After three years of debate, New Haven has finally approved a two-way cycle track on Edgewood Avenue stretching from Forest Road to Park Street.
According to the New Haven Independent, the City Plan Commission approved the plan in a unanimous vote in June. The cycle track will be approximately two miles long and is being built with the help of a $1.2 million grant from the state Department of Transportation’s Community Connectivity Program.
At the meeting in June, Deputy Transportation Director Mike Pinto said that, pending state approval for some minor changes in signalization, the work for the track is expected to begin this fall and be finished by spring 2018. Pinto also spoke about how important the cycle track is for New Haven’s development.
“This is infrastructure for the 21st century,” he said. “If we want to keep those well-educated people here, if we’re not competing with the other cities by investing in this infrastructure, we will get left behind.”
He added that the bike lanes are part of a project to calm traffic that has been ongoing since 2013.
Caroline Smith ’14, a co-organizer of New Haven Bike Month, was especially excited about the track. Having been involved in cycling in New Haven for years, she said the cycle track was an opportunity for New Haven residents to feel safer and more heard by community organizers. She added that the project would most directly help “people going to work or kids going to school [with] having a safer way to get there.”
Smith noted that Edgewood Street goes through many different neighborhoods, which could help the track connect communities. There are other places in the city in which the infrastructure could also be helpful, she added.
The cycle track could be especially useful for Yale students, many of whom cycle for exercise or transportation.
Inés Ozonas ’20 said the cycle track is an amazing idea. As an avid cycler herself, she believes cycling is a great way to move around the city quickly.
She also said that sometimes she feels as if she is going to be hit by a car when biking in New Haven and believes that the cycle track could help with that. Chase Westover ’20 echoed similar sentiments.
“Though I have never been hit by a car, I’ve definitely felt in danger,” he said.
According to City Engineer Giovanni Zinn, this track would become the longest protected, two-way cycle track in the state, passing the current track along Long Wharf Drive.
Along with the cycle track, the plan includes improvements to pedestrian crosswalks, new signals to aid bike traffic and repairs at the Winthrop and Edgewood Avenue intersection.
Zinn and Pinto both noted the importance of the track as a safety measure for cyclists.
“We chose the north side of the street as the final decision for the cycle track because it has direct access to two schools,” Pinto said.
The track will also be situated next to the Edgewood mall, an area that receives a lot of traffic.
Ashna Gupta | firstname.lastname@example.org