Monday, April 27, 2009

Wesleyan respecting the Community: Respect Is Earned. A Commentary.

A commentary submitted by Anthony R. Lancia, jr.

I would like to start out by saying that having a college of the magnitude of Wesleyan can be an asset to the residents of the City of Middletown, but has and continues to also have a small group who give the college a bad rap.

I have lived in Middletown my whole life along with my family which settled here from Italy in 1920, in the years of growing up in Middletown I have witnessed many changes some for the better some which I feel are not so great.

I grew up around the Wesleyan Campus field house enjoying the use of the pool as well as partaking in chain man for football games. This was a privilege for me and I will always have fond memories of these times. I must add that this occurred in the early seventies amongst a different generation of both students, faculty and staff most of which shared a different respect for the community in which I call home.

In the past couple of years I find more and more issues arising with the relationship of the community and the campus and the handling of these issues seems to be resolved through the open ended check book and political threats from the campus, I find this very disturbing.

One would think that the ability to coexist within our community would be priority one for the school and yet a select group has taken stand against the community and insist on getting their way at the expense of the college.

My complaints are as follows:
High Street has become one of the most unusual and treacherous roads to pass through at any speed especially when traveling through with a truck and trailer and or a fire apparatus, this change in our community was driven by select individuals at Wesleyan and followed through until they got their way.

A certain Professor has now taken a stance against a lifelong resident and business man, due in large by his own selfish wants and desires to not have a lunch trailer operate in its current location, this legal battle is being funded by the Wesleyan and the comment was made at the last P&Z meeting that the legal funding is endless.

Shame on those who support, condone and partake in this behavior, I do not believe that this is the general consensus of those who attend and run the campus but rather a select few abusing powers granted them. This community is made up of many different generations and plenty of liberal as well as conservative views, it is in my opinion that the lifelong residents whom have made this their home deserve the respect they have earned by dedicating their lives to the community by means of paying taxes, volunteerism, parenting and supporting future growth. It is once again in my opinion a travesty and disrespectful that transients and or part time residents feel that they live above and deserve more than those who have settled here before them.

To challenge the system and seek out what is best for the majority along with speaking ones mind and respect those who do not agree suits me just fine. But to take the funds of a Educational Institution and use them against a community to fulfill the needs of one individual is shameful and very disrespectful. I am confident that these are not the lessons being taught at Wesleyan University but are that of ones that were learned at home by pompous elders prior to arriving in our community. I pity those who cannot see beyond themselves and respect those who understand how I was raised.

Best wishes to change and earning the respect of the hosts of Wesleyan University the residents of Middletown.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I greatly appreciate this post and this is an important conversation that needs to continue. Personally I am not really interested in weighing in heavily on town-gown politics, however I do want to point out a physical manifestation of these issues. I walk down High Street nearly every single day and I am just about the only pedestrian who ever presses the walk light button on Church and High street. The students cross against the light whenever they want to. In additon, on a regular basis, I run into students who are walking on the sidewalk 2 or 3 abreast who refuse to move to a single file to let oncoming walkers (me) pass by. I have learned to stand my ground and the students do this sort of half body twisting move without really giving way. I am practically forced off the walk at times to step in the mud or grass. Do they do this to their friends or other students? I also routinely come across groups of students standing stopped in the sidewalk to talk. If they are stopping to talk they should move it off to the side so they are not blocking the sidewalk for pedestrians. Its really rude and suggests to me that the students would presume to have some sort of ownership of the streets, sidewalks and crosswalks around campus and it comes across as very disrespectful and discourteous. Maybe this is on a completely different, scaled-down level from what the writer was trying to convey in his post but in my mind its the same issue. The offending people are making a staement "We are more important. We belong here. You Dont" . And that is just untrue and its a terrible shame that educated people associated with Wesleyan behave in this manner.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think this legal battle is being funded by Wesleyan? Wesleyan allows several lunch trucks to park on or near their property on a regular basis. I sincerely doubt that Wesleyan would fund a legal battle against a lunch truck on Route 17.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with 3:22; I doubt Wesleyan is funding any legal battles other than it's own. It wouldn't make economic sense when it has bigger problems, like say, refurbishing Hall-Atwater after last week's fire?

