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.
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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.