The news that Hartford was notified last week that it has won a $10 million TIGER IV (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation amounts to glad tidings for three reasons.
One, the award shows that city officials and their consultants have found the key to the art of successful grant-writing after previous failures. This bodes well for Hartford in the chase for the shrinking pool of federal dollars of appropriately scaled urban plans that have a chance of working rather than moldering on the shelf. And three, public transit is assuming its proper high priority in Hartford regional planning.
The grant money's focus will be on the transit elements of the jobs-creating One City, One Plan, the iQuilt plan and Hartford's Intermodal Triangle Project that ties Union Station to Main Street.
The federal dollars will help finance renovation of Union Station, including signal and lane work for busways, new pedestrian signs and maps and enhanced lighting. TIGER4 money will also be used to narrow and restripe Ford, Jewell and Gold streets, widen sidewalks and enhance pedestrian crosswalks with a completely green infrastructure that will be designed to "elegantly transition from park to city and set a national example in sustainable practices," according to the grant application.
Asylum and Pearl streets will be improved with bus lane repaving, pedestrian crosswalks and bus stops, including shelters, lighting, maps and schedules. Main Street will also receive roadway restriping, special bus lane treatment and enhanced pedestrian crosswalks with signs and maps.
The result should be a more walkable city, better transit connections, a more appealing streetscape, and possibly new development by investors who have confidence in the city's future