This letter to the editor appears in the Hartford Courant at http://cour.at/1EkCa9x
Because so much of Metro Hartford -- where 81 percent of commuters drive alone -- is so car-oriented, getting to a bus rapid transit station any other way can be a challenge [Aug. 23, Connecticut, "Parking Near CTfastrak Stations Becoming Scarce"].
We've made driving a habit, even when we're not going that far. About half of the trips made in U.S. metro areas are under three miles -- a distance easily covered by bicycle. A quarter of trips are under one mile -- easy enough for most to cover on foot. But because so many streets in so many communities don't safely accommodate these "alternative" modes, 72 percent of trips under three miles are made by car.
If CTfastrak ridership is going to continue to grow, then the Department of Transportation, regional planners and towns must coordinate to make it easier to walk or bike to transit stations. One way to do this is to build housing and commercial space near the busway. Another is making stronger pedestrian and bicycle connections between the stations and the neighborhoods they already serve.
Make room for a few more cars at busway stations, and we'll see the same headline soon after. Make it safer and more convenient to walk or bike to CTfastrak, and soon the headlines will read "Bicycle Parking Near CTfastrak Stations Becoming Scarce."
Joseph Cutrufo, New York; and Kelly Kennedy, West Hartford
The writers are the Connecticut coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and the executive director of Bike Walk Connecticut, respectively.
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