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9th Square Merchants Relieved By New Fence
by Allan Appel | Aug 15, 2013 1:00 pm
Posted to: Ninth Square
Antoine Johnson takes the No. 4 bus out to Branford Hall where he’s training to do medical billing. He often takes the bus from Chapel at Orange. At night, waiting can be scary at the stop, which abuts a secluded mini-park called “The Lot.”
So he was happy to discover that the city erected a sturdy fence went up Monday effectively blocking from public access to a secluded spot behind the benches in the Lot that has attracted some, well, antisocial (and smelly) behaviors.
Next improvement he’d like to see: “Light it up.”
Ninth Square merchants spearheaded a campaign that led to the fence’s installation.
The area behind the bus benches is officially New Haven park land. It is frequently used by nearby ArtSpace for exhibitions.
The newly fenced-in rear quadrant of the Lot is a half hidden cut-through from Chapel to Orange that has also been an attraction for less artistic pursuits such as public urination, drug dealing, and loitering. Click here for an article on the coming of the fence and the work of the Ninth Square Associates, the informal group of area merchants, who lobbied officials for change.
Kim Arpaia (pictured) of Arpaia Lang, the jewelers across the street on the Chapel/Orange corner ,was beyond pleased with the new fence.
From her work area inside her establishment’s large glass window, she had had an all too perfect view of what had become a magnet for bad stuff.
“For me the difference is palpable. [When I look up] I don’t want to see people peeing, selling drugs,” she said. She looked out the window at the clean lines of the six-foot fence, where folks no longer linger. “It’s already making a difference,” she reported.
Arpaia and business partner Robert Lang moved to the location nearly two years ago when they knew the area was going through a transition.
“We love the direction the neighborhood is going,” she said.
Lang pulled together an informal group of merchants, called the Ninth Square Associates. They meet regularly and bring to the attention of officials quality of life and other issues, such as the problem with The Lot.
When they brought the issue to the attention of Downtown Special Service District Director Win Davis, he ran interference with all the city officials. The fence is the result. The fire department and other responders have the keys to unlock the area if necessary.
An Aesthetic View
“I can’t tell you how happy I am with the gate,” said Denise Lysak (pictured), who manages Reynolds Fine Art adjacent to the lot on Orange Street.
The dealing that went on beside the lamp post adjacent to the now fenced area has ceased, she said. And the fence is good for the arts, she said. “It beautifies the [street]scape.”
Lang expressed satisfaction with the responsiveness of city officials such as traffic czar Jim Travers. Now the merchants would like to see the city put up a shelter there.
“The ultimate goal is to have a facility with bathrooms, maybe not at this location. People need a place to have a bathroom. That’s why they were peeing here,” Lang said.
He expressed the hope that officials will ultimately move the bus waiting area to some place that made more sense, such as near the northeast corner of State and Chapel, adjacent to the satellite train station.
“We’re not done yet,” he said.
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Don’t get it
What prevents non-welcome folk from accessing this area via the same entrance used by those who are welcome?
“He expressed the hope that officials will ultimately move the bus waiting area to some place that made more sense, such as near the northeast corner of State and Chapel, adjacent to the satellite train station.”
I’m a bus rider and this does NOT make more sense!! Mr. Lang is obviously not a bus rider. Moving the bus stop 2 blocks away punishes riders like myself who get off at that stop to go to Elm City Market.
The problem vexing the local merchants is not, by and large, due to bus riders. Some people have an erroneous idea of who rides the bus. People use the buses to go to and from work, to go grocery and every other kind of shopping, to get to doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, to go to church on Sunday, to go to school. Those of us without a car use the bus for just about every thing people use their cars for. And yes, there are some disruptive and antisocial types riding the bus, but in no larger numbers than riding in cars or on bicycles or walking.
I would hope the powers that be, Mr. Travers and other city officials, would not arbitrarily move the bus stop.
Nobody can access the little alleyway period now, that’s the point.
I visited this site today, and was surprised to find that we are not talking about one fence, but two—one at, either end of the ‘alleyway’, enclosing a now useless 100 sq.ft. chunk of real estate.
I vote that we start a Public Zoo, by putting a live Polar Bear in the new enclosure. If nothing else, it’s presence would certainly deter future peeing on this new flimsy fence.
And I am not exaggerating—the fence is as flimsy as a screen door.