By MELISSA PIONZIO, email@example.com
The Hartford Courant
February 12, 2011
A four-day planning session that provided initial information on a $200,000 study of the town's Route 10 corridor concluded this week.
Held at the public library, the collaboration among the town, the state Department of Transportation and the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) began Monday with an overview of the town, including its population, employment, traffic demographics, current land use, zoning and development.
Participants at the sessions, also known as a charrette, could talk to representatives from CRCOG and Fuss & O'Neill, the engineering firm hired to work with the town.
"Any time you take what has previously been a process where experts tell you what works, to asking people for their input, is a good thing," said Simsbury resident Bob Beinstein, an engineer who attended several sessions. "Residents really did have a chance to provide input."
The dozens who filled the library's community room Thursday night paid close attention to colorful maps and illustrations that depicted traffic conditions at 15 intersections along Route 10.
Ted DiSantos, a principal with Fuss & O'Neill, thanked residents for their participation and stressed the importance of planning.
"If you don't have a plan, development could come in that is inconsistent with your vision," said DiSantos. "What you need is a plan that accommodates the needs and concerns of everyone."
"I think they did a great job. I was here Monday and some of the things we recommended, they addressed," said resident Bruno Hazen, an insurance consultant.
John Lucker, president of Simsbury Homeowners Advocating Responsible Expansion, said he hopes residents will have a say in whether the study will be adopted once it is completed.
"It remains to be seen how responsible this ends up being, considering the obvious, numerous eminent domain seizures needed to accomplish this plan," he said, referring to proposals to relocate a portion of Nod Road, extend Iron Horse Boulevard and change other roads and intersections.
First Selectman Mary Glassman said residents will be able to provide input on the final version of the study during public hearings and meeting presentations.
"I'm so proud of our town, being open and participating," she said. "The challenge going forward will be priorities and the funding mechanisms. It's good to have a plan in place as the town grows."
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