On Saturday, December 3rd we gathered in historic Pope Park to celebrate Hartford’s recognition as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. The location of the celebration was intentional. Colonel Albert Pope, the Columbia Bicycle Company, the late 19th century bicycle boom, the League of American Wheelmen, the Good Roads Movement, and the City of Hartford are closely connected in active transportation history. Bringing that history into view is important as we continue toward a future of sustainable, healthy, and safe transportation in our city.
As we look to the future, Hartford’s residents need to stay involved in the public comment session for upcoming street projects. The biggest is the I-84 Redesign, which has the potential to stitch Hartford’s neighborhoods back together and incorporate our city’s shared vision of safe and complete streets. In the more near term, we have a CT DOT project to redesign the intersection of Albany Avenue and Main Street. There is a public comment session that was shared at the last minute on Tuesday, December 6th, but you can still weigh in via email to Jim Ford at Hartford’s Department of Public Works (Jim.Ford@hartford.gov). Electronic comments will be accepted up to December 20th.
The concern is that the CT DOT plan doesn’t take into account non-motorized users at this intersection. The planning and zoning bicycle route map (pg 248) includes a north-south connection on Main Street. With 21% of Hartford households lacking access to cars for transportation and high use of walking for transportation (8.2% of work trips), the lack of Complete Streets is a clear oversight. Albany Avenue (Rt 44) has one of the highest bicycle and pedestrian crash rates in the state. This intersection is an important connection for development of Downtown North and between the Clay Arsenal neighborhood and Downtown. The concept shown is optimized for cars (most of them suburban commuters), speed, and flow – not safety and neighborhood development. As Hartford residents and regional active transportation advocates you have an opportunity to comment on the design and let the CT DOT know what is important to you (Jim.Ford@hartford.gov).
Hartford will be in the cross hairs of the national bicycle racing world during the first week of January. Hartford’s beautiful Riverside Park will be hosting the Cyclocross National Championships. BiCi Co. will be open for DIY repair for the week of races and will be scheduling evening events at 95 Park Street. Right now, our friends at CCAP are looking for an army of volunteers to help during the week and over the weekend of races. Check it out, spread the word, and sign up to volunteer! More cowbell!