Sunday, March 24, 2013

Open for Anything?

Well, almost anything.  And I wish that other things were more open, like Denny's says it is.  Wasn't there a scandal a decade ago when Denny's got creamed for having a racist corporate culture?  I guess they realized that being "closed" was crummy for business, particularly bad business when you calculate the ROI on a $54 million class action lawsuit.

Let's have some more openness.  For starters, Pratt & Whitney should open their North gate on River Road to bicycles and pedestrians by changing the chain link fence over to a swing gate used at many a State Park and rail trail entrance.  Supposedly the North Gate was closed years ago due to the wanton and dangerous high speed driving (and crashing) that tended to occur involving Pratt & Whitney employees.

I had a meeting last week down at the Middletown facility recently and being car free  decided to try out a hybrid trip from Hartford that included a stint on the commuter bus that runs between Hartford and New Haven.  Had to wake up early to catch the 6AM commuter bus at Union Station, which was run by Peter Pan and did not have a bike rack as I was informed during my phone call a couple days earlier with CT Transit.  Fortunately you can toss your bike into the luggage bays underneath (not recommended for any wimpy carbon rigs).  The $3.75 bus ride dropped me at the junction of Country Club Road and I-91, five miles West of downtown Middletown.  It was another 7 1/2 miles from Middletown to the P&W facility via Saybrook Road and Aircraft Road.

It would be a much more inviting bicycle commute from Middletown (where a lot of folks live and recreate) if that North gate was open.  If the North gate were open, it would trim more than a mile off the bike commute and avoid several sizable hills.  Not to mention that the avoidance of traffic and scenic qualities would improve both the safety and basic attractiveness of a non-car commute to one of Middletown's major employers.  Google Maps for some reason thinks that gate is open, likely to the disappointment of intrepid cyclists and bike commuters.  River Road is one of the most beautiful stretches in Central Connecticut.  The vistas of the Connecticut River are stellar and the traffic is light as there is very little housing development and there isn't a through road.  I highly recommend it, although legally you can only run it as an out-and-back right now.

As Spring arrives, I'm open to warm weather.  Today we sampled the sunshine and warming temperatures while ambling North along the Connecticut and then the Farmington rivers.  Just as we were leaving the Northend of Hartford, we passed this correctional architectural oddity.  I liked the shape and composition for some reason.  A pill box with a severe skirt?  Unfortunately it was part and parcel of the prison industrial complex that we as a country should recognize and correct.  For those that are wondering why they should care about the nasty effects of the War on Drugs and the unbelievable growth of our incarcerated population, I recommend this movie, The House I Live In, which is showing at Real Art Ways through this week.

Let's be more open.  Who's with me?


adventure! said...

Denny's racial issues go back further than a decade. I remember it being an issue way back in the 80's.

Tony C said...

So. I thought I was crazy when I spotted a fire ball to my West while riding home across the Wethersfield Meadows on Friday night (3\22). Well I am crazy, but the fire ball meteoroid isn't related.