Transcript of "Cycling and walking in downtown hartford your opinion"
Your Opinion, Please! Bike Walk Connecticut’s September 24 news post noted that an upcoming edition of WNPRs Where We Live was scheduled to feature a discussion of Hartfords iQuilt project and making the city more bike- and walk-friendly. We asked you to tell us: whats working for pedestrians and cyclists in Hartford?Whats not? What small changes would make a big difference? Thanks to all of you who responded!Twenty percent of respondents said they were not very familiar with iQuilt; 27 percent said they weresomewhat familiar with iQuilt; and 34 percent of respondents said they were very familiar with iQuilt.Nineteen percent of respondents did not answer that question.Here’s what else you had to say, below.Learn more: iQuilt Plan iQuilt pocket guide Hartfords Intermodal Triangle ProjectWhat’s working for cyclists and pedestrians in downtown Hartford? 1. -ECG through Bushnell Park. This is what a greenway should be. Its scenic and connects Downtown with the neighborhoods. 2. -the addition of bike racks recently. 3. Timed "count down" on walk for traffic signals work well at most downtown intersections. 4. Mostly wide sidewalks and crosswalks that work. The bike racks were finally installed after a five year wait. Downtown Hartford is small. You can ride a bike on every bridge that goes to East Hartford. 5. Im confused. Are cyclists and pedestrians in the same group? That is not how our statutes treat them. Are all cyclists the same in terms of understanding how to ride a bike? In terms of interpreting our traffic rules and statutes? 6. Riverfront trail is great, if only it extended all the way to the Bissell Bridge. 7. Some bike culture being developed by Bike Walk CT. Bike Rack deployment. 8. Greater visibility and more cyclists. 9. Bike racks on buses 10. Its compact and accessible. Bushnell Park (which includes the East Coast Greenway) and Riverfront Plaza are lovely. Trumbull Street and most side streets are reasonably calm and easy to navigate despite the lack of bike lanes. 11. There is an increasing number of people biking to work. 12. Would be nice to have a secure all-day bike parking area for those of us who cycle commute. Be a great use for that bunker of a building called XL center. 13. More bike racks. 14. NOT MUCH is working for cyclists. 15. Most sidewalks are in decent shape and generally unobstructed. There is now bike parking everywhere. Downtown feels VERY safe for pedestrians these days. 16. Walking around downtown generally works fine. Cycling is more of a challenge. Bike Walk Connecticut PO Box 270149, West Hartford, CT 06127-0149 | 860.904.2420 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.bikewalkct.org
17. Bike lanes on some roads. I used Capital Ave and West Blvd 18. Frankly I avoid cycling downtown except for occasional weekends. I also hold cyclists responsible for many accidents and near misses. It is up to the cyclist to operate DEFENSIVELY; the object is to be safe-not just right. 19. The rare places where two lanes in one direction are replaced by one lane and a bike lane. 20. 1) The new bike racks are a great (and long overdue) part of the downtown Hartford landscape. 2) The addition of bike lanes to "easy" streets that are resurfaced is welcome (example - streets in the South Meadows industrial district). 21. bike to work promotion 22. Bike racks on most buses (but not my wiilimantic commuter route) 23. Marked bicycle lanes. They at least let motorists know they must share the road. 24. Bushnell Park and Riverfront park are downtown Hartfords biggest attractions for bicyclists 25. Relatively uncongested; more managable sense of scale. Architectural variability and historical presence. Healthy mixture of public and private space. Bushnell Park. 26. More awareness of issues facing cyclists and pedestrians.What’s not working for cyclists and pedestrians in downtown Hartford? 1. "-the b.s. push by the iQuilt to add the ECG outside of Bushnell Park. Do they even have the power to do this? There is no reason for it and the money they are wasted could be spent on better things... 2. -the lack of bike lanes on Main Street (put that TIGE" 3. Crossing Central Row from the Old State House at Prospect Street is a pedestrian nightmare, especially at rush hour! 4. You could say there are no bike lanes downtown, but downtown is so small that a trip in downtown Hartford lasts for like 45 seconds. 5. Waiting for "magic paint" to protect us and think for us. It could be a LONG wait. It will be expensive. It will be a regressive approach, and inhibit the enlightenment and general understanding that streets are for people. 