Our (Elm City Cycling) 2013 Bike to Work Day breakfast was the most successful ever.
Not only did we have the biggest turnout of the past 8 years or so -- 150, give or take a few -- but Mayor John DeStefano biked in from the far west side of town; we had the heads of the Transportation, Health and Police departments present, along with four members of the Board of Aldermen, and three of the 7 mayoral hopefuls in this September's primary. Plus, ECC released our 2013 Bike and Pedestrian Plan, which outlines how to make biking and walking safe and enjoyable for everyone from 8 to 80 by reducing motor vehicle speed, making on-street bike routes continuous through the city, completing the citywide off-street greenway system, and collecting data to measure our progress.
The director of transportation announced plans to create green "bike boxes" painted on the road surface at intersections, to allow cyclists to proceed ahead of motor vehicles.
There's a wonderful story on our event in the New Haven Independent.
While still a tiny fraction of all commuters, the number of cyclists who both live and work in New Haven almost quintupled between 1990 and 2010 to 2.4 percent (1,400 riders), according to census data. And that's not counting commuters coming in from outside New Haven, like me and many others.
Also in the past month, Yale University rolled out a bike share program, which the city Transportation Department hopes to build on to expand city-wide. Bridgeport, Connecticut's largest city, got a federal grant to start a bike share program. In the cover story I did earlier this year for E Magazine, every national expert I interviewed told me bike-sharing is the biggest game changer of all. Greater Boston's rolled out a year or so ago (my daughter in Somerville lives a five minute walk from not one, but two bike share stations); New York's, after a year's delay, is scheduled to start this summer, and many others are up and running around the world.
In the week leading up to Bike to Work Day, I spoke to so many people who said in order to start riding, they needed to buy a bike or get their bike tuned up. I hope BTW Day helped push people to take care of business so they can get out on two wheels. Besides all the environmental, health and social reasons to bike, it's just fun. Do it!