7:39 PM EST, February 12, 2013
On Monday and Tuesday morning, traffic backed up on highways leading to downtown Hartford, stalled by bottlenecks created by mounds of snow. There is a certain illogic to clearing the highways so that people can drive to the exit ramps, only to have them sit there waiting for other cars to inch through snow-clogged streets.
On Monday, a major problem was a bus stuck in the snow at Trumbull and Jewell streets near Bushnell Park, holding up traffic. A couple of other buses were stuck as well. Here's where we need better coordination:
In a major storm such as the one that struck last Friday night, good sense dictates that as many people be kept off the roads as possible so crews can remove the snow. One way to do that is to encourage people to take trains and buses; in Hartford, mainly buses. But this is only going to work if the entire bus route is plowed down to the bone and out to the curb.
So if CT Transit is going to run a full schedule — which it should if at all possible — crews have to put top priority on getting bus routes clean.
Two days after a storm ends, buses shouldn't be getting stuck in Hartford. The same thing happened in the January 2011 storm. When do we figure this out?
One more item of interest regarding the storm was how people shared the streets until sidewalks could be cleared. In Hartford and other communities, pedestrians walked in the streets and cars drove slowly to avoid accidents.
This concept of shared streets is gaining momentum in Europe and elsewhere as an actual urban design. The street becomes a common space to be shared by pedestrians, bicyclists and low-speed motor vehicles. They are typically narrow streets without curbs, and cars are slowed by trees, planters and other obstacles placed in the street. The street becomes a public space for local residents and businesses, what the Dutch call a "street for living."
Are there streets in Connecticut where this might work?
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