Anthony said...

Anonymous #2 It is quite evident from your response that you are someone who is well versed on the ongoing travesity that is being waged against a lifelong resident of the City of Middletown, as well as your brief synopsis proves your position on this personal attack toward someone you probably have never met and obviously do not know.
Let me put it this way, the individuals that are being served a grave injustice are dear to the community in more ways than one. Your reluctance/willingness to research their status and respect amongst lifelong residence of this community/town is just the point that I am trying to portray to those who engage in this forum.
Maybe you should reassess your position...

Sincerley,

Anthony R.Lancia, Jr.
(Not Anonymous)

Anonymous said...

I have no connection to Wesleyan and I am very happy about the changes to High street. They made it much safer for pedestrians. If the cars would drive the speed limit or a few miles below it would be a lot less treacherous. It seems to me like the drivers just want to be able to go 30, 35, or 40 mph and that is the problem. You're not going to get anywhere faster by going 5 or 10 mph faster in a residential zone with lights everywhere!

Vijay Pinch said...

Dear Mr. Lancia,

Thank you for your commentary. While I disagree with most of what you have written, I have to say I enjoyed the piece. I hope you keep writing for the Eye.

1) You assert that the redesign of High Street was driven by 'select individuals at Wesleyan'. This is a misrepresentation. The truth is, Wesleyan had very little to do with the redesign. True, several of us who live and own homes (and pay property taxes, not unlike yourself) in the neighborhood raised concerns with city officials in 1998 about the speed and volume of traffic. Yes, some of us work for Wesleyan; but at no point did any of us ever give the impression that we were acting on behalf of or representing the views of Wesleyan University. We simply compiled, as private citizens of Middletown, a petition of local pedestrians, homeowners, and residents, and we went to the Common Council to ask for stop signs at key intersections. We thought it would be nice to make High Street south of Church more like High Street north of Washington, where speeding is generally not a problem (as far as I am aware anyway). In the end, members of the city's Public Safety Commission felt that stop signs were not a good idea. Instead, after several meetings the Public Safety Commission authored a 'Traffic Calming Ordinance' that stipulated a set of procedures whereby neighborhoods could request amelioration of traffic problems. These procedures involve making a formal request, after which the Police Department conducts a traffic study, based on which the city then decides whether or not to take action. According to the ordinance, any plan the city comes up with has to meet with the approval of a high percentage of neighborhood property owners. And it has to be reviewed by all city departments.

After we learned of the ordinance, several of us in the neighborhood decided to make a formal request for some kind of 'traffic calming'. This was in 2001. As per the procedures outlined in the ordinance, the Police conducted a speed study and compiled an accident report. I can't recall all the details, but I do recall that it was determined that the average speeds were very high, well above ten miles over the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour, and that in a 3-year period there had been on average one accident per month along the stretch of High between Church and South Main (not including the several accidents at the intersections with those roads, particularly the latter). I personally knew of one particularly bad accident that occurred when someone tried to pull out of Mansfield Terrace -- like Huber, a notoriously bad intersection with High Street due to the illegally parked cars along that stretch that used to block visibility. Meanwhile, I conducted my own informal speed study with a borrowed radar gun. Sitting on my porch with a friend, I confirmed that the speeds were very high -- averaging 37 miles per hour (this average included cars that were slowing down to turn onto Loveland!), with some speeds upwards of 60 miles per hour, especially as drivers made their way down High toward Warwick.

