West Hartford’s 5th open streets celebration, Center Streets, is not to be missed! Once again the square block of streets in West Hartford Center will be closed to cars and open to bikes, pedestrians, roller blades, scooters. A “block party on wheels” with live music by The Score from 10 – 1. Children’s game area, sponsor tents, restaurant specials, and more. All is free!
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Bike West Hartford is proud to welcome Emily Oshinskie as our Communications and Social Media Coordinator for Summer 2021. We’re thrilled that she’s helping us improve our outreach with members who support our organization, and to expand our publicity for the Center Streets event on Sunday August 29th, 2021.
Emily was born and raised in West Hartford, and is a proud alumna of Morley, King Philip and Hall High School! She attended Elmira College and developed her skills as as educator and advocate. Emily discovered her calling in the bicycle advocacy community through BiCiCo in Hartford and now through Bike West Hartford. Emily is an avid cyclist, walker, hiker, and sometimes a rock climber. While she began biking as a youngster in West Hartford, her true passion for cycling arose while living in Tucson, Arizona, where bike paths are plentiful. One of Emily’s first bicycling memories was when she and her dad used to ride down to the UConn basketball championship parades in Hartford. She looks forward to sharing her ideas and enthusiasm about cycling while serving as the Communications Coordinator for Bike West Hartford in summer 2021!
Send a tax-deductible contribution to Bike West Hartford, Inc. to help us raise $15,000 to create a permanent memorial that recognizes MaryEllen Thibodeau’s contributions to the town she loved. Use our PayPal online form below or send a check payable to Bike West Hartford, 68 South Main St, Suite 101, West Hartford CT 06107.
MaryEllen Thibodeau was an inspiration. Organized, dedicated, tenacious. She recognized that driving everywhere was unsustainable, so she walked. She most often walked North Main Street from her home near The American School for the Deaf. Walking, riding a bike, or driving on North Main Street in West Hartford is scary, and MaryEllen wanted to do something about it. Making North Main safe became a cause and she was good at causes. Picking up and collecting debris from crashes and from truck mirrors meetings with telephone poles proved to be excellent evidence to show the dangers of the crash-plagued stretch of road. She invited Town Council members and officials to walk with her along North Main and experience what it felt and looked like when cars and trucks whizzed by a couple of feet from one’s elbow. She organized meetings and made things happen. Soon we will have a road diet which will make North Main street safer for cars, bikes, and pedestrians.
MaryEllen was involved with other causes as well. She became the first Executive Director of Bike Walk Connecticut, an advocacy organization to make biking and walking safer in CT. She was the chairperson of the West Hartford Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee. She volunteered for Foot Wear with Care which provides new footwear for the homeless. MaryEllen also organized a Call To Action Group to take up causes that were important to her. She demonstrated powerfully that one person can make a difference.
Unfortunately MaryEllen is not getting a chance to see North Main Street become a safer street for all users as we lost her to cancer in November 2020. Bike West Hartford, Inc, a 501(c)(3), with help from The American School For The Deaf, and friends of MaryEllen, are planning a permanent memorial to MaryEllen adjacent to North Main Street on the ASD property. The memorial will feature a curved bench and memorial plaque set in a plaza of pavers with a backdrop of perennials.