Making Cross-City Connections: Comparing Hartford with Other Regions

While Tony Cherolis has been biking to the Midwest, he wrote this July 22nd CT News Junkie op-ed about bike lane gaps in the Hartford region, in contrast to more continuous cross-city routes he noticed in places such as Syracuse NY, Cleveland, Akron, and Columbus OH, and Bloomington and Indianapolis IN. Tony writes:

As I wander cross country on my bicycle, I’m finding other cities have made major investments in cross-city, safe multiuse trails and bicycle routes. Most of these cities would not yet call themselves panaceas for biking or walking, but the cross-city routes do get well used… [In contrast] The multiuse trails and bike routes in Hartford and the wider region seem almost intentionally disconnected, orphaned, and patchwork. One can’t ride across the city in any direction on a safe bike route without getting stranded by a dangerous gap or car-centric terrifying intersections.

Read Tony’s op-ed and see all of his maps comparing cross-city bike connections, such as the Hartford region versus the Syracuse NY region below:

Disconnected bike routes and multi-use trails in the City of Hartford (red outline) and adjacent towns. Composite / Google Maps).
In Syracuse NY (red outline) and adjacent suburbs, the major East-West multi-use trail and bike route connector is the Erie Canal Trail that goes right through downtown. (Google Maps.)

See also Tony’s March 2018 blog post, “Bike Lanes End at the West Hartford City Line — Why?

Yesterday, I rode out Farmington Avenue and was viscerally reminded that the bike lane ends at the Hartford and West Hartford city line.  Years before, a large group of bicycle commuters and residents from the two cities met up and rode together in a quiet protest of the West Hartford project that added pedestrian improvements, but no bike lanes in the wide corridor.  The disconnect in the design philosophy and inability of the adjacent towns to coordinate a connected bike route network was jarring.  Despite the protest, West Hartford invested in the discontinuous project.