The city then explored various traffic calming alternatives, as mandated in the ordinance. One involved speed 'humps' (not bumps), but this was rejected due to objections from the Fire Department and the Snow Plough drivers. So the engineers went back to the drawing board. Eventually they came up with the current design. The next phase of the project involved obtaining 'neighborhood concurrence' as well as making sure the different departments of the City had no objections. This involved holding several public meetings with the engineer and police to present the plan and answer questions. For our part, homeowners and other property owners in the neighborhood agreed in numbers well above the threshold required to approve the design. The figure for High Street was well in excess of 80%, which was the threshold required. Even if you remove Wesleyan-owned properties, the figure was 84%. (By the way, this was the full extent of Wesleyan's involvement, namely, the signing of the neighborhood concurrence form.) If memory serves, concurrence was achieved in April of 2003. Meanwhile the Public Works department sent the plan around to *all* the city departments, and received no objections.

The final implementation of the plan was delayed due to budgetary and funding issues, but eventually construction began. The plan was finally completed, but with some unfortunate alterations at the last minute due to political pressures to which the mayor sadly capitulated. At this point it is perhaps best not to go into detail about the nature and origin of that pressure, but I can say with some confidence that the changes to the original plan were detrimental to the overall effectiveness of the design, particularly as it concerns the corner of High and Loveland.

The point of this over-long response to your commentary is not to defend the redesign of High Street (which, incidentally, I think has resulted in lower speeds, but at the same time has had some unfortunate side effects, not least the increased [and possibly illegal] paving over of the tree lawn for parking, especially by owners of rental properties between Warwick and High). Rather it is to indicate to you and other interested readers that the redesign of High Street was a long process that occurred over several years, was as inclusive as possible, and involved many dozens of property owners and residents. It was not the result of a cabal of well-connected individuals with secret handshakes and blood-soaked, candle-lit midnight rituals ramming their own vision of what Middletown should look like down everyone's throats. (I won't say that this sort of thing doesn't go on in Middletown, but I can say with all honesty that I'm not aware of such behavior, or part of it.)

If, in fact, High Street is as dangerous as you claim, then this will be borne out in whatever traffic data the city routinely compiles. If the case can be made that the redesign has resulted in a less safe situation, then the ordinance mandates that the city should act to remedy the situation. On the other hand, if the redesign only makes you feel a little worried and more cautious as you enter the neighborhood, and causes you to slow down as a result, then the design has achieved its purpose. You may curse me as a result for being among those who prompted the process of redesign, but as far as I'm concerned being cursed is a small price to pay for a safer, more livable neighborhood. (And I can assure you that you are not the first to hurl invective in my direction. I get it all the time, especially from colleagues at Wesleyan. But to be honest, I wear their scorn like a badge of honor.)

2) You write the following: "it is in my opinion that the lifelong residents whom have made this their home deserve the respect they have earned by dedicating their lives to the community by means of paying taxes, volunteerism, parenting and supporting future growth. It is once again in my opinion a travesty and disrespectful that transients and or part time residents feel that they live above and deserve more than those who have settled here before them."

Your comment suggests, or rather asserts, that because you have lived in Middletown all your life you are more deserving of respect than those of us who have not. As far as I am aware, this is not the case. We are all due the same amount of respect, regardless of how long we have lived in Middletown.

3) I'm not sure what to make of your comments regarding Miss Patsy's hot dog stand, aside from noting that it also betrays the odd belief on your part that somehow a cabal of Wesleyan professors engages in nefarious behind-the-scenes shenanigans. Please. The plain fact is that this is a dispute between two property owners over a question of zoning.

Finally, to anonymous at 3:04: I share your pain. I also use the pedestrian light at Church and High religiously every day (2 or 3 times a day at least). I can confirm that most pedestrians do not use the crosswalk and that most of those are students. I also observe drivers routinely running the red light at this intersection, even when the crosswalk light is on. This occurs about 50% of the time.

As for students not sharing the sidewalk, I think it has less to do with selfishness and a sense of entitlement, and more to do with the fact that they are kids and tend to live in their own world. I agree, though, that it is annoying.

Sincerely,

Vijay Pinch

Anonymous said...

Anthony, while I am a Middletown resident (not lifelong; only a few years), I'm not familiar with the "individual" or the details of the legal battle directed towards the lunch truck you continue to refer to in your posts.

