We contacted candidates for Governor, State Senator, and State Representative to educate them about Bike Walk Connecticut and the importance of making Connecticut a better place to bike and walk. Here's what we said:
As you make your rounds in these last few days before the election, we hope you'll keep our mission in mind. Are the communities you visit good, safe places for people to bike and walk?
We believe Connecticut must become a better place to bike and walk.
We believe more people want to spend less time sitting in their cars.
We think parents want their kids to be able to bike or walk to school.
We know more people would bike and walk more, if it were convenient and they felt safe.
If we want to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, encourage people to get more exercise, help people save money, and foster lively communities, then promoting biking and walking is smart policy. To see what some Connecticut residents are saying about why biking and walking is important to them, please click here.
We hope you'll work with us to get better, safer places for biking and walking all across Connecticut.
Best wishes to you on the final stretch of the campaign trail!
Kelly Kennedy, Executive Director
Bike Walk Connecticut
... By the way, if you're not familiar with our work, here are some of our accomplishments so far this year:
Remember these guys? Read and be proud of Trinity College students' op-ed in today's Hartford Courant.
Hartford Must Join Bike-Friendly Cities
Making Hartford's streets friendlier for bicycle riders would improve capital's image, especially among young
October 29, 2014 - As Trinity College students from different parts of the country, we care about the environment and its condition. We haven't been around long enough to cause climate change, but we inherited the responsibility to create a solution. That sentiment led us to take a seminar on "Cycling, Sustainability and the City of Hartford."
In addition to our classroom work, we've been getting to know Hartford by going on group bike rides on weekends. Unlike the metro areas we're from — Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York — we were surprised to find a cultural stigma associated with cycling in Hartford that keeps it from becoming bike-friendly, which would help to alleviate traffic, climate and demographic problems. Read the full article.
Right now federal law incentivizes more driving by giving better benefits to people who drive to work, rather than bike or take public transit. Why are we incentivizing driving? This needs to change!
The Commuter Parity Act and The Bike to Work Act to make bike share memberships eligible for transit benefits and increase the bike benefit to $35 per month.
In January 2014, transit benefits were cut almost in half, from $245 to $130 per month, while parking benefits increased slightly to $250. Meanwhile, the bike benefit stayed at $20 a month.
Click here to learn more and take action with the LAB's handy new tool.
As millennials continue to shun cars, experts say trend should not be dismissed as byproduct of bad economy
This story by Emily Badger for The Washington Post appeared in the October 25 edition of the Hartford Courant, section M page 1.
There’s a lot of evidence that millennials don’t drive as much — or care as much about cars in general — as previous generations their own age did. They’re less likely to get driver’s licenses. They tend to take fewer car trips, and when they do, those trips are shorter. They’re also more likely than older generations to get around by alternative means: by foot, by bike or by transit.
There’s still a lot of dispute, however, over exactly what these trends mean. Are millennial driving habits a byproduct of the weak economy? (If you have no job to go to, chances are you drive less.) Or do they signal deep and permanent shifts in the American relationship to automobiles? If the latter is true, these nascent millennial indicators could have major implications not just for car dealers and gas stations, but for how the U.S. invests in transportation.
Researchers who have been tracking these trends at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and the Frontier Group argue that the case is growing stronger for a major and lasting change in how today’s youngest would-be drivers — and those who follow them — use cars.
Researchers Tony Dutzik, Jeff Inglis and Phineas Baxandall argue that millennials “have the most to gain or lose from the transportation investment decisions we make today, as they will be affected by those investments for decades to come.”
Their report defines millennials as born between 1983 and 2000, the youngest of whom are just on the verge of their first driver’s licenses (should they chose to get them). The case for durable changes in their behavior — beyond the recession — is three-fold.
Read the full story here.
EPA invites communities to apply for technical assistance to implement smart growth development approaches.
EPA is offering this technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program to help communities across the country--including underserved communities, coastal communities, small cities and rural areas--adopt sustainable growth strategies. The program aims to increase resilience to natural disasters and strengthen the economy while protecting human health and the environment. Building Blocks provides quick, targeted technical assistance to communities using tools with demonstrated results and widespread application.
Communities may apply for assistance on one or more of the following topics:
If selected, a community will work with an EPA-supported team of experts during a one-to-two-day workshop, where participants will learn about relevant strategies, policies, and practices.
EPA will select up to 25 communities through a competitive process. [So think big, aim high, and have a rock solid plan!] Selections will be made in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. This interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.
Applications will be accepted between October 23 and November 20, 2014. EPA will host a webinar to discuss the program and the application process on Thursday, October 30, 2014, from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT.
Bike Walk Connecticut happily applauds the leadership of Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker for signing a new “Complete Streets” policy for the DOT. The policy expressly promotes safe access for all users by providing a comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal network of transportation options.
