It’s easier to bike in New Haven now. You can cruise alongside Wharf Drive for five comfortably scenic miles. Also, barriers protect you from oncoming traffic. So, that’s a plus.
New Haven Independent went along for the inaugural run of Connecticut’s first protected bike lane. Honestly, it looks pretty spectacular. The path spans from Brewery Street, near IKEA, to Long Wharf Drive. Then, the path deviates onto the Long Wharf Nature Preserve for another mile.
Basically, the ride treats you to waterfront views throughout your loop between City Hall and City Point.
Also, motorists riding along that loop no longer have to deal with bicyclists on the road. So, that’s pretty awesome for anyone who’s ever had to share the road with a flock of them.
Basically, everyone now has their own space. And, by the looks of it, no one’s complaining. Actually, everyone says this has been a long time coming.
Matthew Feiner, who founded Elm City Cycling, told the Independent:
“It’s so visible and so dynamic. It’s more than just a bumper sticker that says, ‘Hey, watch out for bikes,’ […] For a New England city to have this, it’s unprecedented.”
The owner of Devil’s Gear Bike Shop went on to say how the lanes makes sure everyone shares the road. Nothing’s worse than honking your horn because a cyclist wants to bike in the middle of your lane.
The loop serves everyone from hobby riders, to pros, to people simply using another method to get to work.
Now, there’s plans for Forbes Avenue, over the Tomlinson Bridge, and on Edgewood Avenue from Forest Road to Park Street on the table. So, if you love heading over to Lighthouse Point Park, getting there without a car will become much easier in the future.
In addition, Hartford expressed interest in constructing its own protected bike lanes.
However, they’re running into traffic problems, especially with speed limits. While officials reduced the speed limit on Wharf Drive to 25MPH, Hartford officials aren’t having the same luck.
But, as more people explore reducing their emissions or those who simply want to increase their physical activity, these routes are a godsend.
This removes the fight for road supremacy. Let’s be real, bikes and cars have a hard time co-existing on the road. Depending on who you ask, the other tends to always be in the wrong. This takes that fight out of the equation by drawing a line and telling each party which side is theirs.
Should the state put up more dedicated bike lanes? Do the benefits of constructing them outweigh the possible consequences?
More importantly, would you use them?
I did and, honestly, I enjoyed them. When I studied abroad in Belgium, bike paths were EVERYWHERE. Within a month of using them, I didn’t think they were that weird.
Then again, more people own bikes than cars in the EU. So, that accommodation is more out of necessity than courtesy. But, it did allow for harmony on the roads.
Maybe it’s time for Connecticut to experience that same harmony.