Tuesday, October 30, 2007

141 Main Street

The Casa Nova Churrascaria. Churrascaria is a style of Brazilian cooking and serving meat that has been grilled on a skewer. Low-carb heaven! You can read more about it here at Wikipedia.

Before its present incarnation, this was for many years the home of the Brass Jail. I'll bet there are a lot of Danburians and WestConn alumni who have a few stories about the Brass Jail.

Friday, October 26, 2007

What's Your Walkability Index?

Tom Condon writes about West Hartford Center, Blue Back Square, and the value of walkability in the September 30th Hartford Courant.

We need an alternative to endless oil wars in the Middle East and relentless burning of fossil fuels. We need to live more compactly. The trick is to get the benefits of more urban living without the traditional detriments - inadequate stores, poorly maintained buildings, unkempt public spaces, etc. If walkability is seen as a benefit, perhaps town or neighborhood centers will be designed for people instead of cars.

"Designed for people instead of cars." What a concept!

Use the widget in the left sidebar to find your walkability index.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

238 Main Street, reborn!

Main Street - Danbury Gas & Electric 2.0I noticed this for the first time a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn't until today that I had a chance to stop and take a closer look. The Danbury Gas & Electric Co. building is getting a makeover! Scaffolding is up—something you don't often see on Main Street— and those are all new windows. Does anyone know what the plans are for it—will it be offices, residential, or both? If there are going to be apartments, I'd like to know. And if there will be, I hope they don't get rented exclusively to WestConn students. I have nothing against students—I'm a student myself—but as a taxpayer and former potential future resident, I'm still a bit vexed at the way the Crosby Street project was handled. I want to see a more permanent residential presence downtown, not more transient student housing.

Here's what 238 Main Street looked like a year ago. I wonder if the art deco "Gas & Electric" signage will be retained.

256 Main Street - The new parking garageI wonder if the restoration was prompted by the nearby presence of the new parking garage, which looks like it's almost finished. I won't say it enhances the neighborhood, but it's not bad looking as parking garages go. And at least it's not right on Main Street. I still question the value of imposing a minimum number of parking spaces per residential unit anywhere, but especially in the downtown historical district. I think that people who live near decent bus and train service can manage very well with just one car, or even no cars. But maybe that's just me—I grew up in a city where I could get anywhere by bus, and went to college in a city where I could get anywhere by subway. I didn't have to learn to drive until I moved to Danbury. And I look forward to the day when I have my degree, so I can get a full time job in a library, so I can move where I'm close enough to walk to work, or at least take a bus.