Monday, October 20, 2014

Momentum is a Terrible Thing to Waste

The title of this post is borrowed from David Ringquist, the former President of the Central Connecticut Bicycle Alliance.  CCBA was the precursor of Bike Walk Connecticut.  If not mistaken, I'm seeing momentum building in Hartford for change in how we get from point A to B.  The "Powers that Be" are recognizing options aside from single occupancy car trips and promoting those options, sometimes even favoring those options.  The "Powers that Be" aren't doing this without prodding, external and internal.  Bike Walk CT is chasing the statewide policy.  Transport Hartford recently formed to push our urban bike, walk, and bus transit needs.  West Hartford even has a group of commuting and recreational cyclists that are tired of their precarious positions in our lopsided transportation system.

Riding around yesterday doing errands, I came across several signs that Hartford, and our surrounding burbs are starting to do something, anything, for non-car travel modes.  While riding up Capitol Avenue entering Hartford, the road name changes to Boulevard.  Right across the line in West Hartford there is a "3 FEET MINIMUM" sign, literally a sign of the changing times.  This references the three foot law that was passed way back in 2008.  Finally seeing signage and on-the-street education about the law was refreshing.  Not something one would expect to see in West Hartford.  I'm guessing it was the result of their local bicycle advocacy group, Bike West Hartford, that is pushing for safer riding.  As a Hartford resident, I'd like to see this sign repeated on popular bike routes in our city - particularly on streets heavily trafficked by suburban drivers entering and leaving the city.
Jealousy inducing sign.  Just across the line in West Hartford.
 My errand of the afternoon was to pick up a touring bicycle at REI to replace a recently retired rig.  The previous bike had a broken fork after 10 years of hard use.  No need for a car for this trip.  Easier to strap the bike to the top of my trailer than stuff it in a car trunk anyways, and much more respect from neighborhood folks that I rode past.  When you trailer something, it's a social experience with verbal communication and waves at those you pass.  A very different experience from putting something in your car trunk, turning on the radio, and tuning out.  Roll those windows up, and turn on the climate control - community and climate change be damned.
This is how Tony C picks up a new touring bike.  No car needed.
On my trip back home, I had to stop and admire the alien green painted bike lanes on Broad Street.  I was doubtful that this would ever be completed.  I'm curious how cyclists that regularly use Broad Street find these lanes?  Also interested if anyone that didn't previously use Broad, is comfortable using it now.  I like that the painted color carries across intersections.  This project included "Bike Boxes", which I'm not sure anybody in Hartford knows how to use.  If you're curious about the intended use, you could watch a video here.  Other cities accompanied their new bike infrastructure with some publicity and outreach.  I don't recall seeing any publicity and outreach from the City of Hartford.  That said, I'm still a fan of the improving infrastructure that doesn't solely focus on car traffic.
A radiant green bike lane on Broad Street.  I like it.
Let's keep this momentum rolling.  Get involved with Transport Hartford and engaged in bike, walk, and transit discussions.  They chat quite a bit on Facebook.  You should also get on the email list.

4 comments:

Dario D. said...

I'm going to go up to Broad St. and "inhabit" the alien green strip for a few minutes and revel in the glory of progress!''

-- dario

Tony C said...

It's a very short segment of progress, and I'm hoping it leads to much more.

I'd like to invite others to visit Hartford and give it a spin. You'll note that it's right next door to our state's legislative offices, which is intended to entice those state representatives desirous of similar facilities in their district to pester the CT DOT and their municipal public works departments.

Tony C said...

And Dario - I went bike camping with a fellow that seems to be a young Dario doppelganger. His name is Eric and he just moved here with his wife from Seattle. You'll meet him soon I'm sure. He likes riding around on all sorts of road or trail surface.

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