Michael Walsh reports in the Dec 22nd CT Insider: “At Wednesday morning’s Community Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting, [West Hartford] Town Engineer Greg Sommer made a formal recommendation to construct a 9-foot-wide two-way cycle track with a vertical separation buffer in the form of bollards or a raised curb on the west side of New Park Avenue as part of the Complete Streets project that will implement a road diet, turning a four-lane road into a three-lane road, with one of those lanes being a shared two-way left turn lane… The protected bike lane would take cyclists from New Britain Avenue to Talcott Road. At that point, cyclists would enter an off-road path, taking their travel entirely off the street and further north up New Park Avenue.” The Town Council’s Committee will continue to discuss this recommendation next year before considering whether to refer it to the full Town Council.
To be clear, the Town has not yet made an official decision on New Park Avenue. But this new recommendation from the Town Engineering Division is a major step forward. Previously, the March 2022 Town Engineering plan called for paint-only bike lanes along this high-speed road, and halting them at the Trout Brook bridge rather than extending them all the way to New Britain Avenue. But that plan disappointed many due to its “Incomplete” vision of the Town’s “Complete Streets” policy and state-funded grant for this project. During the summer and fall of 2022, calls for the Town to redesign its plan came a broad coalition, as shown in the July 2022 letter by the town-appointed Pedestrian and Bicycle Commission, the August 2022 map flyer by Bike West Hartford, and the October 2022 video by GastroPark business owner Tate Norden. As a result, the Town Engineering Division is now recommending a protected bike path that runs from New Britain Avenue to Talcott Road, then onto an off-road path up to the Home Depot plaza entrance.