Thompsonville Transit Center Debate

Thompsonville Transit Center Debate

Posted in the Enfield Forum

Since: Feb 11

Enfield, CT

#1 Feb 26, 2011
Did the Enfield taxpayers ever have a choice in the rail station site selection?
Was there ever a Council vote on the site selection?
What are the Town Charter rules on this type of situation such as whose decision it is to choose a final site and authorization of infrastructure expenditures without due process?

Should there not be a survey or referendum first to poll if the taxpayers of Enfield even want a rail station or mixed modal transit center or not as well as a choice as to where among the 7 sites the rail station will finally be placed as well as a name for it before going ahead with any agreements?

It just seems that a final decision for the rail station site location and expenditures without permission from the public has been made by the few for the many and we as taxpayers have been left out of this whole decision making process. Do you agree with that statement?

According to Peter Bryanton, it would be too costly to change the site at this point in time, but how much would it then cost us if the station was located in the wrong location?

Why is it at different transit meetings, Mr. Bryanton either state that site location choice is non-negotiable or that the Town Council voted to accept as final, the Thompsonville site as the choice among the 7 possible sites for the Thompsonville Transit Center?

During the Transit Center informational meetings, it was stated that placing the station on the West side of the tracks would advantage remediation work that otherwise would not be done but, when questioned about as to what extent it would be completed, the answer was just the top level would be removed and the rest capped with pavement which by any measure is not true remediation at all. The land would still be contaminated with a parking lot on top of it. Why didn't local, state or federal authorities go after the violators then, when aware of this problem to make them clean it up?

Many of us here from the Hazardville side of town certainly would not want to park our cars in a lot in the Thompsonville village for any length of time and walk to the station and expose our property and person to the elevated crime particularly known to that part of town.

Also, it keeps being mentioned by Peter Bryanton during every meeting, that there is a survey which indicates that people would be willing to walk a 1/4 mile to the station.
So, I ask, if you had to go to the office in another town, wearing a business suit, what would you prefer, to walk a 1/4 mile in all weather conditions or drive up to the station?
When was this survey given to the citizens of Enfield?...Because neither I nor anyone else remembers getting one.
Can this survey be produced which represents the majority view of the citizens of Enfield?

Sure, some people will walk to the station and some people will take the bus or taxi, but most people in the real world will drive to the station and park because upon return to the station from work, will as a necessity, mostly drive to other destinations along the way, such as; miscellaneous appointments, shopping, food, fuel, etc., before finally returning home in order to save time whereas riding a bus would not be practical in those tasks.

In turn, commuters coming into town will want to get onto transportation that will drive them a short distance to where they will work such as to manufacturing facilities located in our Industrial Park without having to go through a lot of traffic stops and tie ups using precious time.

Since: Feb 11

Enfield, CT

#2 Feb 26, 2011
What I hear most is how the Thompsonville Transit Center will accommodate the renters and one neighborhood on that side of town.

This just does not sound fair to all the residents from every other neighborhood.

No one has told me how this proposed Transit Center location in Thompsonville across the tracks in the corner in the dark by the wayside where so few people live will offer direct transportation in the easiest, shortest possible distance to all our other neighborhoods and the Industrial Park across the highway to spur economic growth with new manufacturing facilities bringing in good paying jobs to this town.

At the Thompsonville Transit Center informational meeting on February 15, 2011, there was a short presentation by Mister Levitz in which he was going to teach us a brief history lesson about Bigelow.

One of the statements that he made was [and I am paraphrasing], that the train station was not wanted because of the resident's bitterness towards Bigelow moving out and leaving them without a pension.

That is a lot of Bunk!

Anyone who knows the real story will find that to be inaccurate.

There was a Train Station on the East side of the tracks still in use after Bigelow left, so, what happened to it?

People just stopped using the train because more businesses moved away from the tracks into industrial parks and they then commuted to work more and more by automobile.

Continuing towards the end of his brief seminar, Mr. Levitz stated to us there that we should not be so critical of this transit center and it's location because it would be to everyone's advantage.

