Mary Donegan: Questions about Town’s draft Bike Facilities Plan

Update: Read Michael Walsh’s June 6th 2024 CTInsider article (gift link) about criticism of the Town’s draft Bike Facilities Plan

Mary Donegan — a Bike West Hartford board member, parent of three children, and former member of the Town of West Hartford Vision Zero Task Force — raises the questions we’re asking about the Town’s draft Bicycle Facilities Plan in this one-minute YouTube video.

The Town of West Hartford posted its Draft Bicycle Facilities Plan (dated 28 May 2024) and scheduled a public information meeting on Thursday, June 6th from 6:30-8:00 PM at the Bishops Corner Senior Center, 15 Starkel Rd (near corner of Albany Ave/Route 44) to solicit public input. As you read the plan and/or attend the meeting, we encourage you to reflect on these questions:

  1. How does the Town’s draft Bike Facilities Plan align with the goals and actions of the Town’s Vision Zero policy and Vision Zero Action Plan?

    For example, neither the phrase “Vision Zero” nor the High Injury Network (the map of streets prioritized for intervention based on past and expected future crashes resulting in death or serious injury) appear anywhere in the Town’s draft Bike Plan.
  1. Why does the Town’s draft plan substitute its own lower-safety guide for selecting bike lanes based on traffic volume and speed (see section 1.11) rather than the higher-safety Federal Highway Administration 2019 Bikeway Selection Guide (see page 23)?

    For example, Farmington Avenue had about 9,000 vehicles per day according to 2021 CTDOT data. While the Town’s lower safety standard allows painted sharrow markers as “acceptable,” the Federal higher standard calls for separated bike lanes or a shared use path. Furthermore, the Town’s draft Plan makes numerous exceptions for “maintenance considerations” and “on-street parking demand.” 
  1. Why did the Town’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Commission (PBC), whose members are appointed by the Town Council, object to the Town’s draft Bike Plan in their May 21st letter? How will the plan be revised to address their concerns?

    The PBC concluded in their letter: “We feel very strongly that it is critical that the Guide be designed properly, first and foremost for the ‘Interested but Concerned’ bicyclist [50% of population who are not comfortable riding in traffic]. In its current form the Guide fails to do this, and unless it is modified, we believe that the town will fail to live up to the aspirations expressed in the Complete Streets Policy.”

Please send your comments on the draft Bike Facilities Plan to our elected Town Council leaders ( and the Town Engineer ( with cc: to  

From Bike West Hartford board members: Jennifer Boyd, Mary Donegan, Jack Dougherty, Richelle Efland, Jen Fleet, Ethan Frankel, Tracy Frankel, Jim Head, Tom Martin, Jason Wang