Saturday, July 20, 2024

Good News for Spring


Talking Transportation

By Jim Cameron
Cameron Communications Inc.
Author: “Off The Record: Confessions of a Media Consultant

Forget what the calendar says, I say it’s Spring!  And with this hopeful season comes good news on the Connecticut’s transportation front.

A reader recently told me my weekly screed comes off sounding like I’m a “cranky old man”.  Guilty, on both counts.  So let’s celebrate these rare glimmers of hope for our roads and rails.


The CT State Police has announced a new crackdown on reckless drivers to, as one pol put it, “take back the highways”.  Special patrols will be working the interstates and parkways and writing a lot of tickets.

The problem is that this State Police traffic unit is only a quarter the size of what it once was, and the overall force is still only 75% of what it should be.  But even spread this thin, any enforcement may help stop the speeding, red-light-running and impaired driving that has seen death tolls soar in the last few years.

The question is:  why the increased enforcement now?  Why wasn’t this begun months ago? The trend in fatalities has been obvious as has the lack of police enforcement.  The more people see others behaving badly on the roads the more they’re likely to do the same thing.

But, it’s Spring!  So let’s take this as good news, albeit it late.


As I wrote last May, Connecticut has a serious drunk / drugged driving problem.  Last year a state lawmakers died in a wrong-way crash and, in another case, a pol flipped her car in front of the Capitol and was arrested for DWI.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have been encouraging more boozing… allowing “to go” purchases from bars while Connecticut is one of only nine states not banning open containers while driving.

Well, this year the Transportation Committee is reportedly considering lowering the blood alcohol limit defining drunk driving from .08% to .05%.  That’s good news… if it passes and there are enough cops to enforce it.


Lastly, we celebrate the long overdue opening of the massive new garage at the Stamford train station:   914 parking spaces, 92 electric vehicle charging stations, and 120 spots for bicycles.

The structure is beautiful, inside and out, adorned with 200,000 color LED lights you can’t miss while driving by on I-95.  Like the old garage, it’s connected by a covered pedestrian walkway directly into the station.

The $100 million garage was months late in opening and years later than planned. It was back in 2006 that CDOT decided that it would be cheaper to replace than to repair the 1985 garage, crumbling from neglect.  A planned PPP (Public Private Partnership) to do the work got embroiled in political intrigue and a zoning fight with the city and went nowhere.

With the new, larger garage now open for business the old garage will be torn down, a messy project that will take about six months.  The space will then be home to a massive TOD (Transit Oriented Development) project.

Another reason for hope, so Think Spring!

Jim Cameron is founder of the Commuter Action Group and advocates for Connecticut rail riders. His weekly column “Talking Transportation” is archived here.  You can contact Jim at [email protected].”


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