Monday, January 20, 2014

Bicycle rights!

As you know, in violation of a hearing officer's order, the DOT decided to close Flower Street in Hartford to all users of the street. This severed the only safe bicycle & pedestrian route between Asylum Hill and Frog Hollow. Not one to take this lying down, Chris Brown filed a writ of mandamus against the Commission of the DOT to order compliance with the hearing officer's order to keep the road open and in the road's stead, construct a bridge. The hearing is tomorrow and is open to the public if you are interested. See a press release below:


Side Street takes center stage: Commissioner Redeker and ConnDOT personnel to testify in Flower Street Hearing this Tuesday, Jan 21, 2014 CT Superior Court 95 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 10:00 AM

Christopher Brown v. James Redeker


Frog Hollow resident and cycling advocate Christopher Brown will be in Connecticut Superior Court this Tuesday, January 21 asking that the Connecticut Department of Transportation be ordered to reopen Hartford's Flower Street and begin construction of a bridge as per an administrative law judge's orders from 2013. Brown and his attorney Ken Krayeske announced their filing of a mandamus lawsuit on behalf of the neighborhood street in November 2013.* Brown will be taking the witness stand, as will DOT Commissioner James Redeker, and additional DOT personnel.

Since August 2012, Hartford residents have been arguing with ConnDOT regarding the unnecessary closure of Flower Street to accommodate their controversial CTfastrak project. This quiet side street provided pedestrians and bicyclists safe, direct passage between the Asylum Hill and Frog Hollow neighborhoods. Flower Street was an economic lifeline for area businesses and a safe haven for bicyclists from life-threatening conditions on nearby Broad Street. When ConnDOT closed Flower Street to vehicular traffic, businesses along Capitol Avenue suffered and/or closed and bicyclists were forced to choose between dangerous intersections and perilous interstate access ramps or extended detours of a mile or more.

Brown, a League of American Bicyclists' certified bike instructor, has been advocating for Flower Street area stakeholders since ConnDOT announced the proposed closing to neighborhood residents in the summer of 2012. “Flower Street was a vital route for bicyclists and pedestrians. Its loss puts our streets' most vulnerable users directly in harm's way.” Brown said.

*On Veteran's Day November 11, 2013, the Connecticut Department of Transportation permanently closed Flower Street to pedestrians and cyclists, violating legal decisions ruling the road must remain open unless a bridge is constructed at the crossing. ConnDOT's unlawful action left no option other than litigation, Brown said.

Ed. note: I bet this is the first bicycle-related mandamus ever filed. 2nd Ed. Note: I am wrong, there's 341 N.J.Super. 77 & 659 N.Y.S.2d 388. 

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