6. "motorists who flout red lights and other traffic controls 7. the following is not unique to Htfd: cyclists often do not help our cause by ignoring traffic rules. if we want motorists to respect us, we need to respect them. that means we too need to stop at lights and otherwise yield the right of way." 8. The city has no master plan that makes it feel cycle and ped friendly. The IQuilt addresses cycling as a second hand topic. 9. Places where you connect bike-able areas need to be connected with safer bike-able access. For example, coming of the bike path over the Bissel bridge, then connecting through Kinney Park is plan dangerous, especially during rush hour. 10. Drivers who ignore red lights and cyclists/pedestrians. Is saving 5 min really more valuable than a persons life? Extraordinarily dangerous intersections. 11. Lack of bike lanes to get you downtown 12. This time of year the 3 feet inside the curbs accumulates significant debris. 13. Main Street is terrible. Asylum Street west of High Street is terrible, trending to nightmarish west of the railroad bridge. The approach to the bike/ped path on the Bulkely Bridge is dangerous. Riding from Columbus Blvd toward the Old State House is intimidating. 14. there are some bike lanes but we need more. also some bike only paths would be great. Bike Walk Connecticut PO Box 270149, West Hartford, CT 06127-0149 | 860.904.2420 | email@example.com | www.bikewalkct.org
15. I see "people on bikes" (not "cyclists") who dont obey traffic rules: weave between lanes, run red lights, ride against traffic. No easy solution, but they sully the reputation for those of us trying to elevate our status as vehicles safely sharing the road.16. Asylum and Farmington Ave intersection. General disorganization of the entire cycling infrastructure. Bike lanes just pointlessly end. Drivers seem indifferent to the safety of cyclists, and occasionally aggresive even if the cyclist is only maintaining their rights to ride appropriately in the road. Those iQuilt wayfinding signs on the lights at corners are so small theyre useless to cyclists riding by (only good if you stand right next to them.17. I rode my bike to work and back in May for Bike to Work day. Manchester to Asylum Hill. Getting from Constitution Plaza up to Aetna was NOT pleasant! The only road routes are Asylum St. (a cyclist could easily be killed trying to navigate that traffic mess) or Capitol Ave. Traffic and buses, no breakdown lanes, very dangerous. I chose to cut through Bushnell Park, which required riding sidewalks, getting off my bike and crossing a section where the sidewalk had washed away, that pedistrian bridge behind the LOB, dumping me out into the LOB driveway ... cyclists are definitely 2nd or 3rd class citizens in Hartford! Not a thought given to our safety.18. Bike paths that are piecemeal i.e. start and stop. Better signs about the East Coast Greenway that comes through Hartford.19. Pedestrian crossings are terrible. Worst is the crossing at Asylum Street and Union Place, which the police disable during certain events at the Civic Center and almost no drivers yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians need to press for a walk signal, should be given automatically when the traffic is flowing in the direction of crossing. Waiting for walk signals in Hartford can double your travelling time. Many streets feel very unsafe for bicycles.20. There really isnt space on downtown streets and many major arteries for cyclists. Some drivers are aggressive and openly hostile to cyclists.21. "Lanes and paths not well connected.22. Roads especial shoulders in bad condition23. Lights are poorly timely."24. I call it "urban driving". There is a culture of not automatically yielding to vulnerable pedestrians.25. Competing for travel lanes with bus and car traffic that stops/starts, swerves in and out, forcing me into harms way. Vehicles taking right turn on red (allowed or not) directly into my path.26. Whats missing is bike infrastructure leadership in the hard spots. For example - Farmington Ave could have been redesigned as a complete street. Instead, it will remain a total mess for all road users.27. Traffic with lack of bike lanes28. Dangerous for bikes. No protected bike lanes. Motorists do not believe they must share the road.29. Getting to either Bushnell Park or Riverfront Park on a bike can be daunting for newer cyclists or those with children30. Too much dead and fragmented space that makes walking and, to a lesser extent, biking, feel unsafe. Not enough pedestrian and retail traffic. Too many buildings have a barricaded, fortress-like relation to the street. Hostile traffic. Lack of trees and plantsscapes along Asylum and Pearl Streets between Main and Union Station attenuate a sense of desolation and physical discomfort.31. A good way out of town to the northwest.32. This is an on going problem. No bells or horns on bikes to toot or ring when they approach us walkers. When I was walking to envisionfest yesterday I almost was hit two or three time. You bet I yelled at all cyclists who came up behind me. Get all bikes off the sidewalks. If you want to go by wheels get in the road. Bike Walk Connecticut PO Box 270149, West Hartford, CT 06127-0149 | 860.904.2420 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.bikewalkct.org
