Connecticut Main Street Center


Vol.12, Issue 5

Inspiring great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.

Downtown Update

Newsletter of the Connecticut Main Street Center
New York City DOT Report Measures the Success of  Well-Designed Streets 


It's not hard to imagine that well-designed streets are safer for everyone, but a new report from the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) goes a step further towards providing statistical evidence of this concept. Referred to during CMSC's recent DRI workshop, Complete Streets 3: Implementing, Funding & the Return on Investment, by panelist Emily Moos, AICP, Senior Planner & Policy Analyst for Capitol Region Council of Governments, the report aims to precisely measure the benefit of streets that accommodate all users - motorists, buses, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets found that there were less accidents, injuries and decreased speeding, while local businesses saw retail sales grow, there were less commercial vacancies, bus speeds and ridership grew, and bicycle volume increased - all while improving travel times. Parking was also improved, decreasing average parking duration, thereby increasing turnover. The report notes, "Reducing parking duration by 10-20% can have the same effect as creating hundreds of new parking spaces in a neighborhood, while improving traffic flow."


Measuring the Street broke out the design of the streets into five key areas: Designing Safer Streets; Building Great Public Spaces; Improving Bus Service; Reducing Delay and Speeding; and Efficiency in Parking and Loading. The report also laid out an inventory of the changes it made, delineating which were critical and which were helpful. The report noted a few cost saving measures as well, such as creating new pedestrian plazas first with temporary materials, then later as capital projects.


Reports such as these showcase the best of both Complete Streets design and CMSC's DRI workshops. The purpose of the DRI workshops is to bring together experts, industry colleagues and our members to engage in dialogue around best practices in downtown management. Complete Streets (legislation passed in Connecticut that requires transportation initiatives to accommodate all users) is safer for visitors to our downtown centers, while increasing business among local retailers. Statistics like those found in Measuring the Street, and discussions like the panel discussion at the DRI workshop, help show why our work is so important and beneficial to Connecticut's Main Street districts.


To view Emily Moos' presentation (including the full Measuring the Street report), or for more information on the Complete Streets 3: Implementing, Funding & the Return on Investment workshop, please visit our website at

Spotlight on 2012 CMSC Award Winner - 10 Year Award to Sarah Nielsen, Simsbury Main Street Partnership   
S Nielsen 2
Sarah Nielsen has been an instrumental leader of Simsbury Main Street Partnership during her ten-year tenure. She's overseen Main Street's role in events like the Talcott Mountain Music Festival's new performing arts venue and the Simsbury Town Center and Rt 10 Corridor Charrettes.


Sarah Nielsen has been an instrumental member of Simsbury Main Street Partnership (SMSP), since her arrival shortly after college in 2002. Sarah inherited a Main Street organization fighting for survival, having lost the support of many business owners and residents and in danger of losing municipal funding and their designation as a Main Street Community. In a testament to her leadership, Sarah was able to turn the Main Street Program around within five short years. Sarah did this by working with SMSP leaders, re-establishing relationships with the Town, local and regional tourism organizations, the Council of Governments and many public and private sector entities, and creating partnerships in order to assure the continued economic vitality of her adopted community. Her hard work was noted, and in 2006, Sarah was chosen as one of Hartford Business Journal's "40 Under 40" 


Since then, Sarah has overseen Main Street's role in the Talcott Mountain Music Festival's new performing arts venue; the Simsbury Town Center and Route 10 Corridor Charrettes; Community Visioning and Master Planning the Town Center; and Simsbury's Preserve America designation.

She also coordinated the Town-wide Heritage Tourism Marketing initiative, which branded Simsbury as the place for "Heritage, Charm & Adventure".


Her list of successes continued as Sarah formed innovative youth programs pairing University of Hartford Barney School of Business students with Simsbury business owners. She established the Simsbury High School Culinary Arts training program with the Riverview Banquet facility, and facilitated the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. documentary project, directed and produced by Simsbury High School students in partnership with the Simsbury Free Library.


Sarah continually goes above and beyond the call of duty. Her dedication and commitment to the town are always evident, including during a large fire at a business complex a few years ago. Other than the firemen, Sarah was one of the first people on the scene, quickly spearheading the effort to find temporary locations for the displaced businesses. Her passion for helping continues, and just recently during Hurricane Sandy, she utilized social media to make residents aware where they could purchase generators in advance of the storm.  


Over her ten-year tenure Sarah has proven herself to be a stalwart champion for her town and the Simsbury Main Street Partnership. That's why we were proud to honor her at our annual Awards Gala in June with CMSC's special 10 Year Award. We look forward to working with Sarah to create great Connecticut downtowns for many years to come.


Photos from the 2012 Awards Gala have been posted to our Facebook page. We invite you to view the camaraderie and communal inspiration that was evident in the many smiling, proud faces of the awards winners and their supporters. Learn more about the winning initiatives and individuals here.

