With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hot In Hartford: XL Center vs. New Britain Busway

XL Center image courtesy of www.ctvisit.com Bus Image courtesy of www.environmentalheadlines.com
The first match up of "Hot In Hartford 2012" features the XL Center squaring off against the Hartford-New Britain Busway. The XL Center is the current home to the CT Whale, UConn basketball, and hosts many other events throughout the year. Formerly home to the Hartford Whalers and a slew of minor league sports teams, the XL Center is reaching a critical point in its existence as the current lease expires soon and renovations or a new arena must be considered in the upcoming years.

Former Whalers owner Howard Baldwin made headlines recently when he unveiled a $105 million plan to refurbish the XL Center. When asked about the plan Governor Dan Malloy stated that he "wasn't interested."

What is getting built is the over $500 million busway between Hartford and New Britain. Designed to ease the traffic congestion between Hartford and New Britain, the public response seems to be dubious at best. The Busway is currently slated to open in 2014. An interesting use of public funds. Hopefully, it will at least stop at the stadium so we can catch a few Rock Cats games.

Which is Hot In Hartford? Vote on the sidebar!


  1. How about do neither and lower the outrageous taxes in this city. It's the elephant in the room keeping private investors the hell out. Bullets are too, they don't like them.

  2. The sidebar could use a Monte Brewster-style "none of the above" choice. If I was forced to choose between the two, I'd lean toward the XL center, but only because I find the Hart-NB bus line so puzzling(especially the price tag). The XL center would at least have some tangible benefits, although not for the parts of Hartford that actually need them.

    The benefits of the bus line are based entirely on conjecture, and poor conjecture at that. Outside of a truly desperate scenario, people aren't switching from cars to buses any time soon. Beyond that, it assumes that the cars creating traffic are a horde of New Britainites (?)traveling 15 minutes to Hartford. It seems too short a distance for that. They've also ignored that buses have all the same shortcomings as cars for commuters with none of the perks.

    They'd have a better chance with a train system making Hartford a hub to some of the surrounding cities. At least riding by train has a consistent schedule and some nostalgic charm.

  3. I agree with Eric -outrageous taxes in this city. It's the elephant in the room keeping private investors the hell out. Bullets are too, they don't like them.

  4. The XL Center should be hotter than it currently is, especially with the contract up in 2013 to move ownership to the state.

    Perhaps 105 million is a bit too much to get the state's attention, but we also need to know how much private investor's and Baldwin will put down on this deal. I wouldn't see the state giving more than 20% to the project even with large business investment.

    However, the state needs to attract younger people, who generally enjoy a good sports team. Its why when I ask my friends what they are doing on the weekends, they'll say they are either watching a NY/MA sports team at home, or driving to those states to see them in person. We've got a strong (but not strong enough) AHL outfit, but an NHL outfit would be smart and effect in Hartford.

  5. The XL Center would be a far better investment than that inane busway, especially considering the hundreds of millions of dollars it will cost. Let's face it, they didn't pick the route because there was demand for travel between the two cities but because someone saw an available railroad right of way. I'd love a transportation network, either light rail or dedicated bus routes running up the middle of main routes, such as Farmington Avenue, with a hub in Hartford so people could go from Farmington to Bradley with a single transfer. When the busway fails to meet rider projections, it'll taint the idea of modern mass transit in this area so any rational proposal will be crushed as soon as it's proposed. A renovated XL Center would provide jobs, entertainment options, be good for UConn and might give Hartford a shot at an NHL team.

  6. I see that whenever anything at all is proposed to improve Hartford, there's always the 50 percent who write "Let Hartford rot, I only want to drive around the suburbs" who come out.

  7. I don't know why this money that they are going to spend on this inane busway doesn't get spend on something as was said earlier... a commuter rail. I mean right now the New Haven, Hartford, Springfield railway is in its planning phase. Why not make Hartford a rail hub? Union Station is there and severely under utilized.

    Or if perhaps a commuter rail solution is too unfeasible or too large scale for the immediate Hartford area, then there is always the option of light rail; like Boston's Green Line. I come from the Greater Boston area and it's been proven that an effective commuter rail network works. Plus I mean if given the option I'm sure more people would prefer a train over a bus that pretty much acts like a train...

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