First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced today that the Town of Fairfield has joined the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2015 “Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People and Safer Streets” program.
More than 230 municipalities across the U.S. have so far joined the year-long program aimed at raising the bar for bicyclist and pedestrian safety.
“We have to learn to live, walk, bike and ride together safely,” said First Selectman Tetreau, who praised the program at a recent Board of Selectmen’s meeting, along with Selectman Kevin Kiley and Selectman Sheila Marmion.
All municipalities involved in the challenge agree to focus on goals and activities to advance seven safety and accessibility objectives through a local action team. In Fairfield’s case, that responsibility goes to the Town’s nine member Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee which was appointed by the Board of Selectmen in 2014.
Keith Gallinelli, Chairman of the Committee, said the Challenge program activities asked all participating municipalities like Fairfield to:
1. Take a “Complete Streets” approach to improving key road design so that walking and bicycling is considered equally with motor vehicles and mass transit;
2. Identify and address barriers to making streets safe and convenient for all road users, including people of all ages and abilities and those using assistive mobility devices;
3. Gather and track bicycling and walking data;
4. Use designs that are appropriate to the context of the street and its uses;
5. Take advantage of opportunities to create and complete pedestrian and bicycle networks through maintenance;
6. Improve walking and biking safety laws and regulations;
7. Educate and enforce proper road use behavior by all.
Among its plans for 2015, Fairfield’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee hopes to add at least two new, well-marked bicycling routes to safely link Fairfield residential neighborhoods to Town business centers and other destinations. On April 19, 2015, the Committee invited cyclists to test out and pilot a planned “Library to Library” bike route that connected the Main Library to the Fairfield Woods Branch Library.
Nearly 50 cyclists turned out for the “Library to Library” bike route test event. In a survey of 41 riders, 95 percent said Town officials should approve the route and put in permanent signs and road markings to set off the road shoulders for bicycle traffic. More than eight out of ten riders in the survey said they would consider riding their bikes along the route to or from downtown Fairfield instead of driving their car.
Other well-marked and bike routes with enhanced signage are envisioned in the future for connecting the shoreline with other parts of Fairfield.
The photo shows participants in the April 19th “Library to Library” bike route test event which began at Sherman Green. From left to right: Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee member Linda Lach, Committee Chair Keith Gallinelli, First Selectman Michael Tetreau, Committee member Don Hyman, State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey, and Committee members Laura O’Brien, Edward Lane and Elizabeth Gardner.