Letter: West Hartford Not at Danger of Over-Improvement – We-Ha

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To the Editor,

I noticed Katy Klarnet’s letter to the editor about “over-development.” (We-Ha.com, Sept. 19, 2022) I’d like to put in writing a rebuttal.

I don’t see any threat of us being “over-developed” at the moment. I’m strongly in favor of considerate improvement, as a lot because the market will bear.  In actual fact I believe it’s essential for our city’s future.To start with, fascinating locations which have overly restricted improvement have seen house costs spiral uncontrolled. I lived for a few years within the Dartmouth space. Hanover, NH is bucolic however house costs there have spiraled so uncontrolled that even medical doctors and professors can’t afford to dwell there anymore, as a result of it’s a fascinating space with little to no new development. Or for a extra excessive instance, take a look at what has occurred in Silicon Valley.

As a home-owner in West Hartford, house-hoarding is perhaps favorable for my wealth but it surely wrecks the very character and vibrancy of a spot that anti-development people typically try to protect. If house constructing is stopped, house costs will climb out of attain for a lot of. Our youngsters will develop up and depart. We are going to stagnate and age.

There’s additionally sturdy knowledge that rising house costs will increase homelessness which appears self explanatory.

We additionally want extra residents to develop the tax base, particularly if these residents dwell in increased density settings which require a lot much less infrastructure reminiscent of roads (such because the Heart or Elmwood). Extra residents would additionally merely make the city extra vibrant. They carry kids, concepts, jobs, and demand for companies. Extra individuals would assist us fill in useless spots on the town.

Katy’s argument that we’ll turn into a “traffic-snarled over-built metropolis” wants a response. It’s turn into completely clear that our twentieth century car-dependent lifestyle is NOT sustainable for ourselves or the atmosphere. And I’m a complete automobile nut! You possibly can ask my spouse! I believe automobiles are nice, however automobile DEPENDENCY makes us much less wholesome, lonelier, poorer, and kills tens of 1000’s of People yearly. Pedestrian and driver fatalities are at file highs, and I believe we are able to all see that threat in how some drivers behave round city, in addition to the tragic loss of life we had earlier this summer season. I believe anybody who desires to drive ought to and can all the time have that proper. Nevertheless, we have to construct a gorgeous place the place those that want to stroll and bike to run errands or go to work can accomplish that safely and in a nice atmosphere.

I believe if we add inhabitants thoughtfully and shut to providers, we are able to enhance the vibrancy of our city with out worsening site visitors. By placing housing near the Heart, most sane individuals could be strolling into city to go to Complete Meals, the library, city corridor, Ace {Hardware}, eating places, and so on. They doubtless wouldn’t be contributing important site visitors congestion to the middle of city, and if the condo parking is priced pretty (i.e. not backed or free), a few of these new residents might even determine to dwell car-light or car-free life.

A few of the worst traffic-choked areas do NOT have a number of inhabitants. Strive driving to Costco on a weekend. It’s a nightmare. That space is traffic-choked as a result of it’s completely designed for the automobile in a twentieth century type of improvement, not as a result of it has a dense inhabitants.

I don’t anticipate we’d ever attain NYC and even NYC suburb ranges of density. However we may even by no means be a rural city in Vermont. Constructing sustainable housing for people with walkability, bikability, and transit is the one approach we are able to reclaim our lives again from the automobile, reconnect with one another, and save our planet. We want a wise diploma of density.

Electrical automobiles are simply one other approach to devour the planet’s assets and run one another over in a shiny costly wrapper. Good progress and improvement is how we adapt for the twenty first century. If you happen to develop a metropolis with the wants of people in thoughts, you get a extra full of life, beautiful, human atmosphere. If you happen to construct an atmosphere with the wants of automobiles in thoughts, you get site visitors, road-rage, crashes, and deaths.

In my thoughts, including extra individuals dwelling in or close to West Hartford Heart is an excellent thought and we should always attempt to add extra housing (in addition to outlets, parks, and so on) and fill in underutilized house. As a aspect observe, we also needs to proceed to develop Elmwood/New Park to make that space much less of a strip mall wasteland and extra of a fascinating place to dwell, particularly with its hyperlink to CTfastrak. I’m all for good sustainable progress in West Hartford.

Sijie Jason Wang, M.D.
West Hartford

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