Congratulations to the Town of Portland, whose Board of Selectman unanimously approved a Complete Streets Policy. You may read in full below.
Some of you may remember that BWCT member Ray Rauth walked Route One last summer to highlight the dangers of the Boston Post Road. Rauth recently completed a report highlighting key takeaways from the walk, which Bike Walk Connecticut is thrilled to share.
Many thanks to Ray for his ardent commitment to exposing and redressing the dangers of Connecticut's streets for walkers and cyclists, and for allowing us to share his report here.
2017 DISCOVER CT Ride Series
Bicycle Tours Co-Hosted with Bike Walk Connecticut
Bike Walk Connecticut is currently seeking applications for Discover CT, its annual program of bicycle tours in bicycle-friendly communities throughout Connecticut. The Discover CT Ride series introduces more people to the pleasures of cycling by hosting organized events that highlight safe, scenic, interesting, historical, cultural, and bike-enjoyable routes. These rides allow cyclists to discover new communities and rediscover their own neighborhoods, representing a day of exploration, fun, and cycling camaraderie.
Nomination & Application Period: Closes Friday, February 3, 2017
Meetings with Community Candidates: February 6-February 16, 2017
Announcement — 2017 BWCT Rides: February 28, 2017
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The Connecticut Statewide Transportation Study is collecting information about everyday transportation choices and travel patterns in the state of Connecticut. The study reaches out to Connecticut residents to understand their travel behaviors including how they travel, where they go, why they travel, and how long it takes. This information is vital for transportation agencies in the state including the Connecticut Department of Transportation to not only understand how the existing transportation system serves the residents of the state but also to plan for future transportation needs.
The data collected in this study will be used primarily to develop and update a statewide transportation model that will allow CTDOT to study how the transportation system is impacted by growth, development and other changes in communities and regions across the state. The results from the model will allow planners and policymakers to make informed choices about which transportation infrastructure (including roadways, bridges, rail systems, bus routes, pedestrian and bicycle facilities) to maintain and develop. Reliable and viable travel options enhance the quality of life of residents and promote economic vitality of businesses, and this study will help transportation agencies in the state of Connecticut meet these objectives.
You'll need to request to participate in the study (unless you were already selected at random). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for a password and access to the survey. Act quickly because the survey is open only for a short time.
Visit https://cttransportationstudy.org for the survey page.
Good news: the Judiciary Committee recently voted unanimously to move HB 5403 out of its comittee, a step toward getting it voted on. HB 5403 would increase penalties for drivers that don't yield to pedestrians in crosswalks or don't use due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian or cyclist. The bill is now being reviewed by the Legislative Commissioner's Office. Next, we'll want the House to bring the bill up for a vote. Stay tuned for the possibility of more action alerts.
In addition to thanking the full Judiciary Committee for its for backing this bill, we say thank you to Stamford Rep. Terry Adams, the original proponent of the concepts behind this bill, and to cosponsors Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, 133rd Dist.; Sen. Beth Bye, 5th Dist.; Rep. Steven Stafstrom, 129th Dist.; and Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, 106th Dist.
Minnesota laws get it right. That's why it's been the least dangerous place for pedestrians. See http://www.autoinsurancecenter.com/the-worst-places-to-be-a-pedestrian.htm .
March 1, 2016
Re: SUPPORT for HB 5403, An Act Increasing Penalties For Failure To Yield To Pedestrians In Crosswalks And Failure To Exercise Due Care To Avoid Hitting A Pedestrian Or Cyclist
Dear Representative Tong, Senator Coleman, and Members of the Judiciary Committee:
Bike Walk Connecticut and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign write jointly to thank you for raising HB 5403, an important measure to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists to use the roads. We support the bill and urge the legislature to pass it in 2016 before there’s one more pedestrian or cyclist tragedy.
News Accounts Show Connecticut Not Hospitable to Pedestrians and Cyclists
Recent news accounts from across the state, along with the just-released 2016 Auto Insurance Center report on pedestrian fatalities and injuries, underscore the need for people all across Connecticut to know and follow the rules for safely sharing the road. This is not a new phenomenon: our 2014 research for the Vulnerable User law found that 10,793 pedestrians and cyclists were injured or killed on Connecticut roads from 2006 through 2012, according to state and federal statistics.
Connecticut Needs a Share the Road Campaign for Drivers, Pedestrians and Cyclists
Everybody should feel safe using Connecticut’s roads. Our roads are traveled by people of all ages and abilities who walk, run and cycle for transportation, fitness, recreation, and tourism. Those people must be welcome and expected on our roads.
Legal, Financial Consequences Would Change Behavior
Not only does Connecticut need to re-learn and recommit to the following the rules of the road, we need to step up enforcement of those rules. To the best of our knowledge, the Vulnerable User law enacted in 2014 has never been enforced. The 3-foot safe passing rule isn’t widely observed or easily enforced. And clearly, the rules for yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks go unheeded. The absence of legal or financial consequences to ignoring “share the road” rules simply reinforces the undesirable behavior that so often has truly tragic consequences.
Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-300(c) Should be Corrected Too
In addition to strengthening penalties as this bill provides, please consider correcting a little known 2007 amendment to Conn. Gen. Stat. §14-300(c). Public Act 07-167 amended subsection (c) by replacing “steps to the curb” with “steps off the curb or into the crosswalk” and specifying a fine of $90, effective July 1, 2007. Prioritizing drivers over non-motorized road users, as that amendment did, is simply poor, short-sighted public policy that has no place in a world of climate change, massive traffic congestion problems, and an obesity epidemic.
Minnesota and Other Model Laws
We wish to call your attention to a few pro-pedestrian, pro-cyclist laws in other states that could serve as worthy models for Connecticut:
With four out of five Connecticut workers driving to work alone by car, it’s no wonder that our roads are congested, costing us some $1.3 billion annually in lost time and wasted fuel, according to DOT. Nor should we overlook the fact that transportation is the single biggest source of Connecticut’s greenhouse gas pollution. According to DEEP, that’s mostly from passenger cars.
Accordingly, Connecticut must go beyond accommodating cyclist and pedestrian travel to actually promoting it, so that we can simultaneously relieve congestion, address climate change, improve public health, and attract and retain the millennials and knowledge workers that will give Connecticut's innovation economy a true competitive advantage.
Many of our members have been sharing their personal experiences with you about their adventures, and misadventures, as a pedestrian or cyclist trying to navigate Connecticut’s roads. We urge you to read their remarks and take them to heart.
Thank you for considering our views. We look forward to helping to see that HB 5403 passes this session.
Kelly Kennedy, Executive Director, Bike Walk Connecticut
Joseph Cutrufo, Connecticut Policy Director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Bike Walk Connecticut
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