This last year, spent in a pandemic, has changed the lives of so many. But those changes might..May 28, 2021
Steady Habits: The plan to transform Hartford’s highways, riverfront and fortunes
This week, we take a look into the future of Connecticut’s capital city. And not a science fiction look, 100 years out, but something a bit more manageable. It’s a plan to re-route highways that have cut off parts of the city from each other, and from the river that gives Connecticut its name. It’s a plan to knit together smaller projects with big, national efforts, like an expansion of high-speed rail in the Northeast, with a hope of attracting more people to the region, and making life better for those who live here.
The project is called Hartford 400 – named for the city’s upcoming 400th birthday in 2035, a date that marks the European settlement of the region, which has a much longer history of Native American settlement.
The plan builds on community work that’s been trying to solve the problem of what to do with the failing, I-84 raised highway; ideas of how to fix the failing river walls that keep the Connecticut from flooding the city, while reclaiming access to its banks; tunnel concepts floated by U.S. Rep. John B. Larson; and questions about how to capitalize on the $2 trillion infrastructure plan put out by the Biden administration.
The cost? It’s big: $17 billion over 15 years. But my guest, Doug Suisman, says this confluence of events gives the city, and the state, a chance to do something that might never happen again: remake Hartford with a new vision.
Suisman is an architect and urban designer, based in Los Angeles. But he’s a native of Hartford, and he led the city’s iQuilt project, a precursor to Hartford 400.
In the first of two conversations, we talk about the big ideas – and what it will mean for the roadways which have caused such dislocation and congestion for decades.
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On “Steady Habits,” our goal is to foster meaningful conversations with newsmakers and the journalists who cover them. We’re planning to dig into some of Connecticut’s biggest stories in policy and politics.
John Dankosky, a 25-year radio journalist in Connecticut, will serve as the program’s host.