Streetscape Construction on Farmington Avenue Delayed
The long awaited reconstruction of Farmington Avenue did not begin in 2011 due to delays with the Metropolitan District Commissions, water main replacement project. The Commission wants to replace an 1876-era water main beneath Farmington Avenue and put in the sewer pipe connections the District will need when it separates the combined storm and sewer service line over several years in the majority of the West End. It did not make sense to install a beautiful streetscape only to have it dug up shortly after as aging infrastructure fails. Unfortunately, the water main project has run into severe engineering challenges and is not likely to start until next construction season – 2012.
Design for Farmington Avenue Improvements Aired at Public
They mingled around drawings, asked questions and heard what
the design team for Farmington Avenue had to say about how
the avenue will change for the better. Some 50 people attended
a community meeting on the proposed improvements on June 14,
2006 at the Mark Twain Museum auditorium. The designed covered
the area between Marshall St in Asylum Hill and Kenyon Street
in the West End.
an engineer from the firm the City hired to improve Farmington
Avenue, said the plan tried to achieve a better balance on how
a variety of users are accommodated. Now the avenue’s design
is heavily weighted towards automobiles. The plan will make the
avenue work better for pedestrians and bicyclists.
design incorporated some of the features of the Farmington Avenue
Plan, developed by the Farmington Avenue Alliance in 2001. There
will be medians, but they will not be as dominant a feature as
in the original plan. Sidewalks will be widened in some locations.
There is not enough room for a formal bike lane, but in many
areas of the avenue there will be more shoulder room for cyclists
that will make riding more comfortable.
of bus stops, placing stops on the far side of intersections
so traffic flow through intersections won’t be impeded,
bus pull outs that will get buses out of the travel lane and
bus shelters at all stops will make transit use more appealing.
will not be built at Woodland or the Sisson Avenue intersections.
The FAA design committee reviewed a roundabout study at Woodland
Street and decided the funds needed for installation (about $450,000)
would be better spent on other elements.
light poles will be replaced and pairs of pedestrian lights will
be placed in between each street pole. Presently there are no
pedestrian lights on the avenue.
a better pedestrian environment, some driveway openings at the
sidewalk will be shrunk or eliminated.
who oversaw the landscape design elements, said the avenue is
wide and gracious and fortunate not to have overhead wires. The
goal of his design was to create a street rhythm, using light
poles, large trees, and better defined sidewalks. Sidewalks will
be made of brick colored pavers with a tan accent that would
compliment the predominant red and tan colors of the buildings
on Farmington Avenue.
poles will be placed at the edge of the property line, not at
the curb where they are now. All sidewalks will be pushed back
to use every inch possible as sidewalk within the city-owned
right of way, even where property owners may have encroached
onto public space with a fence or plantings.
overall image of the avenue will be higher quality,” said
the presentation community members asked several questions.
Chavez wanted to know why there weren’t any bike lanes
in the design. URS engineer Kevin Mentz responded the avenue
was not wide enough to accommodate a full bike lane but that
the design team tried to squeeze as much shoulder to ease travel
for bicyclists as they could. In some areas were able to find
as much as four feet.
urged the City to test the median concept first using traffic
cones. Kevin Burnham, a traffic engineer for the Hartford Department
of Public Works, said he didn’t think a test was feasible
because the design called for moving curbs. He added the city
has experimented with re-configuring lanes on other arteries
in Hartford and has overall found the lane changes to be successful.
also said the design team used a computer model to “test” the
impact of medians on Farmington Avenue. They took a conservative
approach, projecting a 25% increase in traffic, despite data
that shows the number of vehicles using the avenue has been declining
for years. They concluded traffic flow did not worsen in most
locations. The use of medians is expected to provide a traffic
calming effect, provide pedestrians refuge and improve the appearance
of the avenue.
asked if the team looked at increasing the amount of time pedestrians
get to cross the street given the rise in wheelchair users in
the neighborhood. The engineers said they had not looked at increasing
the length of the pedestrian phase but would be providing better
markings for crosswalks.
Woodlock wondered if the design team had thought about adding
more signalized intersections. They identified two locations,
Evergreen Avenue and Owen Street, where the intersections are
projected to fail during peak rush hour. However, they did not
believe signals were warranted.
asked if the engineers would consider making Sherman St one-way
southbound. This is something they have thought about but would
need more study.
be bus shelters? Yes, there will be one placed at each bus stop.
the snow go? Snow removal will be the same, although there may
be a little more storage room when the sidewalks expand.
be the impact on Farmington Avenue if Asylum Avenue is shut down
(a recent proposal by urban planner Ken Greenberg)? Sally Taylor
responded that this was an unlikely scenario. Will there be marked
crosswalks mid block (where side streets end at Farmington but
there is no signal)? No.
People were encouraged
to submit comments directly to the consultant team or via the website, www.farmingtonavenue.org.
The public can review drawings of the preliminary plan and track
the progress of the plan through updates on the website.
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