The Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously last week to adopt the Complete Streets Master Plan as part of the city's Plan of Conservation and Development.
According to an article in the Hartford Courant, recommendations in the plan including the addition of bicycle lanes, developing trails and making areas near schools safer for pedestrians.
Read the full article in the Courant here.
Healthy Enfield announced Mark Fenton, a national public health, planning and transportation consultant will speak on April 10 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Enfield Town Council Chambers at 820 Enfield Street.
Fenton is the former host of the "America's Walking" series on PBS. He will explore ways to transform Enfield into a more walking-/biking-friendly community. He will provide tips, techniques and attainable goals on strengthening community health through infrastructure design and cost-effective Complete Streets ideas.
For more information, and to reserve seats, contact Lisa at the Town of Enfield, Social Services at 860-253-6395.
Thanks to the Hartford Courant for the March 21 editorial in support of the Vulnerable User bill, which Bike Walk Connecticut endorses for the fifth consecutive year.
Protect Walkers And Bicyclists: Bill Aims To Get Attention Of Reckless Drivers (Courant Editorial, March 21, 2014)
Car drivers are not the only legal users of Connecticut's roads: Walkers, bicyclists, horse riders, tractor operators and utility crews, among others, have a right to use the roads as well. Most drivers know this; some do not.
To get their attention, advocates for "vulnerable users" of the roadways are supporting a bill in the General Assembly that would create a fine of up to $1,000 for reckless drivers who injure or kill pedestrians, bicyclists or others who are lawfully and responsibly using a public way.
The bill should pass.
Why such a law? The human body is no match for 3,000 pounds of speeding steel. What might be a fender bender for a car is . . . Read the full editorial here.
by MaryEllen Thibodeau
Direct from the League of American Bicyclists - The US DOT just issued a proposed national traffic safety goal that doesn't include a specific target or goal for reducing the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed on our roadways.
We know that without a specific target to focus the attention of state DOTs and USDOT on reducing bicyclist and pedestrian deaths within the overall number -- we get lost in the shuffle. At a time when cities like New York and San Francisco are adopting bold targets like Vision Zero, we believe the federal government should be expecting the same thing of themselves and state transportation agencies.
Please ask Senator Murphy and your Congressional representative to sign on to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act: HR 3494 / S 1708. Go to his or her website and send an email today.
by MaryEllen Thibodeau
Bike Walk Connecticut was represented at the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC on March 3-5 by Laura Baum and MaryEllen Thibodeau. Joining them and 700 others were Jan Bolland Tanner and Jodi Polsgrove of Benidorm Bike in Canton, Trevor Maclean, a college student and bike racer from Westport, and Michael Norris, CT Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board member (go to diybiking.com for a great article on his first timer’s trip to the summit).
We heard that the snowstorm which arrived in DC Sunday night interfered with some attendees travel, but you couldn’t tell from the large crowds of cycling enthusiasts who braved the weather. We heard from and learned from creative, hardworking, committed advocates from all over the US and government officials like Congressman Earl Blumenaur of Portland Oregon – cyclists’ best friend in Congress bar none – and DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx, who as mayor of Charlotte, NC put roads on diets to add bike lanes. Unfortunately, due to the prevailing sentiment in Congress, there was not much good news on the federal front for any increased funding for biking and walking. But we were heartened by some of the great things that are being done at the local level by mayors who “get it” – like the mayor of Memphis who is adding bike lanes and multi-use paths to combat an obesity epidemic – and cities like Las Vegas – yup, you soon will be able to bike from casino to casino - that are adding bike share programs.
On to the Hill
On March 5, we spent the entire day going from meeting to meeting with legislative assistants for Senators Blumenthal and Murphy and Representatives Larson, DeLauro, Himes and Esty to let them know how important support for biking and pedestrian initiatives is for many people back home. Our hopes of bringing this message directly to our elected officials (we were slated to meet with Rep. Esty) were dashed when we learned that most of them would be boarding Air Force One with President Obama to attend his speech at Central Connecticut State University that afternoon.
We asked for help in passing two acts which had been introduced recently in the Senate and House. Specifically, we asked that each of the elected officials from Connecticut co-sponsor the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act: HR 3494 / S 1708 and the Safe Streets Act (previously introduced as the Complete Streets Act) HR 2468/ S2004. Senator Blumenthal had already agreed to co-sponsor the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act directly as a result of receiving over 100 emails asking him to do that. Yes, your voice does make a difference!
