What many readers and perhaps some of our political leaders may not know is that the DEEP storm water pollution issues can be traced to our vehicle miles. By reducing our vehicle miles, we can have an impact on storm water pollution. Smart Trips fit into our lifestyle . Active Transportation requires a bigger personal change but makes a bigger contribution 1) Smart (car) Trips includes combining two or more errands into one trip, carpooling, taking the bus, etc 2) Active Transportation attempts to eliminate car trips as much as possible. This does not mean never driving again. But, it does suggest that walking and biking should be considered before every vehicle trip. The vast majority of us can eliminate 200 to 2,000 vehicle miles a year by adding walking and biking to our transportation choices. That would be an incredible contribution to our environment and pocketbook.
To date, our Fairfield County leaders have done very little to promote either of these programs. Bethel and Brookfield are beginning to organize to improve Active Transportation. Danbury has shown no significant indication for supporting Active Transportation. New Milford dabbles in Active Transportation but does not have an organize effort or timetable. Ridgefield appears to be interested in a trail but not a town wide program. As far as I know, the other towns in the former HVCEO organization have not considered or have rejected any type of Active Transportation program.
In my view, any political leader or member of their staff that suggest they are interested in reducing waste water run-off and has not developed programs to reduce motorized vehicle miles, the main reason for the pollution, is being intellectually dishonest with their constituents. The recent Bicycle Transportation plan recently approved by HVCEO provides a great guideline. There is no reason that the towns could nor should not begin implementing right now. Especially in-light of the recent realization of the storm water pollution issue. Here is a link to the study http://www.hvceo.org/transport/Greater_Danbury_Regional_Bike_Plan_Draft.pdf View Comment
This is great news for Danbury. And, it will even be better news if Praxair and Danbury build Active Transportation into their planning. Praxair will be helping their employees and residents of Danbury live a healthier lifestyle by providing more opportunities for walking and biking. Praxair will also have more productive employees and reduce their health care costs according to the research about active, healthy employees. This is a WOW if the Active Transportation opportunity is executed! View Comment
The town of Danbury would get my vote on the $20mm bond issue if I new the investment would be directed as a Complete Streets initiative. I have little confidence that the money will be directed beyond motor vehicles. To guarantee my positive vote, I would like to hear someone from the town state that the money will be spent with the Complete Streets approach.
@samweston, you likely stopped reading at the words 'South Africa' and felt compelled to respond to the apartheid comparison often made with Israel. That is not my point and my point includes Rwanda, that has nothing to do with apartheid. Both of these countries came out of terrible situations of deep hatred and conflict, yet found a way to make things work, after terrible, violent events, accusations, etc. Before you jump to thinking you need to defend Israel no matter what is said, take a breath and learn a little bit about the approach of Nelson Mandela and Paul Kagame. Former enemies live side by side in their countries. My confidence in Kagame is not as high as Mandela but part of that is simply the time he has been in office. View Comment
@ Samweston - My hope for peace with Israelis and Palestinians rests in the success that has occurred in S. Africa and Rwanda. I believe there are many parallels. Perhaps the jury is still out, but what has occurred to date, has been fairly successful. Even among people who hated each other, were slaughtered in their beds, terrorized, etc. While it is not perfect, if the people in these countries can figure it out, with all the atrocities and hatred that existed, I actually have hope. View Comment
The press is now filled with people showing their support for Israel by flying into the war zone. But, the people who are said not to leave their homes after Israel 'knocks on their roof' are human shields for Hamas. The only difference I see is Israel has accurate weapons that actually kill people and Hamas does not. Otherwise would the people flying into the war zone be human shields? This reporting dehumanizes the average Palestinian which makes the peace negotiation harder to achieve, since why would a person negotiate with a non-human. I do not support Hamas and I do not think they will make good partners unless they change their philosophy but this unbalanced reporting, and what feels like unconditional support for Israel, does not help the peace process. View Comment
