Thank You for Speaking Up for People-First Redesign of WH Center

A big thank you for the outpouring of public support for a people-first vision for West Hartford Center and the Option A redesign. If you haven’t already done so, email (with cc: to to speak up and share your views. You can also tell local businesses that you’ll support them through construction. Tell them the importance of a safe connection to the ever-expanding Trout Brook Trail. Tell restaurants what the expanded outdoor dining means to you and to our community, and that we’d like to keep this tradition alive and thriving into the future. Tell them that we appreciate them.

So far we’ve heard from over 30 residents who emailed Town Council and cc:ed us. Each and every person offered their own unique perspective on why the Town should adopt a more people-first approach to the Center redesign. We appreciate each and every one of them.

Excerpts from letters by newer residents:

  • “My wife and I are new West Hartford residents. I was ecstatic to welcome he initial Center redesign as a forward-looking vision. Unfortunately it was gut-wrenching to learn of the walkback earlier this month of that design.”
  • “There are too many good reasons to prioritize biking in our community: environmental, pedestrian safety, public health, business influx, transportation cost savings… But if the facts aren’t persuasive enough, I hope you’ll consider what the Center redesign means for my family and the many like us who are opting for our bikes instead of cars for local trips…Use this opportunity to improve the Center for the town’s future.”
  • “As a new Connecticut resident… I would love to live in a walkable, pedestrian-focused West Hartford, but it’s very disappointing to see the [town] resist people-focused, future-focused, Complete Streets design principles. I would urge the Council to adopt Option A.”
  • “Bike lanes and trails can create a beautiful area and experience… I was extremely excited about Option A, which promised to bring protected bike lanes and expanded dining space to Farmington Ave giving residents and students the opportunity to leisurely visit…”

Excerpts from letters by long-time residents:

  • “Towns and cities across the country are waking up to the fact that prioritizing cars over people has led to disastrous results from a quality of life perspective… the vibrancy gains would be tremendous if outdoor dining, sidewalks, and bike lanes could be expanded.”
  • “I have to drive and park to get to the Center and I am still an advocate of keeping the existing outdoor dining.”
  • “Trading pedestrian and cyclist safety, as well as severely limiting outdoor dining in order to keep 32 parking spaces seems counterproductive to improving West Hartford’s vibrant Center.”
  • “Plan A should be THE CHOICE!!! The Center and Blue Back are known for dining, why not have more of it?”
  • “As a more than 20 year resident of West Hartford, I have never been happier to see you extend and expand outdoor dining to help local restaurants survive the pandemic. You need to continue this.”
  • “As a town citizen for nearly 40 years I am sad to see the town not adopt a plan to reduce the number of cars parked in the center of town. The outdoor dining over the past few years has been wonderful.”
  • “We have a generational opportunity to create a safe, vibrant Center for all that will serve as a model for cities across the region. Downtowns where people can safely walk, bike, eat and hang-out are FUN! People want to be there! People want to spend their money there!”
  • “This is a huge lost opportunity to create a West Hartford Center that is safer, more environmentally sustainable, and more vibrant for people and businesses.”
  • “Our town is renowned for its walkability, but this score erodes as more cars speed through town. I have met several families that moved here during the pandemic based on the town’s positive online impressions only to be disappointed, and sometimes shocked, at the lack of pedestrian safety features.”
  • “I would ask our town leaders to show courage and creativity so that we build a West Hartford Center for the future.”
  • “If you build it, they will come… be bold and courageous. Future and current generations will thank you for your foresight.”
  • “I am writing as a resident of West Hartford, and as a professional engineer, to strongly encourage the council to select Design Option A for West Hartford Center… to not include bicycle facilities on Farmington Avenue will, in my opinion, squander a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve this part of town.”

In addition to the individual letters excerpted above, many others publicly shared their views in open letters and opinion essays:

See also Michael Walsh’s CT Insider interviews with Jennifer Sharp, Julia Toof, and Kerri Ana Provost about “Here’s Why Some Ditch Their Cars, and the Need to Park, to Get to West Hartford Center” (gift link)

While we wait for town leaders to respond, we offer a sincere and heartfelt thank you from all of us at Bike West Hartford!