It makes it very difficult to learn more about this situation if I don't have names and details on which to base my research. I am willing to do that research in order to have an informed opinion, but your veiled descriptions make it very difficult to do so.

Perhaps you have a desire to avoid slandering anyone, which I completely respect, but if these legal matters have been reported on in the paper, all that I ask for are some article links. It would be very helpful to those of us who are not as well informed as we might otherwise be. Thanks.

Weslyan Tax exempt billionare said...

What I am always amazed by is the fact that Weslyan is tax exempt with an almost billion dollar endowment and I am sure a huge operating budget with an endless line of applicants each year.
Rather than helping its host community with direct payments like YALE does, Weslyan argues that the city recieves PIOLT funding from the state because of their existence in Middletown.

That means state taxpayers make a payment to Middletown so that poor Wesleyan doesnt have to.

Our city has a $10 million deficit, our state has an $8 billion deficit, has Weslyan said we will help out by paying a portion of the PILOT so the state doesnt have to. NO

Wesleyan selfishly enjoys their tax exempt status and keeps building tax exempt structures. The President is non existant, at least Doug Bennett was engaged in the community and did some great things. This president is to good to engage the unwashed masses around his ivory tower.

Find a way to revoke Weslyans tax exempt status now. Talk to Dodd, Liberman, Delauro..

Wesleyan-tax exempt billionare said...

The city is cutting back on everything in an attempt to avoid big tax increases on the good people of Middletown who are here to stay not 4 year transiants who disrespect our laws and put public safety officers in danger.

Why can't Weslyan step up to the plate. The recent fire at the Chemistry lab and the extensive mixture of chemicals and gases resulted in 22 workers compensation claims filed by firemen with the city. Has Weslyan said sorry that one of our students accidently left a bunson burner on and caused 22 injuries to the fireman that risk their lives to contain a fire at this completly tax exempt property? NO.

President Roth needs to be a true leader and visionary, istead he backs the students that caused a riot a few months back and has been silent about the fire and the pain and suffering it has caused on 22 firemen and their families.

Any idea what 22 workers comp claims will cost the city? Weslyan needs to step up to the plate and make payments to the city just like YALE does in New Haven. We, Middletown tax payers, pay for a Fire Department and a Police Department which protects Weslyan and its property and they can't pay Middletown one thin dime.

Anonymous said...

To Weslyan (sic) Tax Exempt Billioniare...

All institutions of higher education are tax exempt. Wesleyan does not receive special consideration.

Anonymous said...

I can live with Wesleyan not paying taxes on the properties of the University proper, classrooms, offices, adminastration even dorms. What I think would be fair, is for them to have to pay taxes on the homes that they rent to faculty and students. Perhaps they already do, and if so they can report so here. I think I payment for those rental properties would make a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

Im sure they do pay taxes on the houses, but so what that amounts to nothing.

Someone please educate us as to why the state should pay PILOT funds to the city so Wesleyan can enjoy tax exempt status. Its wrong, they dont serve the general public like a hospital or other tax exempt organizations.

Anthony said...

Good Morning to all,

I am not at all shocked at the instant response of all that have written as well I am pleased that the responses shed light on issues that I have raised.
Dear Mr. Pinch please do not twist my writing to portray that I feel as a lifelong resident that we deserve more respect, my comment is meant to bring light of those who are transients (students) have the ability to vote on local issues and political elections that effect the residents long after they are gone.
As for back door dealing and burning of the midnight oils between Wesleyan and Politicians within the City of Middletown, we would all be very naive to not beleive that this occurs on a regular basis.
As for the lenghty study and final decisions made on how to make this road safe I am somewhat aware of, that is not to say that all agreed.The facts are that there were some shady signatures obtained to make this happen.
I would also support your desire for a safe neighborhood something all resident in the city deserve, but let us not forget the changes that occured came at the expense of the entire city for the benefit of one neighborhood, so is politics!
In regards to the lunch wagon, it is not a fight between two property owners.
The Wesleyan Professor who also would like to open a alcohol rehab house on their property feels compelled to throw his weight around by using the Wesleyan institution as a backer, these are quotes made by himself as well as those who have taken a stand behind him.
To all have a great day and step up to the plate and do what is right for all, don't be selfish the outcome is never good.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 10:33 pm

No kidding but does that make it right for the very rich to pass their obligation on to the often struggling taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Anthony,

Great way to improve town-gown relations with your post. Chip on your shoulder?