Lvalvo, you may already know many of the laws but just in case ... Perhaps the most important is your right to 'take the lane'. This keeps cars from passing too close or at all. Cars must also give you 3 feet when they pass. Clearly, nothing you can do about it, when they do not but that is the law. If you want to become an advocate for biking and get changes made, become familiar with the Bicycle Friendly Community program from the League. Here is the link http://bikeleague.org/bfa Here is another link to advocacy tips from the local bike club Hat City Cyclists http://www.hatcitycyclists.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=164562&module_id=148767 Hang in there. The more people that bike, the safer it is. Not always fun being among the first but its important for those that follow! View Comment
I bike all over Fairfield County but I would not say it is encouraged or promoted. New Milford seems to have the most infrastructure and that only covers a few miles. While Danbury has signs to make sure people pick up dog poop, there are no signs for Sharing The Road, Bike Lanes, etc. Bikes seem to be viewed as toys vs. transportation. While it is not hard to find people biking, once the towns get behind a serious effort to create Bicycle Friendly Community(s) by implementing the 5 E's of the League of American Bicyclists, we will see an explosion of people bicycling. Bicycling will become safer and amazing positive things will happen to our communities. If anyone wants to join in this effort, check out the Hat City Cyclist advocacy page. View Comment
The NRVT is a great opportunity for our health, welfare and enjoyment. We will see thousands of people using the trail biking, walking, etc. However, we should also recognize the economic benefit. Looking at bicycle riders, especially bicycle tourists, the trail will generate millions of dollars (that's right millions) when completed. The Great Allegheny Passage which is 132 miles offers a view of what could happen here. People from 670 postal codes can be found on the GAP averaging $100 per day with hotel, food and other travel purchases. Since the NRVT connects to the East Coast Greenway, it will be easy for people to come/go to NYC, a Bicycle Friendly Community and as you know, a great tourist destination. To maximize the opportunity however, Danbury not only needs to complete its section of the NRTV, Danbury also needs a convenient path to get to start of the Putnam rail trail in Brewster. (Brewster and Danbury should work together on this) When this is done, retailers, hotel owners, etc. can begin to count the new revenue that will be generated. And, the towns along the trail can count the the new tax revenue generated by the tourist dollars. Botom line, he NRTV means business! View Comment
Want to save money on gas? Ride your bicycle. Not confident about riding in the street? Worried about the hills? I've saved nearly $600 since I began tracking my miles beginning May 1. There are people willing to show you how to get back on the bike because they love the idea of making our towns more bicycle friendly. Contact local clubs like Hat City Cyclists, look up FB sites around Danbury or New Milford, and/or contact your local bicycle shop. They will know people/programs to teach and encourage safe bicycling and commuting. Lots of efforts happening right now and the time is right to get back on the bike. View Comment
There are usually two major concerns expressed at public meetings about bicycling trails. One is the reduction in property values. The one ttam3d0 missed is the increase in crime.
As early as the 1990s, reduction in property value concerns were raised and considered. Here is a link that summarizes studies from the 1990s from different parts of the USA. As you will see, the reduction in property values did not happen. Ihttp://www.americantrails.org/resources/adjacent/sumadjacent.html
Here is a 2011 academic study from two University of Cincinnati academics discussing a 12 mile Cincinnati trail that demonstrated positive property value results. I just picked out one from my Google search. The reader can look for MANY others. http://www.uc.edu/news/nr.aspx?id=14300 . I just like this one since it goes right through a big city where property values can fluctuate and crime can be high.
Finally, if you perform a Google search for information that searches for increased crime and property value reduction as it relates to the introduction of trails, you will be hard pressed to find any information that suggests its a negative situation.
