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Letter to the Editor: West Hartford Infrastructure Master Plan is an Important Opportunity

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Dear Readers,

With the Infrastructure Master Plan effort underway, West Hartford businesses and residents have an opportunity. West Hartford, and especially West Hartford Center is the envy of visitors from all over the region. Having a vibrant downtown area is a dream. Homeowners who are marketing their homes for sale boast “walking distance to West Hartford Center!” Being able to walk or bike to a central meeting place is the dream of people all over the world. There are hundreds of homes in town that can boast this proximity to our town center.

The Infrastructure Master Plan offers an opportunity to improve the Center and improve the way the walkers and bikers get to and around the Center. It seems that there are business owners who might be concerned about possible loss of parking spaces in front of their stores. There are voices saying “leave well enough alone.” Making the Center safer and easier to reach and move around by walkers and bikers will far outweigh losing the small number of parking spaces which might be in front of any given storefront.

I am a driver, a walker, and a bicycle rider. I frequent a certain hardware store in our town center. There are hundreds of parking spaces behind that store. There are about six spaces in front. If I wanted to purchase hardware, nice clothes, jewelry, gift items, musical instruments, running shoes, kitchen accessories, great food, etc., I know there are parking spaces in back, around the corner, or down the street. I prefer to walk or ride my bike as it is free, good exercise, and makes me smile, but sometimes it isn’t possible.

There are options in the plan which would improve the experience of doing all these things. We don’t need more room for cars to pass through the Center jockeying for the rare chance to park in front. We need improved ability to reduce the number of cars, get the drivers parked in lots and get their feet onto the sidewalks. We don’t need more out of town cars driving in circles searching for street parking.

Provide a clean vibrant downtown Center and people will come in greater numbers. Make it safe to walk and bike to/through the Center and more people will walk and bike to the Center. Provide more permanent outdoor dining without the need for cement barriers and more people will come and dine. Make the Center irresistible and businesses will sell more goods. This is being done in cities around the world.

Make your voices heard that you want a vibrant town Center with better crosswalks, accessibility by bicycle, relaxing areas to dine, drink, talk, and meet. Oh yes, and please provide a public bathroom like most civilized public areas!


Ethan Frankel
West Hartford,CT

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