Residents in Canton will vote on funding streetscape improvements during a special town meeting on October 9.
The meeting will decide if the Town of Canton will appropriate $40,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance for the purpose of designing public improvements to Collinsville and accept a Connecticut Main Street Investment Fund Grant in the amount of $387,000 for the purpose of funding some of the public improvements. The grant money will be used for sidewalk improvements, wayfinding signs, tress, pedestrian lights, crosswalks and other improvements.
The meeting will take place at the Canton Public Library & Community Center, 40 Dyer Ave., Canton, CT in Room F.
Yale Daily News reports students walking around campus in New Haven were greeted this week by bright orange warning messages spray-painted on the sidewalk at the intersection of Elm and High streets.
These messages had slogans such as "Don't read this. Look up!" or "Look both ways before crossing."
The warning messages on sidewalks and intersections throughout the Yale campus is part of the Pedestrian Safety Campaign that was launched by the Yale Traffic Safety Committee. The Committee collaborated with the university and the City of New Haven to improve pedestrian safety on the campus. Posters and spray painted sidewalks can be found at six major intersections on campus —Elm and High, Chapel and York, Elm and College, Elm and York, Wall and Temple and Chapel and College.
The Committee says the safety campaign was developed to remind pedestrians to stop and look before crossing the street. According to a brochure from the Yale Traffic Safety Committee, every year approximately 100 New Haven citizens are sent to the Emergency Room after getting hit by a car when crossing the street. The Committee states, " We know that a combination of three factors ‐ pedestrian behavior, driver behavior and the way the street is configured ‐ play a role in these pedestrian‐motor
vehicle crashes. As we work with the city, and motorist to make our
streets safer, we hope that all of us pedestrians can take a small step to
affect a big change.
Click here for more information.
International Walk to School Day is less than a month away!
The global event involves communities from more than 40 countries that all walk and bike to school on the same day. This year Walk to School Day is October 9.
So why walk to school? For one, it's fun! It also teaches your children healthier habits and gets both you and them involved in physical activity. By walking you can promote a cleaner environment. Replacing car trips to school with walking or bicycling can reduce congestion and air-polluting emissions. It also promotes safety. Building sidewalks, providing education programs and adding traffic calming measures are some of the ways to improve safety. Encouraging walking and bicycling to school can help build support for infrastructure improvements in the broader community. And finally, the community overall benefits from it! Walking and cycling to school reduces traffic congestion, boosts a sense of community and improves neighborhood connections.
Learn more about Walk to School Day here.
A new report produced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that pedestrian deaths increased by 3% from 2010 to 2011, making up 14% of all traffic fatalities.
The report shows that 73% of pedestrian fatalities occurred in an urban setting versus a rural setting. Over two-thirds (70%) of pedestrian fatalities occurred at non-intersections versus at intersections. Eighty-eight percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather conditions compared to rain, snow and foggy conditions. A majority of the pedestrian fatalities, 70 percent, occurred during the nighttime (6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m). Between 2010 and 2011 all these percentages stayed relatively level.
Connecticut's rate is slightly better than the national average, at 11.8%. But still, that's 11.8% too high.
The NHSTA report shows 220 traffic fatalities in Connecticut in 2011, with 26 of them being pedestrians.
For more information, see NHTSA's 2011 Traffic Data Fact Sheet and Everyone's A Pedestrian, the federal government's new a one-stop shop for safety tips and resources for local leaders, city planners, parents and others involved in improving pedestrian safety.
NHTSA's Important Safety Reminders
— NHTSA’s Safety Countermeasures Division
Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced on August 1 that 17 small towns throughout Connecticut are being awarded grants under the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) to be utilized for certain capital improvement projects, such as road maintenance, public works upgrades, public safety improvements and other municipal service projects.
The towns to receive the grants include: Bethel, Canaan, Canterbury, Clinton, Colebrook, Darien, Deep River, Ellington, Glastonbury, Litchfield, Montville, North Canaan, Salisbury, Seymour, Sherman, Wallingford and Westbrook.
“STEAP grants give us the opportunity to invest in quality of life improvements in small towns across our state. Projects like road and bridge enhancements and improvements to public spaces and historic places make our small towns better places to live and work,” Governor Malloy said. “These STEAP grants will assist small towns in completing important capital projects that otherwise may never get financed.”
This set of grants are the second round this year of STEAP grants, a previous round of grants was announced in July.
The grant highlights that include funds for safer walking and cycling include:
Bethel will receive $250,000 for a sidewalk project that includes the replacement of stairs at several entrances to the CJ Hurgin Municipal Center and sidewalk replacement/construction in three locations: the Municipal Center; the intersection of Main Street, Maple Avenue and Chestnut Street; and the Bethel Police Department.