To all the Wesleyan haters, what do you think this city would be without Wesleyan. I'm sure Main St. and throngs of other businesses would shutter up if the Wesleyan community (students/staff/faculty) was no longer here to support the businesses/landlords/etc. Middletown residents should be a little bit grateful that Middletown is home to a world class university.

This town/gown battle is tired.

Anonymous said...

Anthony,
Just because I questioned who was funding the legal battle over the lunch truck on Rt. 17, should in no way suggest I was taking sides in this battle. I don't know either of the parties involved and the only things I have read about this issue have been posted in the Eye. I'm sure both parties have some legitimate complaints about the other. I would like to thank our P&Z committee for trying to sort this all out.

Anonymous #2

Anonymous said...

I have seen some disturbing points in these posts including reference to "transients" and the original post about your relatives arriving in 1920s. Wesleayan was founded in 1831, nearly 100 years before your relatives arrived. It's really not about who was "here first" or who will remain. Its about who is here NOW!. And as for who will ermain re: "Transients"... many MANY people who arrive here due to going to Wesleyan end up staying here because Middletown, Connecticut is a wonderful and special place. There are many many people who end up settling here and making major contributions to Middletown. And people such as myself who have no connection whatsoever to Wesleyan but have also chosen to settle here in Middletown are just as free to get involved and make contributions to the community. I am also disturbed by the comment re: 'What would Middletown be without Wesleyan'. Its not like one of those state schools out in the boonies where the town has 5000 year round residents and 30000 students. The Wesleyan population is just a fraction of Middletown. We are the County Seat, tthe court is here, the hospital, etc etc. And to reiterate, its really not about "winning" or "being right" its about being good neighbors and inclusion. I agree that people need to look outside themselves and look to the good of the community and think about their intentions before making hurtful and assumptive statements about who other people are.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 1:20 PM;

If Wesleyan left, I guarantee Middletown would probably turn into a Manchester or Hartford-type city. I can tell you that your courts and (mental) hospitals - something you boast about- aren't destinations that are bringing quality citizens to this city. Hartford and Manchester have those things too, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Anonymous said...

Anthony,

Do you think it's the "transient" Wesleyan students that are the disrespectful people that grafitti all around town or do you think it's Middletown residents that are doing it. Do you think it's the disrespectful Wesleyan community that is causing a strain on Middletown's social services budgets or do you think it's Middletown residents that are? It can go both ways, can't it?

If you don't like Middletown, leave. It's that simple.

Vijay Pinch said...

Dear Mr. Lancia,

You are making a serious allegation of corruption when you write that "there were some shady signatures obtained to make this [the road redesign] happen". It is only fair that you provide some facts to back up your claim. For my part, I can say that all the signatures we obtained from neighborhood property owners for the concurrence process were obtained legitimately. No one was pressured to sign, and in fact several property owners chose not to sign. (Otherwise we would have achieved 100% concurrence.) Perhaps you are referring to something that went on in City Hall? If so, then I think you should say so, and make clear precisely what it is you are talking about. Otherwise your claim lacks credibility.

Likewise with your comment about a supposed Wesleyan professor who wants to "open a alcohol rehab house on their property". Who is this person? You say s/he has been quoted to this effect, so why not tell us his or her identity? If you don't shed some light on all this, readers will only conclude that you are simply trying to rabble rouse and will dismiss your comments as irresponsible rants.

Sincerely,

Vijay Pinch

Anonymous said...

