Sunday, December 8, 2013

If you like Hartford and Graffiti

I was reminded this week why Hartford is such an amazing city, especially if you give a damn.  There are so many opportunities to get engaged and influence the direction of the city.  Hartford is small enough that you only have to show up and you're making change.  This post may not seem like its about bikes, but it is.  Remember that being a cyclist or pedestrian means that you have decided to harbor radical thoughts.  Don't sit at home stewing in radicalism when action is imperative.   Hartford (or whatever city you call home) needs your radical thoughts for planning and the intellectual discourse.  These city plans and discussion groups often involve transportation plans, proposed bike lanes, and road diets.  Showing up at the meeting on a bike, and asking questions pertinent to non-motorized transportation keeps the topic at the top of the list.  Don't let your city wave the green flag without actually doing the stuff that makes change.

This time the info session is in Pope Park.  Do you think downtown dwellers can find it?
Next week you can weigh in on two different Hartford plans.  The first is the Hartford Parks Plan on Monday, December 9th at Pope Park from 6-8PM.  This is the final public comment session.  Hartford has extensive park acreage, and a limited budget for upkeep.  The public comment sessions are being used by the consultant along with paper and online surveys to find out what is important to Hartford residents.  The last info session rolled out a map showing desirable bicycle connections between the parks, which would also serve as a network for bicycling throughout the city.  This is a big deal.

If you're not at the table, your favorite park features might get dropped as the park plan is laid out.  This is a bit disconcerting for parts of Hartford's population that haven't been coming to the meetings.  The attendance and survey responses have been dominated by Westend and Downtown residents.   This last public info session has been wisely moved out of Downtown, which should make it easier for Frog Hollow, Behind the Rocks, and Barry Square residents to attend.  Spread the word if you live in one of those neighborhoods.

The near North of Downtown is being evaluated and a plan is being put together.  There is a public info session on Wednesday, November 11th at the Hartford Public Library at 6PM.  The initial feedback I'd heard on the North Downtown plan was negative, and that includes complaints of very little publicity for the previous public info session.  That means its time for residents  and business owners to show up in force and make sure their interests are being taken into account in this plan that will guide the City of Hartford when zoning and developing the area.  The planning also impacts the layout and improvement of city streets, which are currently highway no-man zones north of I-84.  I'm curious why the consultants didn't pick a location for this info session that is actually in the zone that they are studying?

If one is looking for information or intellectual engagement, it's here in spades.  Just this past week I went to a moderated discussion with the DEEP Commissioner at the Mark Twain House and a panel discussion on Hartford urban issues at the Hartford Public Library.  Coming up next Saturday is a presentation / discussion at Real Art Ways where they will be asking the question, "How do our surroundings shape us?"  A fitting question with all the Hartford plans in the offing.  The event starts at 1PM and appears to involve food if you get there by 12:30PM, and they want folks to RSVP.
All of these info sessions and discussions tie in to one of my favorite things.  Graffiti!   Heaven, a mecca of legal walls, just north of Downtown Hartford has a bunch of new stuff up.  Also took a stroll up the train tracks and was rewarded with several great pieces.  Don't forget to represent for Heaven, and tell your friends.  Friends don't let friends miss out on great street art.
So happy to find hieroglyphics.
They're watching you from the pyramid in the sky.
I really like when the graffiti includes characters along with the burner.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch for the great pictures of the pieces at the bottom of your post!