May 5, 2015
Mr. Mark W. Alexander
c/o CT DOT Bureau of Policy and Planning
2800 Berlin Turnpike
Good morning. My name is Angela Capinera. I currently reside in Stratford, CT and am writing in response to the proposed Seaview Avenue expansion/ corridor work proposed in Bridgeport, CT.
For your information, I am blind carbon copying several individuals and news publications on this email who have interest in the project.
In summation, I am opposed to the expansion of Seaview Avenue in Bridgeport. I have been opposed to this project for years and my objections, along with others who oppose this, have fallen on many “deaf” ears.
I don’t know if you have come down to see this area, to sit, observe, watch,and drive through yourself. It is a nightmare at any time of the day or night. It has been for my entire lifetime in this area. I am a life-long resident of this area and lived for a decade in Stratford in the area that abutted Seaview Avenue. I had to frequently drive through when commuting and also had to frequently detour through when traffic in other areas was backlogged. I still frequently drive through here.
Seaview Avenue crosses Boston Avenue, one of Bridgeport’s busiest and most congested traffic areas. Making a left hand turn can mean several turns of a traffic light or if someone is trying to turn left, it is almost impossible.
Seaview Avenue also runs right behind one of the area’s biggest hospitals and a Level Two Trauma Center for the area: Bridgeport Hospital. I volunteer with a local Emergency Medical Service and most of our patients request to be taken there or we bring in high level medical traumas to Bridgeport Hospital. I am afraid any construction in this area could mean a delay in medical care, especially for trauma and pediatric patients.
On this note, the roads in this area are already poorly maintained and again, and this has been my entire experience of living and driving in the area. There are frequently pot holes and ripped up concrete. The roads are always patched and never fully paved. The driving conditions in a regular passenger car are nauseating and are only made worse when in the back of an ambulance. When we hit a pot hole, even going regular travel for non-life threatening illness, everyone can feel it. I have had people cry out in pain and fear and patients are usually warned, or can tell, when we reach Bridgeport. My point being: Bridgeport was told that they will have to pay 20% of this project and right now the municipality does not even have the money to properly maintain the roads it has.
Another part of my opposition is the quality of life and dissemination of information about this proposed project. Within a quarter of a mile, there is a high school, a magnet school, several senior citizen living complexes, and a working-class community that is grossly under-served and already suffers from a high crime rate, including murder and drug-trafficking. There already are no safe places for the children who live there to go: no green parks, no green large recreational areas, and the sidewalks, if any, are not maintained. Many trees have been lost due to weather and age and have never been replaced. The air quality is very poor and this becomes very apparent when the weather is hazy, hot, and humid. Asthma rates are some of the highest in the area. Bringing in more road, more concrete, more pavement and the people who live in the area suffer from this.
I’m sure you are aware that this is being proposed for a new industrial park. Please be aware that Bridgeport and Stratford both currently cannot fill the empty buildings they have already. There are buildings in Bridgeport that have permits still in the windows dating back to 2007 where nothing was ever done or finished. Stratford has similar buildings that are sitting empty. Both municipalities would be better served remediating what they already have available than making the quality of life poorer for their citizens.
Finally, please be aware most people are not aware of the impact the project would have on them, in both Bridgeport and Stratford. Stratford Library was the only place that held the binders with information on this and they have since been moved out of main placement. Bridgeport residents were not, and have not, been given similar access. There have been a few newspaper articles here and there but no concentrated effort to inform area residents about this project: no public hearings, no referendums, no ballot votes. Ultimately they will be bearing the biggest brunt of the cost for this. Bridgeport and Stratford already have two of the highest mill rates in the area, at 41 and 38 respectively, and already have a lot of trouble making their budgets and many citizens go with depleted services and people like myself, who spend countless hours volunteering in public service with no reward or compensation, are the only ones helping make up that shortfall.
I have talked to people in both places and few people know about the project and ultimately how the project will impact them and long-term future area residents. Just today I read an article that new business creation is down 14%. I know Bridgeport is trying and so is Stratford but a quick shot in the arm of economics versus long-term quality of life is a poor choice. The DOT would be better off giving Bridgeport money for urban trees and road improvements for exisitng roads, maybe a bike path, a walking path, a nature path or two, would be nice, too. People planting trees and maintaining roads and park space on a regular basis offer better economic stimulus than high medical bills and a populus that is suffering and constantly sick.
Again, I respectfully request that the Connecticut Department of Transportation does not pay for or approve the Seaview Avenue expansion project and instead seeks other means to help support and improve the quality of life for the residents of Seaview Avenue and surrounding areas.
Thank you very much for taking your time to read this and have a wonderful day.