a reclaimed area in East Hartford that is now a tangle of highway overpasses.
“River Road” is a new local road and park system built over I-91 in the Hartford 400 plan. It connects the city to the Connecticut River.

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.

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John DankoskyEvent / Podcast Host

John is CT Mirror's Director of Events. A well-known and highly-regarded radio personality and moderator, he divides his time between CT Mirror — where he heads up our events program and serves as a multi-platform consultant — and the NPR / PRI program Science Friday. Previously, John was executive editor of the New England News Collaborative and the host of NEXT, a weekly program about New England. He also appeared weekly on The Wheelhouse, WNPR’s news roundtable program. His 25 years in public media also include serving as vice president of news for Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, host of WNPR’s Where We Live, and regular fill-in host for the PRI program Science Friday in New York. He was twice recognized by PRNDI as America’s best public radio call-in show.