Now I hear a bunch of drunken Wesleyan frat house boys built a pool right on High Street with no permits and no safety precautions or concern for kids in the area. Try doing that in your yard.

Is Wesleyan going to order it taken down or will they back down because some of these kids have rich and well connected parents.

Can't Wesleyan control their own students.

Anthony said...

Dear Mr. Pinch,

It is the latter of your assumptions as to who signed off on paper work regarding the final approval of the street design, as I cannot speak for those neighbors who signed the petition. As for revealing names the outcome of the road redesigning will not be changed and the relevance becomes mute, as I have said, "so is politics".
In regards to the homeowner who would like to open their doors to an alchohol rehab for a limited number of recipients that would be the same individuals whom are seeking litigation against the lunch wagon in their neighborhood, this was reported by the Middletown Press and the owners were quoted as saying that they would seek litigation against the City of Middletown P&Z if their application was not approved.
I ask that you give me some time to seek out the article and I will try and post it within the blog.
Once again I thank you for responding to my claims and keeping me honest.

Anthony said...

Dear Anonymous 1:20 pm

I would like to say only that after four to five paragraphs of tirate that you and I agree whole heartedly in your closing statement and these are the points that I am trying to get acrossed to our neighbors and guests at the Wesleyan University.
By no means do I, nor have I ever said that I want them to go away, I would just appreciate co-existance with respect not force fed resisitance and attitude.
There is a time and place for everything, the students are the future and my future means a great deal to me and I want them to know that, I offer guidance and constructive criticizm not hate and anger.
Have a wonderful night.

Tony

Anthony said...

Dear Anonymous 4:20 PM

????????????????? I am at a loss on your response!!!!!!!! Please tell me where you read that I do not like Middletown and I have accused Wesleyan of all that happens in town.

Anonymous said...

ONE OF THE REASONS WHY THERE IS HAS BEEN AN INCREASE IN TRAFFIC ON HIGH STREET IS BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF THE FEW NORTH TO SOUTH ROUTES THAT CAN BE USED TO GET INTO THE SOUTH FARMS/RANDOLPH ROAD AREAS OF MIDDLETOWN FROM ROUTE 66. THINK ABOUT IT, THERE ARE VERY FEW ROUTES FROM WASHINGTON STREET TO THE SOUTH. THERE ARE EVEN FEWER NOW THAT SCHOOL STREET IN MIDDLEFIELD WAS BLOCKED OFF FROM RT 66 NEAR THE RESERVIOR A FEW YRS AGO.

MANY MIDDLETOWN RESIDENTS USED SCHOOL STREET TO AVOID THE LIGHTS AND HEAVY TRAFFIC ON WASHINGTON STREET AND TO AVOID THE PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC ON HIGH STREET.

MIDDLEFIELD'S FORMER STATE REP TOOK CREDIT FOR THE CLOSING OF SCHOOL STREET, WHICH WAS BLOCKED OFF DURING A RECENT DOT ROADWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. MIDDLETOWN'S STATE REP DID NOTHING TO STOP IT FROM HAPPENING.

SO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE HEAVY TRAFFIC ON HIGH STREET, YOU NEED TO ASK YOUR STATE REP WHY SCHOOL STREET WAS SHUT DOWN.

Vijay Pinch said...

You are quite right, anonymous 11:41, to point out that there are very few routes from Washington Street to the South Farms area. And it is possible that the closing of School Street exacerbated the situation, though I'd need to see some data.

In any case, the volume of traffic was not our main concern, though the size of some of the vehicles was and is (the street and the many historic buildings that line it really cannot handle 18 wheel tractor-trailers which, I can attest, cause the buildings -- especially older buildings -- to shake). We did try, early on, to get the street designated a "no through truck" zone, but for some reason the state would not allow this. Perhaps we should try again. But the main concern was and is speeders.

The north-south artery issue was part of the discussion during the early meetings in the late 1990s. The reality is that High Street is an important local artery. In fact, when the volume of traffic is high in the a.m. and p.m., the speeding is significantly reduced.

