Harrison Potter | Hartford Business Journal

Marta Station in Atlanta, GA.At some point in the next 10 years, the vision for how people will move in, out, and around Hartford will clash with reality.

The result will be more people walking, more public transit options, and a transportation infrastructure that still must accommodate large volumes of cars. Balancing all those needs and desires will be one of the greatest challenges the Capital City wrestles with over the next decade, experts say.

“At the end of the day, Hartford is going to be the central business district,” said Tim Sullivan, director of waterfront, brownfield, and transit-oriented development for the Department of Economic and Community Development. “Young, talented people who are critical drivers of economic growth want walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented places to live.”

This vision for Hartford — and, largely, Connecticut — seeks to create a city where people can move around freely without cars, either walking or biking short distances while fully developed transit networks can take them longer distances inside the city and beyond. Driving a car, particularly without passengers, would be discouraged as parking, highway congestion, and the rising price of fuel makes it less economical.

This vision, though, clashes with an American culture where the automobile still is the lifeblood of mobility and remains a status symbol for the majority of the population, said Donald Poland, senior vice president of planning at Goman + York Property Advisors in East Hartford. That is particularly true in Hartford, which has long been a commuter city. Read more