35 Bike/Ped Accidents Since 2009, Claiming 6 Lives
East Hartford (August 4, 2015) - At the urging of advocates and after three years of planning and feasibility analysis, construction on Connecticut's first ever "road diet" has started on Burnside Avenue in East Hartford. Construction began on July 27 with completion scheduled for July 2016.
At a press conference today, Governor Malloy, DOT Commissioner Jim Redeker and East Hartford Mayor Marcia LeClerc touted the project as a much-needed safety measure, and the first of more road diets to come. Redeker cited the project as an example of DOT's transition to a complete streets philosophy.
The four-lane section of Route 44 on Burnside Avenue has been no friend to pedestrians cyclists over the years, with 35 bike and pedestrian accidents since 2009, claiming six lives. Generally, four-lane, relatively wide roadways encourage drivers to speed up, and high speed accidents are more likely to result in significant injuries or death.
To make Burnside Avenue safer for pedestrians and cyclists, the road diet project will convert the existing four lane road to a two lane road with two 5 ft. bike lanes and two 7 ft. shoulders-- wide enough to preserve on-street parking. The road diet will cover the 2.76-mile stretch of Burnside Avenue between Main Street and Mary Street.
According to East Hartford's Plan of Conservation and Development, the road diet will improve connectivity to other paths for bicyclists including streets with wide shoulders (e.g. Mary Street) and trails such as the Charter Oak Greenway.
Planning for the road diet started in 2012 and included public meetings for DOT to share design concepts and hear from interested individuals. Construction was initially targeted for spring 2015 depending on funding availability. Ninety percent of the project is financed with federal funding, with the remaining 10% coming from the state.
More information at: DOT - Summary, Fact Sheet; East Hartford POCD; TSTC: “Groundbreaking” ConnDOT Road Diet Must Be First of Many.
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