CT Elected Officials, Advocates: Stimulus $$ Should Go to Bike, Pedestrian, Transit Projects

At a press conference held at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford last week, Tri-State joined the chairmen of the Joint Committee on Transportation, State Rep. Tony Guerrera and Sen. Donald DeFronzo, Reps. Thomas Kehoe, David McCluskey and Russ Morin, and other transportation and children’s health advocates to call on Connecticut, municipal planning organizations, and localities to dedicate federal stimulus money to shovel-ready bike, pedestrian and transit access projects.

When New Haven repaved Orange Street in 2003, it added bike lanes to the road.

When New Haven repaved Orange Street in 2003, it added bike lanes to the road. Other municipalities should follow its example.

Less than 1% of Connecticut’s state transportation dollars are dedicated to bike and pedestrian projects, even though 12% of all trips in Connecticut are taken by bicycle or by walking. However, ConnDOT leadership now says the state needs a more multi-modal approach to transportation policy. The stimulus would let ConnDOT and municipalities make good on this by investing in bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

During the press conference, Tri-State’s Ryan Lynch urged municipalities to include bike lanes and crosswalks when re-striping or paving roads, noting that 35 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in Connecticut in 2007.  These simple efforts would go a long way towards preventing more unnecessary deaths.

Chairman Guerrera urged citizens to contact elected officials and let them know that there is ample support for these types of projects.  The state legislature’s Transportation Committee is currently considering “Safe Routes to Transit” and “Complete Streets” legislation.  The first bill would require ConnDOT to use a certain percentage of state highway funds and funds from the stimulus bill to improve pedestrian access to transit. The second bill would require new and rebuilt roads to accommodate all users.

In addition, the Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance will be hosting its annual Legislative luncheon on February 11 at 3 pm in the Capitol Building, Room 310, in Hartford.  CCBA will announce its legislative priorities, which are expected to include Complete Streets legislation and Safe Routes to Transit, Safe Routes to School, and Safe Routes for Seniors programs.

Image: Google Street View.

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