Yesterday, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that the City of Bridgeport would receive $1.6 million in federal funds for bike projects, allowing the area to move forward with plans for a bike share system and extend a multi-use trail into downtown.
While few details on the bike share have emerged—station locations and a vendor have not been publicly named—the Connecticut Post has reported that a system could be running by next summer. Although Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare and New York’s Citi Bike dominate the national conversation about bike share, smaller municipalities across the region have embraced the technology as a way to revitalize their communities and expand transportation options for their residents.
A significant portion of the funding awarded to Bridgeport will be used to extend a multi-use trail from Beardsley Park to downtown, providing a safe route into the heart of the city.
The bike share and cycling network improvements are just the latest steps in Bridgeport’s journey towards becoming a regional leader in sustainable transportation and development. Under Mayor Bill Finch (and new Office of Planning and Economic Development Director David Kooris), the city has pursued an ambitious agenda that seeks to lessen its environmental impact and improve quality of life—it’s no surprise that cyclist and pedestrian improvements have been integral to this effort.
In a statement released yesterday [pdf], Tri-State Transportation Campaign also praised the Connecticut Department of Transportation for prioritizing the projects. The federal funds come from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), and the Campaign has long called for the state to direct more of its CMAQ funds towards bicycle and pedestrian projects.