After all Mr. Levitz indicated that he intends to build multi level Townhouses [Apartments] on land he owns adjacent along the river on North River Street after the station is built.

Why wasn't this town successful in replacing Bigelow with other manufacturing concerns instead of apartments years ago?

We don't need more apartments nor any high rises along the river in this town.
This will cause this town to become more of a Social Services Provider than it already is to able-bodied people whose rents are paid for and who live off of the government dime as a normal way of life.

It is a known fact that in any city with a lot of apartments there would be a drain on city resources, elevation in crime and drug use and blight providing for bad publicity and degradation of property values.

This town should be striving for more home ownership instead of renters who are here today and gone tomorrow with no real vested interest or responsibility toward this town.

Whose Town is it anyways?...ConnDOT's?, the FTA's?, the ERSC's?, Private Developer's?, Special Interest Groups?, Renters?...Or all citizens in the Town of Enfield?

As taxpayers of Enfield, we should make the important choices for our town and the Council should support and Represent Us All Only and no one else or single entity.

Since: Feb 11

Enfield, CT

#3 Feb 26, 2011
I am squarely opposed to the proposed location of the Thompsonville Transit Center across the tracks from the old site because it:

1. Does not efficiently serve the majority of the taxpaying homeowners as well as industries located throughout many other parts of Enfield.

2. Makes no since to build a station on the west side of the tracks when most of the population lives on the east side.

3. Would increase traffic flow to more than this narrow area can accommodate from the already heavily traveled roads of Elm Street Rte 220 and Hazard Avenue Rte 190.

4. Takes away from land and degrades the natural area by the Connecticut River and would trample on the rights of the people who have homes by the river to live there in peace and quiet.

5. Unfairly caters to one neighborhood village of town.

6. Could not inspire most to put their property and personal safety at greater risk.

I support the Transit Center location along the East side of the tracks at the end of the Enfield High field as the best balanced solution for all citizens of the Town of Enfield.

Some of the advantages to construct the rail station on the end of the Enfield High field are:

1. There would be plenty of grounds for ample parking, business development such as for shopping and other type services to compliment a rail station in the area adjacent.

2. It would definitely be a safer location away from most of the rift-raft of the village.

3. The rail station there could provide for better access to the Connecticut River Park without upsetting the residents along South and North River Streets.

4. This location is more convenient for access from I-91 from King Street, South Road, Enfield Street and Route 190.

5. Further land purchases, brownfield remediation and building renovations with restrictions would not be required.

6. Investment in specialized fire equipment for low bridges to cover the rail station would not be necessary either.

7. Business and transport development within this site would substantially broaden the tax base for the Town of Enfield and encourage new industrial development in our Industrial Park as well as business opportunities in other parts of town.

Those above are just a few reasons that shape my opinion.

Much has changed in a 100 years in the Thompsonville village.

What exists at present is a Main Street that runs along vacant lots where businesses once stood that are no longer there because they could not compete with the big box stores located in the shopping plazas across the highway.

It proceeds past former factory buildings where most of the people of the village once worked in long ago and depended on for their livelihoods which were mistakenly turned into apartments.

The street continues past a former rail station where people no longer used it as time went by because manufacturing moved away to industrial parks forcing them to use their vehicles to commute to work.

Arriving further downhill under a railroad bridge, Main Street comes to a Dead End where a bridge to get across the river once stood that provided for the vital flow of commerce, cut off at the neck and never will be replaced.

If it can be indicated by ConnDOT that what was once good for Thompsonville a hundred years ago is good today then would not a bridge, a manufacturing facility, businesses and rail station still be present?

A rail station at this location is not the best solution to bringing in new manufacturing jobs to this town.

Since: Feb 11

Enfield, CT

#4 Feb 26, 2011
I attended the Thompsonville Transit Design Charette Forum on February 23, 2011 as well as the Thompsonville Transit Center Informational Meeting held at Bigelow Commons on February 15, 2011 and the Thompsonville Transit Center Project Update Meeting on January 27, 2011.