Bottom line, if you live near a proposed trail, you should be doing all you can to make it happen. Expect property values to increase and crime to go down. View Comment
The NRTV is a great opportunity for the residents and businesses in this area. Not only will it benefit our health, family gatherings, etc, it will add MILLIONS to our tourism revenue income. This trail will connect to NYC using the East Coast Greenway allowing thousands of bicyclists to ride along the trail each year. Don't believe or heard of bicycle tourism? Keep reading. And, if like me, you have ridden on these trails, you know there is no shortage of cyclists who bicycle tour:
"Bicycle Tourism can Generate Big Money - Based on these studies, we estimate that those who take long-distance, multi-day bicycling vacations spend between $100 and $300 per day on food, lodging, and other items, with “credit card cyclists” typically near the upper end of this range. A group of six cyclists, therefore, each spending $250 per day on, say, a seven-day trip would leave behind $10,500 along their path. If the Canalway Trail could attract 1,000 such bicycle tourist groups in a season, those visitors would contribute $10.5 million to canal community economies.
Here is some evidence from similar trails: Missouri’s Katy Trail, a 225-mile rail trail under development since 1982, draws 350,000 bicyclists per year, about a third of whom (100,000+) are tourists from outside the local area.
A 2007 economic impact study of the Great Allegheny Passage, not yet complete at the time, determined that it was generating $12.5 million in revenue annually. And the New York State Canal Corporation’s 2008 report, “Economic Impact Study of New York State Canal Tourism,” estimated that 2.4 million “day-use visitors” of all kinds use the Canalway Trail system each year. It seems likely, therefore, that the economic impact of the Erie Canalway Trail will reach, and perhaps exceed, the above figure." View Comment
@ Ken P Jr - To clarify, most if not all road work comes from your property tax, something we ALL pay, NOT as you imply gas tax. Furthermore, like yourself, you drive and bike so you are making a tax contribution when you drive . I do agree with your 'everyone' statement about being considerate, knowing the laws and obeying them. Having said that, the many laws put in place for cars should not and in many states do not apply to bikes. Until they are changed, I cannot suggest they should not be followed. View Comment
Tonight is the Ride of Silence bicycle event which will start from the Danbury Green at 7pm. This international event To HONOR those who have been injured or killed
To RAISE AWARENESS that we are here
To ask that we all SHARE THE ROAD. Here is the link providing details. Please arrive around 6:30. http://www.rideofsilence.org/locations-domestic.php?s=CT#CT View Comment
This ongoing discussion about cyclists not obeying the law presented in an article about distracted driving is ridiculous. The times a cyclist injures or kills a pedestrian is rare to none. This law is about protecting people who are vulnerable and people on their cell phones are hazards, especially to cyclists and pedestrians. In any case, this is not a discussion about who obeys the laws. The fact is NO ONE DOES, cars, bikes, or pedestrians. But you seem to present this vision that the driver is automatically guilty if a 'vulnerable ' user is killed or injured. That is not true "This bill establishes a penalty for a motorist who, failing to exercise reasonable care on a “public way,” seriously injures or causes the death of a “vulnerable user,” provided the vulnerable user exercised reasonable care in using the public way. A driver who causes such injury or death faces a fine of up to $ 1,000." It still has to be established that the motorist did not "exercise reasonable care" and the injured person did. My biggest fear on my bicycle NOW, is people on cell phones, especially texting. While I expect you will continue to break traffic laws (speeding, rolling stops, stale yellow lights) as we all do in our cars and on our bikes, I hope you realize that your car is so much more powerful and needs all the attention you can provide. View Comment
What a terrific accomplishment! The trail will benefit health & welfare, the economy, and simply bring neighbors together. Thanks to all that made it happen. Hopefully the remainder of the trail will receive the priority it deserves and gets completed soon. View Comment
I am OK with this but it will generate additional discussion between motorists and bicyclists/non-motorists. Based upon my conversations, many, if not all motorists, already thought their gas tax was going to better road infrastructure. An argument they often use to claim the roads as theirs. I hope you and other members of the State are preparing to implement and defend a Complete Streets program with the use of these funds. As you know, nearly all cyclist and pedestrians drive at some point contributing tax dollars. The damage cyclists/pedestrians do to the road/environment is greatly reduced which means not as much money is required for remediation. Given your leadership on transportation, you must know about these issues. I hope your goal is to use these funds for a Complete Streets program so all street users benefit. View Comment