As part of a new "complete streets" initiative that began earlier this year, Bike Walk Connecticut has developed a first-of-its-kind ranking of the state's cities and towns on how bike- and walk-friendly they are. The results paint a varied picture of smaller communities and major cities taking effective steps to earn the designation bike- and walk- friendly. Connecticut’s top ten include: Simsbury (1), New Haven (2), New Britain (3), Glastonbury (4), Middletown (5), Canton (6), Weston (7), Hamden (8), Plainville (9) and South Windsor (10).
The scorecard and rankings of the most bike- and walk-friendly communities are based on an online, statewide public opinion survey that ran this spring and was open to anyone who lives or works in Connecticut.
The rankings are also based on municipal leadership and engagement efforts -- whether cities or towns have bicycle and pedestrian master plans; citizen task forces or advisory groups; complete streets policies; and whether they have conducted any public outreach efforts related to cycling, walking or complete streets.
Plans are for the surveys and scorecard to be conducted annually as part of Bike Walk Connecticut's new five-year initiative to make it safer and easier to walk and bike by implementing "complete streets" in cities and towns across Connecticut. Complete streets make it easier and safer for people to get around on foot or by bike, in order to become more physically active.
"We want this project to encourage cities and towns to take a really robust approach to complete streets and being bike- and walk-friendly,” said Kelly Kennedy, Executive Director of Bike Walk Connecticut. “Being able to get around safely by bike or on foot isn't just a fad or a health issue or environmental issue. It's an economic development issue.”
Rounding out the top 25 towns in Connecticut in the survey were 11. Coventry, 12. Torrington, 13. Meriden, Milford, 15. Hartford, Manchester, 17. Stonington, 18. Old Saybrook, 19. Southbury, 20. Colchester, Somers.
Bike Walk Connecticut has also started to develop an online repository for complete streets resources. The entire project is made possible through the financial support of the Connecticut Department of Public Health through Cooperative Agreement 1305 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the purpose of which is to promote statewide implementation of policies and actions to promote health and prevent and control chronic diseases.