“We are committing ourselves to incorporating the objectives of complete streets in everything we do at the DOT,” said Commissioner Redeker. “As we plan and design new projects and other infrastructure improvements, this commitment will be front and center.”
DOT's policy is intended to:
This policy includes procedures to directly address training for planning and design staff, project development checklists for bicycle and pedestrian design inclusion, more inclusive design guidance, access to public funding, expanded data collection and performance measures for all modes. Through data collection and performance measures the DOT will have the tools to effectively prioritize transportation spending and improve safety outcomes.
“While the signing of this document is an important step for the Department, it is also a continuation of our commitment to Complete Streets,” Redeker said. “Currently, projects originating from our Office of Engineering routinely undergo a comprehensive assessment of bicycle and pedestrian needs and all Bureaus are working to better integrate the needs of all users into their projects and processes.”
The Commissioner noted that Route 44 in East Hartford will undergo a “road diet” in 2015 to provide bike lanes, enhance vehicular safety and efficiency and improve pedestrian and transit accommodation throughout the corridor. The Department is also outfitting 50 train cars with bike racks on the New Haven Line operating between New Haven to New York City. CTfastrak, opening in 2015, is the state’s first fixed bus guide way running from New Britain to Hartford. It will enhance transit options for the capital region and provide a new multi-use trail facility from New Britain to Newington.
In addition, the Watertown Bus Maintenance Facility will include an accommodation for the Naugatuck River Greenway providing riverside non-motorized access to the bus garage and transit stop. The DOT’s encroachment permit review will now include documentation of Complete Streets policy compliance.
Read the DOT Complete Streets Policy Statement.
See our Complete Streets Initiative.
Congratulations to Yale, for earning a Silver Bike Friendly University designation by the League of American Bicyclists. Yale became a Bronze level Bike Friendly University in 2012. Holly Parker and Team, you may take your bow now! Holly is a longtime member of Bike Walk Connecticut.
Yale reports: As interest in carbon neutral transportation in cities grows, Yale is working to become a more bicycle-friendly campus. The University’s recent efforts range from a new bike-share program to increased bike storage.
Elevating Yale’s Bicycle Friendly University status from bronze to silver was a strategy within our 2013-2016 Sustainability Strategic Plan,” said Holly Parker, Director of Sustainable Transportation Systems. “We felt that we had improved our offerings for cyclists by—among many other things—bringing a 50-bicycle Bikeshare to our campus, and increasing bicycle parking capacity.” Read Yale's announcement here.
Connecticut now has 4 Bicycle Friendly communities, 6 Bicycle Friendly Businesses, and 1 Bicycle Friendly University.
League of American Bicyclists full listings: BFUs BFCs BFBs
Bike Walk CT isn't the only group trying to get out the vote. WABA members are so into it they even had their own t-shirts made.
We'd love to get your name on the Bike Walk Vote pledge list and see why biking and walking is important to you. If we get enough responses, we'll make them available to candidates. But we need a few more people to sign on than the 14 we have now!
The pledge is still available at our BikeWalkVoteCT page. Add your name now!
PS: If you tried before, sorry, Google forms kept being ornery. We moved the form to our own web page now.
The passage of the Vulnerable User bill continues to get press coverage since the law took effect on October 1, 2014. Bike Walk CT and its members endorsed the VU bill far more assertively this year to ensure its passage after being raised for the previous four years. Thank you to all those media outlets that have been bringing the new law to the attention of the public.
For those who want to geek out on how state DOT design manuals can affect
bike- and ped-friendly streets, SSTI will hold a webinar on Tuesday Ocotber 21 featuring two people that helped "rewrite the book" in New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Tuesday, October 21, 2 pm Eastern
Rewriting the book: Context sensitivity design in roadway design and
Eight years ago, both Massachusetts and New Jersey rewrote the book.
Massachusetts entirely rewrote its design manual to incorporate a
multi-modal, context sensitive approach to roadway design and project
development . New Jersey joined Pennsylvania in writing an overlay to their
manual interpreting standards in a context sensitive way. Both efforts
changed the states? approach to design and project development.
Our two webinar speakers worked for MassDOT and NJDOT and led the efforts
in these two states. We wondered: Has anything changed? What was the
process for the rewrite and how did they overcome resistance from internal
DOT staff, politicians, and the public? What would they do different today,
and what are the lessons learned? And is there more to do to design roads
for the 21st Century?
Join Luisa Paiewonsky, Safety and Operations Program Manager at Volpe
National Transportation Systems Center, and Gary Toth, Senior Director,
Transportation Initiatives at Project for Public Spaces to hear their
perspectives on rewriting the book and new standards for design.
More information and registration here:
Send us your bike walk related news and time permitting, we'll do our best to post it.