What small changes would make a big, positive difference? 1. Everything that is not working could be dealt with through small changes. Telling the police to earn their paychecks is a start, since they are already supposed to be enforcing traffic laws...this just takes political will to do, no money. 2. Cleaning the horribly dirty bridges to get across the CT River. The stair/ramp bridge near the boat house and the bridge near the Colt Building. Glass, sand, litter awful. 3. Official authorization for cyclists to use Constitution Plaza, including the approach ramps. 4. Bike lanes that come all the way into downtown. They all stop on the periphery. 5. Understandings: that streets are for people; that speed = recklessness (it is not a "right"); that segregation diminishes and impedes civility on our streets; 6. An education program to teach residents how to use the crosswalks, and drivers how to respect pedestrians and cyclists. Teach cyclists what side of the street to ride on, etc. 7. A small narrowing of the road width marking and adding a small shoulder for biking. A a bike path symbol would be nice, at least the vehicle drivers would be aware they are sharing. 8. Marked bike paths. 9. Remove "pinch points" on rural highways. These are places where the road shoulders on which cyclists ride suddenly disappear, forcing the cyclists, often unexpectedly, into the car lanes. 10. Bike lanes to get you downtown 11. Cleaning and repairing holes in this 3 - foot strip of the roads would help appreciably. 12. More/better bike parking racks, especially at the Hartford Public Library, where some were removed and others have fallen into disrepair. 13. more lanes, markings and signs. maybe more one-way streets? 14. Clean up Homestead Ave. Engage citizens in civic pride to reduce garbage, untrimmed green spaces and broken glass. 15. Extend the Capitol Ave bike lane at least to the Capitol, or prefereably to Main St. The shoulders are wide enough, and as is navigating past highway off ramps to get to the bike lane is dangerous. 16. Breakdown lanes for us to ride in without fear of being crushed by cars and buses. 17. Have the signs with maps oriented the way the pedestrian sees the area. The one at the southwest corner of Main and Pearl doesnt not so the pedestrian has to read it upside down. Also allow spontaneous use of Bushnell Park for games. Adapt the park to fit the users interests not prohibit use to protect the grass!! How unprogressive this is but typical of Hartfords attitude. 18. Giving pedestrian walk lights with traffic: When the east/west vehicles get a green light, the east/west pedestrian crossings should get a walk light (excepting turn arrows) like they do in almost every other city in the world. Forcing pedestrians to wait through a full cycle discourages safe crossing. 19. Public bike racks would be great. 20. Improved paving, more lanes and bike paths. 21. Signs that instruct motorists to yield to cyclists and pedestrians. Also reference to the three foot rule in signage. 22. Bike friendly lane markings, ped-safe zones, obvious crosswalks. More ramps up/down for Constitution Plaza, River Front Park, street level. 23. More bike racks, put them in prominent visible locations. Stripe bike lanes and sharrows on all resurfacing project. 24. Road diets. 25. Signs and stripes to guide cyclists through the safest paths Bike Walk Connecticut PO Box 270149, West Hartford, CT 06127-0149 | 860.904.2420 | email@example.com | www.bikewalkct.org
26. Office and retail windows that open up and look onto the sidewalk and street to reduce the isolation that one often feels while walking or biking. 27. Bike lane on Rt 44 from Scarborough St. to Bloomfield Ave. at a minimum. 28. All cyslists must install bells or horns and use them.What big changes would you love to see? 1. Stand up to the iQuilt Plan. Its not designed for residents. Its a ploy by local businesses to ensure that the ugly state parking lots remain on Capitol Avenue and that we spend money on things that do not improve the average persons quality of life. Seriously, its got to go. Ive been to most of the meetings and read all of the iQuilt documentation and it does NOT support cyclists, pedestrians, or Hartford residents in a meaningful way. 2. A way to bike north and south comfortably without always having to go to Laurel Street. 