Thursday, March 29, 2012

Support grows for a safer Calf Pasture Beach Road

The proposal for Calf Pasture Beach Road will create car-free lanes along both sides of the road. This would not only create a safe space for cyclists, but also improve pedestrian safety, especially for the kids walking to Marvin Elementary.

The Calf Pasture Beach bike lanes have been gathering some serious support. The General Manager of the Cove Marina, the Principal at Marvin Elementary and residents of the neighborhood along Calf Pasture Beach Road have all signed their approval. The ball is now in City Hall's court, to hear the community's concerns, review Livable Norwalk's plan, amend if necessary and take action. The future for Calf Pasture Beach Road must address the four big safety issues identified on this road.
  1. Narrow sidewalks squeeze pedestrians close to fast-moving traffic.
  2. Marvin Elementary children are at risk from both the narrow sidewalks and having to cross four lanes of traffic.
  3. The current road design encourages high speeds and even drag racing, a long-standing neighborhood complaint.
  4. The road is unsafe for cyclists, despite the beach being a popular recreational destination.
Here's a complete run-down of all the support the initiative has received.

Dozens of families rallied for the bike lanes last October.

Last October, the Mayor, Councilman Nick Kydes and State Rep Gail Lavielle joined dozens of Norwalk families at a rally for a safer Calf Pasture Beach Road. Since then momentum has built for the project, with support coming from every direction.

After a post on the Calf Pasture project from this blog in January, an online petition quickly gathered 225 signatures along with inspiring messages on why Norwalkers are supporting the bike lanes.

and on..and on...and on... You can read them all here.
The plan was further clarified with a pick-up and drop-off plan for Marvin Elementary and improved access for the Cove Marina.

The General Manager of the Cove Marina, Steve Babbitz, signed his support.

The Principal of Marvin Elementary, Myra Tortorello, held a meeting with Marvin parents then sent a letter to the Mayor on March 21...
Having heard about the plan, I thought that it was important for me, as principal of the school, to understand how Marvin parents felt about such a possibility. At Marvin’s February PTO Executive Board meeting the plan was reviewed and discussed. The support was overwhelming! As a result, the topic was placed on the agenda for the March School-wide PTO meeting.
I sent out a flyer just before the meeting so that all of our parents would know that the topic would be discussed at the meeting. Not only did we get our usual parent attendees, but new parents, who rarely, if ever, attend such meetings, came to the March meeting and shared that they were there specifically to lend their support to the project. 
Parents at the meeting shared the following reasons for supporting a bicycle path:
  • Bicycle paths have been shown to slow down adjacent traffic and that would be safer for all Marvin’s walkers.
  • A bicycle path would provide a wider buffer between children and others walking on the sidewalk and the cars on the road. Again, this is a safety benefit.
  • A bicycle path would encourage bicycle riding – a good form of exercise for children and adults. For children, it would be a life-long exercise outlet.
  • A bicycle path would add a strong neighborhood component that would bring residents out together and a neighborly atmosphere is desirable.
I could go on, but I think this gives you a synopsis of the Marvin School community’s positive response to the proposed bicycle path....I think that the important point is that this community – the Marvin community – wants the bicycle path.
Finally Paul Zullo, a Spar Road resident, polled 23 of his neighbors on Spar Road, Island Drive and Calf Pasture Beach Road. 22 of the 23 signed their support, eager for the safety and recreational opportunities this project will offer.

Many civic projects run up against a natural resistance to change, but not this one. The way all sides have come together is dramatic and overwhelming. There is not another project in Norwalk with this level of support.

Hopefully the city will respond to these entreaties by putting paint to pavement this spring. Marvin Elementary families, neighborhood residents and Norwalk's cyclists have waited long enough!

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