OBERLANDER: Bike Planning Study is a Valuable Conservation Commission Project

Submitted by Jill Oberlander, Greenwich Selectperson

With spring just around the corner and COVID still at our doorstep, what better opportunity could there be for including a Bike Planning Study in the Fiscal 22 budget?

Unfortunately, over 100 individual residents supporting the study wasn’t enough to clear the hurdle imposed by First Selectman Camillo when he deleted this valuable Conservation Commission project from his proposed budget due to competing demands, such as decorative barriers on Greenwich Avenue and a re-design of Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.

The public cost of the bike study is a fraction of the proposed cost of these other new initiatives. Further, as proposed, private funds will be raised to match the public contribution, which fits neatly into the First Selectman’s election year promise to have public-private partnerships for all capital projects.

Since it has been twenty years since the last study, the Department of Public Works has advised that an updated study is necessary before they can implement improvements since build-out, usage and traffic patterns all have changed. In addition, Conservation Commission staff have pointed out that the Town misses out on available grant funds for bicycle-friendly projects since it hasn’t planned to do these projects. And, with a new U.S. Transportation Secretary who favors biking to work, and a focus on climate change, we can expect that there will be a focus on alternative transportation options in the years ahead.

I am all about Greenwich being ahead of the curve, not behind, and urge the BET to add money to the budget for this important partnership. Understandably, BET members have asked why they should fund a study that the First Selectman doesn’t support.

The Bike Planning Study is a public-private partnership that furthers a safe, bike-friendly community where residents can get outside, be active, enjoy our Town’s beautiful scenery, and contribute to improved air quality for all.

Please join me in asking First Selectman Camillo and the BET to add funds to the F22 budget to support this effort.

Jill Oberlander