3. Additional pedestrian bridge across the west end of Founders Bridge, between Hartford Steam Boiler and Riverfront Plaza. 4. Ban cars. 5. A bicycling and walking education program that is based on scientific crash data and our traffic rules-of-the-road instead of superstitions that were started in the 1920s by a minority (car owners) and that have been perpetuated by lobbyists to serve their own interests. There is a program that actually changes culture in bicycling for transportation. It is opposed by the lobbyists for bike manufactures and segregated bike facilities designers. I would like to see this program be made available to more city planners and discussed and evaluated objectively - BEFORE they buy in to the "paint and pavement" segregationist mythology. Those who see it, believe it! 6. better enforcement of motorists who blatantly abuse the rules of the road 7. "A full blown bike share system like almost every other city in the country is deploying. 8. Take Main Street and use it as an example for Complete Streets, Green Bike Lane the whole length, no on street parking, etc. " 9. Dedicated covered parking for bikes. Maybe at the first level of a parking garage for a small nominal fee. 10. Connecting bike paths from city to city to town 11. We need to get a vulnerable road user law passed 12. Signage and more white stripes marking bike paths. How about installing bike racks in front of all public buildings? 13. A real, substantial and thoughtful reconfiguration of excessively wide and fast Main Street: Medians with vegetation, bike lanes, reduction and/or reorganization of bus queueing. 14. maybe a bike lane along the train routes. 15. Everyone on bikes follow the rules, have some reflective clothing/gear and a centralized fee- based shower/secure bike parking area convenient for cycle commuters. (Chicago does this.) 16. Fix the Farmington Ave/Asylum intersection so bikes can navigate East-West without going through the park to Capitol Ave. Improve bike lanes (or lack of) to the north of the city. Bike Walk Connecticut PO Box 270149, West Hartford, CT 06127-0149 | 860.904.2420 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.bikewalkct.org
17. WELL PLANNED dedicated bike lanes that run across the city so one can actually ride East/West or North/South safely. (NOT lanes that run in the middle of the road for a couple of blocks and then abruptly end.) And keeping those lanes clean from gravel and broken glass, please!18. Create a campaign to promote Hartford as a place to have fun and support people who want to do events with grants. Great music and gatherings. Sponsor more biking events in downtown area. Create a website and flyers of what is going on each week in Hartford. Revive the Pump House as a regular venue not one of just private events.19. Close Trinity street and Bushnell park to all vehicular traffic, including for events and police vehicles. Narrow car lanes to allow wider sidewalks and generous bike lanes.20. Bike lanes into and out of downtown, with aggressive traffic enforcement against drivers who drive and park in them.21. Better connectivity of bike routes22. A few tickets to motorists would go far- for not yielding to vulnerable users to cell phone use. Enforcement of existing laws would go quite far.23. More streets closed to motor vehicles, perhaps an entire grid of bike and walk only streets across teh city. Connect Charter Oak with RiverFront. Bulkeley bridge bike/walk lane. (Have you seen where Buckeley Bridge dumps walkers/bikers in downtown?) 1) Systematically (but slowly) make parking and car storage in downtown Hartford less convenient by policy and parking pricing. 2) Make the bus shuttle from BDL more frequent and advertise it widely to downtown dwellers. This is a downtown perk - no car needed and you can get to the airport easily. Duh?24. BIKE LANES to promote bike friendly corridors25. Dedicated bike lanes. Dedicated bike and pedestrian areas where no cars allowed.26. Add separate bike lanes on selected east-west and north-south roads. More bike programs for Hartford youth27. Obviously a lot more residential construction and rehab (especially around the park) would create the kind of critical mass needed to sustain more retail, etc. Development of the YMCA and old Hilton sites along with building out Allyn and High Streets should be a top priority since this is a particularly underutilized asset and of course would connect the train station to the rest of downtown.28. A shared bicycle/bus lane on Asylum Ave.29. Get rid of all cars. Begin by stopping all one to a car drivers from coming into the city. No more turning on walk light or right on red. Folks on feet have the right of way. Bike Walk Connecticut PO Box 270149, West Hartford, CT 06127-0149 | 860.904.2420 | email@example.com | www.bikewalkct.org