Partnership For Strong Communities’ June 15th Forum Focuses On Public Transit Benefits For City

“Developing Connecticut’s Transit Future: Strategic Placemaking and Economic Opportunity” is the topic at a free forum to be held June 15th at The Lyceum in Hartford to begin at 8:30 a.m.

The Partnership for Strong Communities is hosting this discussion of the potential benefits of public transit at a propitious time for New Britain. It’ll raise key ideas and issues tailor-made for what  city officials and residents need to consider in shaping the city’s future. Organizers say speakers at the forum will include “talented, experienced architects, designers and planners.”  The discussion will involve policymakers, developers, mayors, first selectmen, town managers, business leaders, planners and zoning officials.

The imminent construction of the New Britain-to-Hartford Busway — christened “CTFastrak” at groundbreaking ceremonies last week by transportation officials, invites no small amount of hope that public transit will spur economic development in downtown New Britain.  Colin McEnroe makes this point well in his May 27th Courant column, calling the  busway “Scootie” and recalling CT’s backwardness on mass transit.

As reported by Scott Whipple in the New Britain Herald: “The project includes 11 stations along the route from New Britain to Newington into West Hartford and ending in Hartford with buses running every three to six minutes during peak commuting hours.”   
Artist’s rendering of New Britain’s CTFastrak Station (CT-DOT)
N.B.’s central business district, long a victim of retail flight to malls and the god-awful Route 9 that split the town in two in the 1970s, needs a multi-pronged approach to revival.   

The new police station, mistakenly being built at Chestnut and Main, gives us a much needed public safety facility, but is not the elixir for a revitalized central business district that was promised. All is not lost, however. 

“CTFastrak” represents a piece of the solution for New Britain as commuters, frustrated as we are about the I-84 crawl to and from the capital city, can turn to  rapid transit to avoid parking fees and congestion. Don’t forget that upwards of 100,000 people go into the capital city on weekdays — many from west of the river. There’s also the outflow of city residents who need to get to class at CCSU or to one of the jobs that left Hartford for greener (probably not the right word) pastures and more parking lots. 

“Many factors – from expensive gasoline and heating oil to tight credit and high down payment requirements, from a growing 65+ population to our need to attract skilled, educated 25-34-year-old labor pool – have made your transit-proximate town a potential focus for a new wave of development and growth,” says PSC’s Policy Director David Fink. “Smaller, energy-efficient, market-rate, affordable and mixed-income homes near transit – with commercial development, parks, entertainment and recreation weaved in – will be in demand over the next two decades. Large homes far from town centers and transit will not necessarily stay vacant, but demand for them will decline.”

Reservation information on the June 15th forum is available by emailing Laura Bachman on at or by calling her at 860-244-0066

City Budget Hearing Today, 5/17, at Slade

The best opportunity for residents to weigh in on New Britain government spending will be today at 7 p.m. at the Louis P. Slade Middle School when the Common Council conducts a hearing before setting the budget for the year that begins on July 1.
The Common Council’s annual hearing on the municipal budget comes amid concerns over layoffs to the city’s work force, school funding and the O’Brien administration’s efforts to end one-time  fixes utilized by prior administrations to hold the line on the mill rate.
Of particular concern are proposed cuts that deal a severe blow to the public library and the impact more than 100 layoffs would have on the delivery of municipal services.
At issue is whether the city can deliver essential and needed services and still maintain the mill rate at current levels.  
While the mill rate gets the most attention property revaluation — scheduled for 2013 in New Britain — generally has more of an impact on whether tax bill rise or fall for property owners.  
 Slade Middle School is located at 183 Steele Street.  For information on the budget and city finances go to
The city finance page includes proposed budget information.