Clinton will receive $500,000 for streetscape improvements including sidewalks, signage, lighting, landscaping for the downtown business district area and the burial of some utility lines. The project will benefit 25 local businesses by making the area, which has not been upgraded in three decades, more attractive and pedestrian friendly.
Deep River will receive $400,000 for improvements to Plattwood Park, the town’s major recreation center. The project includes an ADA-compliant pavilion, bathrooms and associated facilities; ADA-compliant recreation areas for the handicapped; sports fields and a walking trail.
Glastonbury will receive $250,000 for public access and parking to four open space parcels (the former Arbor Acres, Grayledge, Longo Farm and Slocumb properties) that were recently acquired by the town. The project provides greater access for passive recreation including hiking, walking and cross-country skiing, and expands the inventory of trails available for public use. Two additional parking and access points will be added to the Shenipsit Trail; public access points will be added to the Flat Brook Open Space Acquisition (part of the Arbor Acres parcel), which was acquired with state assistance; and access will be provided to the state-stocked Roaring Brook for fishing. The project supports and furthers several of the priorities identified in the State Conservation and Development Plan.
Montville will receive $250,000 for sidewalks along Chesterfield Road. The project will include a new sidewalk and amenities to provide safe pedestrian connections between Montville High School and Leonard J. Tyl Middle School. In addition, the project will provide connections by crosswalks and trails to the Fair Oaks Community Center and the Montville Conservation Center.
Seymour will receive $168,000 for phase III of the town sidewalk replacement for various town roads to improve pedestrian safety.
Wallingford will receive $181,000 for the design and construction of roadway and parking improvements to Veterans Memorial Park. The project will reconfigure the roadway and create additional parking while improving vehicular and pedestrian safety. The project also includes related site work and landscaping.
Westbrook will receive $500,000 for phase II of the Town Center Enhancement Project, which includes the design and construction of a municipal parking lot and relocating Knothe Road. This is the final phase of the project and is a part of a comprehensive plan to enhance the economic and social value of the town center by creating a compact, walkable, transit-oriented village center. The phase II improvements will enable implementation of shared parking to the rear of existing buildings to more effectively serve local businesses, improve overall circulation within the town center and create development opportunities through efficiencies gained by reconfigured, multi-use parking.
You win some, you lose some.
Many thanks to all of you who participated in the democratic process this spring to try to get the Vulnerable User bill (SB 191) passed. Despite passing unanimously in the Senate, the House again failed to bring the bill to vote.
Bike Walk Connecticut testified on a number of cycling and pedestrian-related bills during this year's legislative session. Wins in our column include the defeat of two bills that would have required single file riding for cyclists (SB 103 and HB 5246).
We supported the Comprehensive Energy Strategy Bill (HB 6360) for its inclusion of a transportation section that addressed bikeable, walkable communities and transit-oriented development.
We also supported distracted driving enforcement bills, one of which passed (HB 6033). That bill, enacted as Public Act No. 13-271, increases the fines for violating the ban on driving while operating a cell phone, texting, or engaging in any activity that interferes with a vehicle's safe operation. Fines are now $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $500 for third and subsequent offenses.
Additionally, Public Act 13-271 makes those violations part of the driver's motor vehicle record and be available to insurers. The new law also requires the DMV commissioner to assess at least one point on the record of a driver who violates the law banning drivers from using a cell phone, texting, or engaging in any activity that interferes with a vehicle's safe operation.
Finally, the new law creates a task force to: evaluate the effectiveness of existing distracted driving laws; examine their enforcement; and make recommendations, including legislation, to prevent distracted driving in the state. The task force must report to the Transportation Committee by January 1, 2014 and terminates when it submits its report.
For the full list of bills on Bike Walk Connecticut's watchlist, see www.bikewalkct.org/advocacy or click here.
"We understand the conditions that lead to pedestrian deaths, and we have proven tools to prevent these tragedies. It's time to put these tools to use. We must redesign Connecticut's roads and enhance traffic enforcement to make our roads safe for everyone."
So writes Amy Schwartz, a primary care physician at VA Connecticut Healthcare System and a member of Elm City Cycling in a recent op-ed in the CT Post.
Schwartz calls for Governor Malloy to direct the Connecticut Department of Transportation to redesign the outdated Connecticut Highway Design Manual, the standard reference book used by the state's road designers and engineers, to include information about designing streets that are safe for all users.
"Speed and red light cameras can enforce traffic laws by recording vehicles that exceed the speed limit or fail to stop at red lights," continues Schwartz, who adds that "Connecticut should also pass a vulnerable-users bill to increase penalties for careless drivers who injure or kill pedestrians, cyclists or highway workers."
> Read the full CT Post op-ed from Amy Schwartz, a primary care physician at VA Connecticut Healthcare System and a member of Elm City Cycling.
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