Re-Mains of the Day 

Willimantic Website Launch
Thread City Development Corp. is launching a new website for downtown Willimantic that will direct visitors to downtown events & information.
▪  Thread City Development Corp. is set to launch a new website for downtown Willimantic that will direct visitors to downtown events and information, a shopping and dining directory, museum and historic site information, parking information and interactive maps. Businesses and developers will have access to real estate availabilities, downtown studies and reports and a directory of contact and funding resources for setting up or expanding a downtown business. Development of the website was made possible by a 2012 Preservation of Place grant award from CMSC to Thread City Development Corp.


The new site at, will launch Monday, November 19 after a launch party at the beautifully restored Capitol Theatre on Main Street.


▪ Waterbury Main Street Executive Director Carl Rosa proved our downtowns are full of ardent, knowledgeable supporters when he recently wrote a feisty response to New York Times reporter Gail Collins, who disparagingly called his beloved Brass City downtown "decrepit". Wrote Mr. Rosa, "A closer look, on the same street that you were standing, would have seen building facades getting renovated, buildings being transformed to mixed use development with market rate housing, the beginnings of an arts and culture corridor right there on Bank St." To read Carl Rosa's full response, click here.


Upper Albany Development Incorporated, a program of Upper Albany Main Street (which is a CMSC Designated Community member), wasfeatured on NPR in mid-October. NPR's J Holt spoke with Upper Albany Main Street Board President Denise Best about the Town Center Project and the collaborative relationship Upper Albany Main Street enjoys with Hartford's Director of Development Services, Thom Delller. The story notes how Mr. Deller listened to the community's desire for a Jazz Supper Club and soul food restaurant at the Albany Avenue location, meeting several times with local leaders like Ms. Best to better understand their wants and concerns. In the end the City chose the developer supported by the community, who could also provide a financially-balanced proposal for the Town Center Project. Read the full story here

This newsletter is meant to be a vehicle to communicate with our member communities, industry colleagues and generous supporters.  If you have information about events happening in your downtown, captivating pictures of your Main Street or news regarding your organization that you would like to share in our monthly newsletter, please let us know  

President's Message 


Recent Superstorm Sandy highlighted the importance of our communities and their leaders with stunning clarity as it rampaged across the tri-State area. Leaders at all levels - top to bottom - quickly emerged, working tirelessly to protect citizens. Governors Malloy, Christie, and Cuomo did a great job in the lead-up to the storm, working with towns to ready necessary services and coordinate evacuations, as well as after the storm in keeping the public informed regarding shelters and clean-up and repair time estimates. On the local level, town officials worked hard to protect and assist residents. Even our Main Street members played their part, as noted in our story highlighting 10 Year Award winner Sarah Nielsen, Executive Director of the Simsbury Main Street Partnership, who took to Facebook to let Simsbury residents know where they could purchase generators.


While a cataclysmic event like Sandy brings into sharp relief the need for such coordinated leadership, it's most prudent implementation is put into place every day. That's because the most effective leadership acts like a chain, each person linking their efforts with those of the next - just like our local Main Street leaders who work daily with town officials, who coordinate with state agencies, who work with federal and other state officials to effectuate change.


We know our local Main Street members are on the ground, listening to the needs of their residents. We understand that our State officials strive to implement policy and provide services that benefit Connecticut's citizenry. It's our goal to link our network of member communities with the right agencies, organizations and state officials so that our downtowns are protected and strengthened, each and every day. In advocating for the Main Street way of life we become a powerful link in the leadership chain, allowing our mission of creating vibrant, sustainable downtowns to come full circle.


Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. We wish our friends, neighbors and Connecticut communities a speedy recovery and an especially joyous Thanksgiving.  

Connecticut Main Street Center

c/o CL&P

PO Box 270 

Hartford, CT 06141



In This Issue
NYC DOT Report Measures the Success of Well-Designed Streets 



Spotlight on 2012 CMSC Award Winner - 10 Year Award to Sarah Nielsen, Simsbury Main Street Partnership



Re-Mains of the Day -Thread City Development Corp.
Launches Willimantic Website



President's Message


Upcoming Events

Launch of New Willimantic Website

November 19

See it here


CMSC Offices Closed for Thanksgiving

November 22


Manchester Road Race

November 22

More Info


Call for 2013 CMSC Awards of Excellence Entries

December 3


CT League of Conservation Voters Environmental Summit 

December 6

Register Here


Middletown - Midnight on Main

December 31

More Info


Hartford - First Night

December 31

More Info

Like us on Facebook!
J SImone and S Nielsen
Sarah Nielsen, Simsbury Main Street Partnership Executive Director, accepts an award for her 10 Years of Service to the Main Street Program from CMSC President & CEO John Simone.
See pictures of Sarah and other award winners
on Facebook!