At the Dec 12th meeting of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Commission, urban planning consultants from Stantec delivered an extensive presentation of their preliminary recommendations for the West Hartford Center Infrastructure Plan. Stantec’s planners emphasized that WH Center needs to promote an integrated and balanced transportation system that prioritizes safety and walkability, bicycle facilities suited for people ages 8 to 80, better public bus amenities, and improved traffic flow. They described the existing infrastructure of the Center as “dangerous” based on their study of motorist crash data
Although their slides do not yet appear on the Town’s project website, two photos taken during their presentation offer insights about what we can expect to learn more about in early 2023. Compare the slides below of an existing section of Farmington Avenue in the Center and one preliminary option labeled “Raised Cycle Track,” with these notable design changes in the latter:
- Narrowing width for motor vehicle traffic and parking (from 59 feet to 38 feet, curb-to-curb) by replacing angled car parking with parallel parking, and reducing the travel lane width from 11.5 feet to 11 feet
- Inserting a 5 foot wide raised cycle track on each side of this street segment, at the same height as the sidewalk, with a 2 foot buffer separation from the parked cars
- Widening the walkways and adding a furniture zone for improved bus stops, benches, etc.
Stantec also emphasized during the meeting that while the “study area” was broadly defined as the entire WH Center, their current contract stipulates that they are only responsible for designing engineering documents for a section of Farmington Avenue and LaSalle Road. Several people at the meeting asked them about South Main Street, Memorial Road, and the Trout Brook & Farmington intersection. The Stantec planners received many public comments on those areas, and recognize that there are many dangers to pedestrians and cyclists, but so far have only been paid to focus on a small portion of the Center. Stay tuned for more public updates they will be offering in January and February.