Some good news for bicycle and livable community advocates has been coming out of Connecticut over the past few weeks:
- Thanks to the efforts of the Fairfield Bike-Walk Coalition, the Town of Fairfield will be getting its first bike route;
- The first development project in New Haven’s “Downtown Crossing” initiative-after substantial community advocacy and a directive from the New Haven Board of Alders-will be getting more pedestrian friendly;
- The Town of South Windsor recently became the state’s second ‘Bicycle Friendly Community’, a designation the Hartford Courant editorial board called “…good for property values and economic development,” and;
- Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty will speak about how bicycling and walking can reduce dependency on oil at BikeWalk Connecticut’s annual dinner on November 29th.
Not to be outdone, New Haven’s livable streets advocates are once again finding innovative ways to promote cycling and more livable communities in their city. Elm City Cycling (ECC) has recently partnered with SeeClickFix in an effort to implement the City’s first on-street bike corral. SeeClickFix (SCF), the popular crowd-sourcing tool, helps empower citizens to more fully participate in their communities by allowing them to identify issues of concern for elected and agency officials. The new partnership between ECC and SCF, however, will not only be used to crowd-source but will also test out the potential for “crowd-funding” small public works projects. ECC’s goal is to raise the estimated $4,200 that it will take to purchase, deliver and install a one car-parking space bike corral. Bike corrals benefit businesses with increased bike parking, benefit cyclists and pedestrians with traffic calming measures and benefit motorists with increased visibility at intersections. ECC is hoping the tool will highlight the popularity of bike corrals and serve as an impetus for New Haven to provide similar infrastructure improvements throughout the city.
Cities and towns, like New Haven, Fairfield and South Windsor, however, need increased and reliable financial support to make more of these infrastructure improvements a reality. With a disappointing MAP-21 federal transportation bill that reduced bicycle and pedestrian funding, Connecticut’s elected officials and ConnDOT leadership will have to do even more with less to ensure that the demand for these types of improvements are met.