That High Street is a local artery doesn't, however, mean that it needs to be a speedway, or that it has to be unattractive. There are many important, heavily used streets in cities and towns across America that are lovely, safe streets to walk and live by. In fact, given that High is such an important street, especially for visitors to Middletown, it stands to reason that our planners and engineers and politicians make it as attractive and as safe as possible. It doesn't take much. Tree plantings, the restoration of tree lawns (including those that have been paved over), the "undergrounding" of the power and phone lines, improved pedestrianization, ticketing of cars parked over the sidewalk, enforcement of city regulations regarding garbage bins, sensible and strictly enforced design codes -- these things can go a long way to making High Street even more pleasant, safe, and welcoming for residents and visitors alike.

Charles Dickens is thought to have said that our High Street is "the most beautiful High Street in America". The truth is, while many believe he said this, he probably did not. But whether he did or not, he could have. You would be hard pressed to find any other similar stretch of road in Connecticut with such lovely, historic buildings. We should treat it with respect.

As for the redesign of 66: My view has always been that this was an unnecessary use of ConnDOT money (between $20-30 million, if memory serves) given all the other pressing transportation needs we face, especially in the realm of public transportation. The closure of School Street after the fact, which was the main locale of serious accidents that ostensibly justified much of the project, essentially solved the safety issue at the reservoir. None of the expensive re-engineering of the road around the reservoir would have been necessary had School Street simply been closed in the 1990s. And rather than add more lanes and causing speeds to increase, we should be putting roads like 66 on diets, especially where they form gateways to Middletown. Washington Street used to be gorgeous. Ditto for South Main/Route 17.

And while we're on the topic: I'm surprised more people aren't concerned about the current situation along 66 by the reservoir where traffic is moving at very high speeds in opposite directions along a long curve, separated only by a double yellow line. Instead all we hear about is how (allegedly) dangerous High Street is.

Perhaps the only silver lining in all this is that now we have four or five lanes to play with all the way to Meriden. When and if the "Knowledge Corridor" (the commuter rail between New Haven and Springfield, via Meriden) gets going, we could put some elevated light rail right down the middle of 66/691.

Catherine Johnson said...

Yes, closing a street in one place to (seemingly) solve one problem can cause problems miles away. The accident data of accidents on Route 66 prior to its reconfiguration reveals they were the result of driver behavior (drinking or sleeping) not due to the road geometry or the existence of an intersection.

Regarding other comments during this post, the hot dog wagon (So Main/ Randolph Rd) is an issue before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) not P&Z. A sober house application for additional residents was not sought by a Wesleyan professor.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous @ 415pm and 1003am looks like the same person... I was not referring to CVH but rather Middlesex Hospital where babies are born and x-rays are taken and surgeries performed, you know, the usual medical stuff. I wasnt boasting just pointing out that the hospitals and the court are huge employers just like Wesleyan is. I am sorry you feel the need to speak ill of other Connecticut towns which certainly have some detracting points just like any town anywhere. They also have plenty of positive and appealing points and I know many people who live / have lived in both places and could argue those points much better than I. You seem really focused on being right and it seems like you completely lack respect for the place you live outside the scope of your tiny little university world and are nit picking on certain points and not getting the overall message which is that both Wesleyan and Middletown /non-Wesleyan aspects of Middletown are gems with lots to offer each other and I would like to see a focus on the positive rather than the negative, as negativity and blame accomplish nothing.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I personally felt that the High Street re-construction project that created the curving slow zone was one of the biggest wastes of man-hours and tax dollars I have ever seen in a lifetime of living in Middletown. It upsets me every time I drive through it.

Had there been a simple stop light or stop sign installed at High and Loveland, I believe the same vehicle speed control could have been achieved. I believe actually, it would have been safer and smarter option than the obstacle course that has been created.

Also - what about a stop light at the 4-way intersection of Pine and Shurch Street. There's a project that really should happen!