During a bicycle ride fundraising event at City Hall, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp promised cyclists more protected bike lanes to ride on in New Haven.
According to the New Haven Independent, Harp said that although the city may not have the money to make major changes right now, it can take less expensive steps towards calming traffic. The example she gave was using "huge flowerpots" to narrow streets.
She added that eventually she will make sure the city will have cycletracks. "We are poised to bring real bike lanes—safe and separate—to as many streets as possible," Harp said, according to the New Haven Independent article.
Read the full article here.
Hamlethub reports that the City of Norwalk has proposed a project that will add ADA compliant sidewalks and curb ramps on Highland Ave. from Witch Ln. to Knollwood Rd. Additionally, pedestrian crossing beacons will be installed on Highland Ave. at Roton Middle School and at Knollwood Rd.
The city will hold an informational meeting on the project on March 26, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Roton Middle School, 201 Highland Ave., Norwalk.
Click here to read the full article in the HamletHub.
During a meeting last week, the public was briefed on a feasibility study to link the Fairfield Metro and Black Rock with a new pedestrian bridge.
The study was spearheaded by the Greater Bridgeport Regional Council. Officials hope this study will lead to the bridge construction, as well as street and sidewalk improvements in 2016.
Read the full article in the CT Post here.
Bike coordinator for Portland, Oregon, Roger Geller spoke at the West Hartford Town Hall recently. Geller gave a presentation in his hometown on how Portland has become a model for other communities that would like to be more bicycle-friendly.
According to The West Hartford Press, Geller shared photos and information about Portland and its bikeways, which include bicycle corrals, pathways, bike lanes and even bike specific traffic signals. He also touched on the reasons why communities should support bicycling as a transportation mode. His reasons included: bicycling benefits the economy, business, health and the environment.
Geller added that it’s hard to convince people that it is okay to ride in traffic. Communities can increase bicycle users by creating bike lanes and corals.
Watch a video from the presentation here.
Thanks to all of you from the Bike Walk Connecticut community who have spoken up so far to get the Vulnerable User bill passed! Public comments for SB 336 are posted on the legislature's website at http://1.usa.gov/1ou09VT. Here's what's posted so far:
03/05/2014 Allen Horila
03/05/2014 Antonio Riera, MD., Assistant Professor, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine
03/05/2014 Connecticut Coordinator, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
03/05/2014 Dario Del Puppa
03/05/2014 David Dove
03/05/2014 David Eder
03/05/2014 Debbie Lundgren
03/05/2014 Deborah Thibodeau
03/05/2014 Dr. Mary Murphy, Dmin
03/05/2014 Frederick J. Mastele, President, Connecticut Horse Council
03/05/2014 Henry N. Talmage, Executive Director, Connecticut Farm Bureau Association
03/05/2014 Holly Parker, Director, Sustainable Transportation Systems
03/05/2014 Howard Pfrommer
03/05/2014 Jason Williams
03/05/2014 Jim Adams
03/05/2014 Jim Redeker, Commissioner, CT Department of Transportation
03/05/2014 Joann Potrzeba
03/05/2014 Joseph D. Anastasio
03/05/2014 Karen Burnaska, Coordinator, Transit for Connecticut
03/05/2014 Karen Santucci, MD
03/05/2014 Kelly Kennedy, Executive Direstor, Bike Walk Connecticut
03/05/2014 Kenneth S. Sek
03/05/2014 Kirsten Bechtel MD., Section of Pediatric Emergancy Medicine, Department of Pediatrics-Yale School of medicine
03/05/2014 Mary Ellen Thibodeau
03/05/2014 Matthew Asensio
03/05/2014 Michael Berghuis
03/05/2014 Nancy Decrisantis
03/05/2014 Nora Duncan, State Director, AARP
03/05/2014 Phil Barlow
03/05/2014 Rick Thibodeau
03/05/2014 Rob O'Connor
03/05/2014 Robert Dickinson
03/05/2014 Roland Chirico
03/05/2014 Scott & Deborah Livingston
03/05/2014 Scott Gamester
03/05/2014 Sean Doyle, Program Associate, Connecticut Public Interest Research Group
03/05/2014 Thomas E. Jannke
03/05/2014 Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Send us your bike walk related news and time permitting, we'll do our best to post it.