Before anyone at the Design Charette Forum from the public could say or ask anything, it was said near the beginning of the meeting by Peter Bryanton that residents weren't there to debate the merits of the transit center or its location because those have already been decided.

By whom?..Not us taxpayers!

Asking what we were designing, the answer was the bus transit shelter design, street alignment with traffic flow, area greenery and the parking arrangements for it only.

It was also asked would it not make more sense if both the bus and rail stations be designed together and as one building with parking to better plan the area and the answer was no because the rail station was a separate issue for another day.

That's putting the cart before the horse.

Suggested by the consultant was that any design would have to take into consideration, accommodations for the handicapped.

This led me to ask, if that being an important factor, then should not the rail station be a single level facility and a provision in the design of the area allow for a greater distance from the tracks to North River Street where the Casket Building now stands fit a wider footprint single story structure in the future?

The answer definitely was that the narrow distance between the tracks and North River Street where the Casket Building now stands would remain the same and elevators would be provided for the other floors in the future design.

Certainly a facility must handle a few bus loads of people in which each bus seats around 50 and the station should be able to serve 150 at a time at least on one floor.

The answer is that there would be space with accommodations on multiple floors in the narrow Casket building design.

Well I thought then we can design anything we want as long as it is not different from what they want and like Henry Ford said many years ago, you can have any color you want as long as it is black.

When asked about remediation plans to the soil and the answer was to dig down a few feet and cap it with pavement in which I responded that is not true 100% remediation to which the consultant agreed.

Who would want to walk around in an area and be exposed to poisoned ground?

When I asked who will own and maintain the building, there was no definitive answer.

Someone asked how this facility would be taxed by the Town and the answer was that there would be no taxes collected for this property by the Town.

What was indicated is that part of the bus service would have a single stop at the center of Hazardville with possible parking.

Responding to that, I questioned, what about stops to some of the other neighborhoods such as Scitico, Green Manor and Southwood Acres and the answer was that it would be too costly to do.

One woman in the group was surprised that 6 other sites were up for consideration and that this site was chosen without Town-Wide Public Approval until I showed her the map that displayed all the sites that were in consideration.

Photos of rail station exteriors, interiors, platforms, accommodations and parking that were compiled by me from all around the USA could not be shown because of the restrictive nature of the Forum.

The answers, the restrictions in subject matter along with comments from others in the group confirmed to me that this whole exercise was a design CHARADE.

Since: Feb 11

Enfield, CT

#5 Feb 26, 2011
The final report and map that displays the 7 possible rail station sites in Enfield CT can be found at this link on page 11 of this March 2008 McMahon Thompsonville Transit Center Feasibility Study Report in PDF:

Since: Feb 11

Enfield, CT

#6 Feb 27, 2011
There was a petition issued during the Public Communications part of the meeting against the proposed transit site development on the west side of the tracks at the Enfield Town Council Regular Meeting on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at this link:

Since: Feb 11

Enfield, CT

#8 Feb 27, 2011
There is an informal poll that you can participate in at for the question:

What site in Enfield CT would you want the Rail Station to be located?

Here is the link:

Since: Feb 11

Enfield, CT

#9 Feb 27, 2011
This link displays a rendering of what the Town of Enfield Rail/Bus/Visitor Center could look like along the east side of the rail lines at the end of the Enfield High School field site:

The pedestrian flyover in the background would be used to access the Connecticut River Park and the west side of the rail lines.

Enfield, CT

#10 Aug 11, 2011
I pretty much agree with SpringfieldKid. The proposed station is in the wrong location, on contaminated soil, only serves a small cluster of residents, is inconvenient to get to, incorrectly assumes people will get on buses to get to the train, does not take advantage of the I-91/Rte 190/US5 complex, and discourages use by residents of Longmeadow, Agawam, Suffield, Somers and Stafford Springs. IMO, the station should be built at the foot of the 190 bridge using the land adjacent to the river and between 190 and Birch Street. Build an attractive, safe structure that people might come to, and they will. Do it once, and do it right!

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