Letter submitted by (*see list of names below)
Building on the Town’s desire to create a healthier community that is a draw for new young families moving to Greenwich, we believe the Conservation Commission’s proposed East-West Bike Route Study should be included in the FY 2022 Town Budget. If implemented, the bike route would provide a low-cost, healthy transportation alternative and much needed outdoor recreation for the entire community.
The BET is currently reviewing the proposed Town budget. Unfortunately, the $100,000 request for the East-West Bike Route Study developed by the Conservation Department was not included. The Transportation and Air Quality Subcommittee of the Sustainability Committee intends to raise half the cost of the study from private donations, which would reduce the Town’s financial contribution to only $50,000. Pledges have already been made. Additionally, there are federal and state grants available for municipalities supporting alternative transportation.
Neighboring towns from Stamford to Norwalk have already benefited from them. We can too. But we cannot begin to expand any biking infrastructure unless we have the bike route study completed.
This small expenditure is a smart investment with big returns. The study will build the foundation for a future network of bike lanes. Once installed, cyclists and walkers will benefit from safer roads, cleaner air, less noise and decreased demand for parking infrastructure. Imagine your second car being replaced by a bike for short distance destinations. This choice can save thousands of dollars a year for households. The BOE has already reduced three school buses from its budget, and more school bus savings could be achieved if students have a safe option to bike to school.
National sales of adult bikes ballooned by 121% in March 2020 compared to March 2019 (Bicycling Retailer and Industry News) and would have been even higher if not for limited supply. The fast-growing presence of bicycles on our roads has created dangerous conditions. Use of bikes in Greenwich is limited to paved roads in public parks and prohibited on sidewalks. This forces cyclists onto narrow busy roads, resulting in tragic accidents and Town liability.
According to UConn’s Crash Data Repository, last year, despite dramatically decreased traffic on the roads in Greenwich due to COVID, nevertheless saw an 11% increase in accidents involving bikes.
COVID challenged all of us to find ways to stay physically and mentally fit while social distancing. Many turned to bicycle riding. Bike riding is an affordable and accessible activity open to all members of the community. Electric bikes offer these benefits to the elderly and physically challenged. Cycling generates zero emissions, decreases traffic, and reduces the
demand for parking spaces. A single car-sized parking place can store a dozen bicycles. The creation of a new bike lane network, supported by grant funding, would revitalize our streets with modern and attractive bike racks incorporated in the local streetscape and greenery. Increased micro-mobility will boost sales at local stores and support our local economy.
The East West Bike Plan Study will help make Greenwich a more desirable community. We urge the Town to include this small amount in the annual budget. It will be well worth it.
Bob and Jan DeAngelo
Elizabeth, Burke and Walker Dempsey
Laura di Bonaventura
Josefina Gil Zalis
Heidi and Chris Matonis
Kate Mini, MD
Carolina Dewez and Luis Reyna
Elizabeth Mills Sanders
Daniel St Louis
Lucy von Brachel