On November 14th, 2008, TCI sponsored a collaborative planning process, called a charrette, in which members of a community share ideas to build consensus around the shape and direction of future growth. In addition to introducing the charrette process, we hoped to come away with a few good ideas which might inform the development of Glastonbury’s Town Center over the next 20 years. New Haven architect and planner, Robert Orr, facilitated the charrette with his associates, Susan Bridgewater and Russell Preston.
One of the more interesting ideas to emerge was that some of the disconnected parking lots in Town Center could easily be turned into new streets while preserving the same number of parking spots. New blocks with pedestrian-oriented retail, coupled with additional housing, would help to create a more vital Town Center, both socially and economically.
The following video records Robert Orr’s remarks at the end of the charrette when he reviewed drawings Orr and his associates made during the day in response to what participants had to say.
Video part 1 of 4
Proposal for creation of new streets from existing parking lots and driveways in Town Center. Bring building line up to 20-foot-wide sidewalks, allowing for outdoor dining and street-side planting. Claim that on-street parking on new streets can park 30% more cars than existing lots with same amount of pavement. Suggest that Fountain Green become bigger to incorporate some buildings in Derr Plaza.
Video part 2 of 4
Discussion of Smartcode leading to a regulating plan. Would include no changes to existing property lines; property owners free to keep what they have, or take advantage of opportunity for increase building density. Reference to Hamden implementation of Smartcode.
Video part 3 of 4
Talk about agriculture and farmers’ right to participate in vibrant life of town. More about Hamden regulating plan — restriction to commercial use. Smartcode as possible ‘underlay’ to existing code. No need for eminent domain. Discussion of 1969 federal urban renewal impact on Town Center.
Video part 4 of 4
Impact on bike riders with discussion of rules of the road and bike etiquette. Suggestion for Whole Foods structured parking with reference to Donald Shoup’s, “High Cost of Free Parking.” Back and forth about overly-wide service area behind Whole Foods as example of underused paving. Concluding thoughts see Town Center as ‘tight-knit little hamlet.’
One of the charrette drawings showing possible new streets from existing parking lots, and driveways.