Editorial | The Hartford Courant, August 30, 2013
One of the best ways to see Hartford is by bicycle, a pleasure that will be afforded to about 1,000 hardy souls on Sept. 21. That's the day of the sixth annual Discover Hartford Bicycle Tour, which features 10-, 25- or 40-mile bike rides through the city's parks and neighborhoods and, for those on the 40-mile loop, parks and paths east of the Connecticut River.
The upbeat event has become increasingly popular, as has bicycling in general in the capital region. The tour is sponsored by Bike Walk Connecticut; register at bikewalkct.org.
The ride anchors what is shaping up to be a remarkable weekend in downtown Hartford. The tour is part of the city's Envisionfest celebration, a free one-day festival featuring music, art, games, exhibits and more. It's intended to show how downtown can transform around the iQuilt plan for connecting arts and cultural assets around the fulcrum of Bushnell Park. > Read more
Connecticut Residents have cut their per-person driving miles by 3.45 percent since 2005, while the nation’s long term driving boom appears to have ended, according to a new report from the ConnPIRG Education Fund.
“In Connecticut, driving miles are down, just as they are in almost every state—but less,” said Abe Scarr, director of the ConnPIRG Education Fund. “It’s time for policy makers to recognize that the driving boom is over. We need to reconsider expensive highway expansions and focus on alternatives such as public transportation and biking—which people increasingly use to get around.”
The report, “Moving Off the Road: A State-by-State Analysis of the National Decline in Driving,” is based on the most current available government data. Among its findings:
“Connecticut’s investment in critical transit projects like CTfastrak and the New Haven-Springfield commuter rail line show that transportation decisions better reflect changing travel preferences of residents,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a non-profit policy watchdog. “That is why the widening of I-84 in Waterbury is misguided, outdated, and a waste of limited resources. The Department would provide more value to taxpayers by redirecting those resources to bolster transit and to improve walking and biking, particularly in downtowns and along main streets.”
Download the report, “Moving Off the Road: A State-by-State Analysis on the National Decline in Driving" at http://connpirgedfund.org/reports/ctf/moving-road
The Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects will present "Designing Complete Streets: Benefits, Barriers, and Best Practices," a full-day training program and products and services expo on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
The training will include the following modules:
Register online at: http://www.bit.ly/StreetsOct1
Yankee Magazine has a web site that contains a live foliage map for New England. Individuals can post foliage news on the site, as well as see where others have said are the best spots in New England to see the beautiful colors of fall. If you are a cyclist or hiker looking for the best spots, check out the live map here. It looks like Vermont is already starting to see a change in color!
The Shoreline Greenway Trail celebrated the opening of a walkway over a marsh at Hammonassett Beach State Park in Madison on August 22.
When finished, the Shoreline Greenway Trail will extend 25 miles from Madison to Lighthouse Point in New Haven.
During the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said, "The Shoreline Greenway Trail will encourage others to get outside by providing a safe, scenic off-road alternative for bicyclists, walkers and runners through Hammonasset Beach State Park. Today's celebration of the "walkway" over a marsh, illustrates the importance of protecting Connecticut's natural resources while at the same time providing a trail system that will link 25 miles from Madison to New Haven, connecting communities, neighborhoods, shopping areas and parks, while boosting economic vitality all along the shoreline.
Shoreline Greenway Trail Chair, Chip Angle added, "We are deeply gratefully to Hammonasset Park personnel, DEEP staff, every contributor and the amazing team of volunteers who have come together to make this section of the trail possible. It is a major step forward for the Shoreline Greenway Trail."
Click here to see a news clip from WTNH News Channel 8.
Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee is working to make the city’s streets safer and more “friendly” to all users—including walkers, cyclists and users of public transportation.
The committee is organizing a "traffic count" event on September 17 to document the current number of motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians at a few key locations in the city. The Committee will use the documentation to secure funding for future projects. The documentation is required.
Middletown's Complete Streets Committee is looking for volunteers to spend 1 hour and 15 minutes, either near Stop & Shop on Saybrook Road or at Macdonough School. The task will be to count (using a form and clipboard, which is provided) all cars, trucks, walkers and cyclists who enter a specific intersection during the given time period. Two volunteers are needed at each location—one to count motor vehicles and one to count other users.
To volunteer call 860-398-3771.
The Hartford Business Journal recently reported "Connecticut is the 14th-most expensive state in the country for drivers, according to a new report from Bankrate.com. The average driver here pays $3,485 per year in gasoline, insurance, repairs, taxes and fees, Bankrate said. That's above the national average of $3,201"
Read the full story on HBJ. Or read the Bankrate.com story. Then bike (or walk!) for some of those errands you usually drive for. You can fatten your wallet and slim down at the same time!
Amazon announced it will pay for the construction of a protected bike lane along the two-block stretch in front of its new headquarters in downtown Seattle.
According to the Seattle Times, the agreement was negotiated by the City of Seattle in exchange for turning over some public alleyways within the development to the company. Amazon will also pay $250,000 to help study extending the protected bike lane to Pine Street.
Amazon will also include 400 stalls for bike parking in each of its three towers.
During a public meeting on Tuesday, August 20, Andrew Carrier, a Connecticut DOT consultant, said the state is working to fill the 9.1 mile gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
According to an article in the Hartford Courant, Carrier said the state assembled a map of the greenway's trails that show where the gaps are and are using this to work on linking as many trails as economically possible.
One of the gaps that was discussed was in Plainville. Here the trail stops in Southington and resumes in Farmington, which forces cyclists to turn around or ride on the roads.
Carrier told the 24 in attendance at the public meeting the state engineers are looking at possible routes to link the trail in Plainville, but it is a very complex situation that will require the state to receive a right of way on railroad property, installing at-grade crossings and most likely constructing a bridge to carry cyclists and pedestrians across Route 6 in Farmington.
Carrier added that the state has already finished designs to fill in the smaller gaps of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in New Haven and Cheshire.
The East Coast Greenway Alliance made a stop in New Haven on August 19 during their week-long bike ride from Hartford to Philadelphia.
The East Coast Greenway runs from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida. This week's ride is part of the Alliance's effort to bike different sections of the trail, and eventually cycling all the way to Key West.
The group stopped in New Haven to put of the first of the Greenway's trail signs in the city. The first sign went up outside of New Haven's City Hall.
In New Haven the East Coast Greenway goes through the center to allow cyclists to see the historical aspects of New Haven.
Photo courtesy of Thomas MacMillan, New Haven Independent.
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