Face the State Flashback: the Busway Proposal of ’74

When I first moved to Connecticut, I was told the land of steady habits has two speeds:  slow and stop.   In another words, nothing gets done quickly.    At this week’s official announcement of the controversial Hartford New Britain busway, much was made of the fact that the project was in the works since the early 1990s.    But did you know, that talk of a busway into your capital city began nearly 40 years ago?

In this week’s Face the State Flashback from the Channel 3 archives, we have  a report on an Eyewitness News special report called the “Road to Nowhere,” from May of 1974.  It was lengthy and the old film is of poor quality.  The reporter?  Brad Davis.   He studied a proposal to put a busway over abandoned railroad tracks to carry commuters into Hartford.  Sound familiar?  

The busway was controversial then, and many of the same arguments heard in 2011 were made in 1974; mainly that it was too costly, and people preferred light rail.   

In 1974,  Connecticut was growing, and many women were joining the workforce, and as a result, many households were becoming two car families.  People were starting to complain about the price of gas, traffic congestion and pollution and so Eyewitness News took a closer look at mass transit.   On Sunday, you’ll be amazed at the prices of gas and parking and the vintage film of traffic and Hartford.

The busway is finally coming to fruition, and regardless of how you feel about it, it is no one’s interests for this to fail.  Personally, I’m envisioning 2017 when the busway buses are full of people heading downtown  to catch a Hartford Whalers game.   

Here is the link to the segment that aired Sunday: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6489854

2 replies »

  1. No matter what the era, a busway from NB to Hartford makes little sense. Really, there was once talk about a busway from Hartford to Bradley. That makes more sense. I could envision a patrolled parking lot somewhere in Windsor where suburbanites could park for BDL, and the state could sell their remote parking ops along Route 75. Even in a down market, there is value in that land.

    NB to Hartford without parking near the stops is not much of an inducement to use the service, especially in CT where most of the commutes are now suburb to suburb. As a taxpayer, if the ridership does not meet projections, we will be paying large subsidies well into the future…
    Ralph in Ansonia


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