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Connecticut Hears Transportation Secretary's Call for Safer Streets

PHOTO: It is a tough time of year for biking, but a new challenge from the head of the U.S. Department of Transportation could make streets safer for all in Connecticut. Credit: K. Kennedy
PHOTO: It is a tough time of year for biking, but a new challenge from the head of the U.S. Department of Transportation could make streets safer for all in Connecticut. Credit: K. Kennedy
February 5, 2015

HARTFORD, Conn. - It's a call for safer streets from the head of the U.S. Department of Transportation to mayors and elected officials nationwide and local advocates say Connecticut needs to move to the forefront.

It's called the Mayor's Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets, and Kelly Kennedy, executive director with Bike Walk Connecticut, welcomes the challenge from Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to make streets in Connecticut and the nation safer for all who use them.

"It underscores the fact that being friendly to cyclists and pedestrians isn't just a local, kind of crazy idea," she says. "This is a national trend."

Kennedy says accident statistics back up the need to update planning policy because more than 10,000 people have died or been injured in biking or pedestrian accidents in the state since 2006. Secretary Foxx plans to host a mayor's summit on the issue in March.

Kennedy says change already is starting from the top, because the Connecticut Department of Transportation decided late last year to adopt a "Complete Streets" approach to urban planning.

"The Highway Department, as we're used to thinking of them, is really taking a much more modern, a much more holistic approach to transportation by acknowledging that people want to get around by active transportation," she says. "By biking and walking, much more so than they have before."

Kennedy says "Complete Streets" means making roads safer for all users, not just those in motorized vehicles. She says New Britain, Fairfield, Farmington, New Haven, Simsbury, South Windsor and West Hartford are among the leaders in the state in adopting this safer approach.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - CT