Connecticut residents and many municipalities are "PAST DUE" with regard to community enhancements such as sidewalks and bike lanes. Community access with interconnected sidewalk and bike lane systems need to be created in many towns across Connecticut for the safety and health of all.
From the Housatonic Valley Regional Plan of Conservation and Development:
ADOPTED EFFECTIVE 7/1/2009
“The regional plan shall be designed to promote with the greatest efficiency and economy the coordinated development of its area of operation and the general welfare and prosperity of its people"
"Connecticut's revised regional planning statute of 2005 calls for more emphasis on the promotion of pedestrian friendly development. There is wide agreement between the public and the planning profession that relative to other issues, sidewalk planning has been historically neglected."
"More planning needs to be done to weave existing sidewalk segments and to construct priority extensions. These should link residential areas to commercial activity centers, schools, parks, transit centers and other such land uses.”
This statement above from the HVCEO is in part, what drives me to my point herewith. A partnership of State, municipalities and developers, together, can afford a renewed undertaking. Sidewalks, bike Lanes, interconnected neighborhoods and a new Law " fee in lieu of" can help the financial burden that is on the backs of taxpayers. A portion of these needs should be placed on developers for all types of construction projects small or large, residential or commercial.
We need a law that can help to get us on the right path. I present to you “A fee in lieu of” sidewalks and bike lanes. This may be the path to long needed “community enhancements” and a renewed plan between a more “resident health, safety and welfare friendly” planning & zoning community and perhaps even cooperative developers across this State.
It’s time for a law that provides municipalities the legal tools needed to begin to collect monies from developers in order to give us a safer way to enjoy our communities. Investments are made daily by developers, however, overall community enhancements such as sidewalks, bike lanes and more within a community is often overlooked. I believe our municipalities are not asking enough from developers and a law is needed to gain what many of us want.
Our towns and residents are in need of safer forms of travel while enjoying healthier and a practical way of life on the roads or even near them.
Safe access in and around our towns are key to enhancing our way of life. High traffic areas near schools, commercial areas and central business areas need these improvements. Wealthier towns have great community enhancements such as Ridgefield, New Canaan, Greenwich and West Hartford and few others but even in these towns more is needed.
Connecticut residents want to get out and meet our neighbors, exercise, walk, run and spend time with family meet our neighbors.
Should this burden be on the town itself and its residents? How can towns raise money to do this? A law that gives the town the authority to approve a plan with “a fee in lieu of” could be the answer.
Here are a few links you can go gather your own information. The Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency and the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials are both worthy of this topic and I believe with a push from our towns more can be accomplished. Here are links below where one can gather information:
Housatonic Valley Regional Plan of Conservation and Development CHAPTER 12: PEDESTRIAN ACCESS
Wayne Addessi is a lifelong resident Connecticut and resides in Newtown. He is also a business owner in Downtown Ridgefield CT.