Greenwich Year One Pedal: Attaching a Bike Seat to the Table


News from Pedal Greenwich

Some of the founding organizers of Pedal Greenwich at the Community Bike Fest in September.

If you’ve been cycling around Greenwich for a while you know we are an outlier compared to our neighbors. From Mamaroneck to Westport, just about every other town has more streets, signs, and infrastructure suitable for bicycles and pedestrians.

Part of the reason is that there has been no voice for people who choose to ride in anything other than a car for over a decade. This past year a group of us decided that had to change.

Pedal Greenwich started out as a one-day event in 2020, asking everyone to escape lockdown for a moment and enjoy being outside, being self-sufficient.

We want to help everyone, including drivers, to get around more easily

In 2021, we decided to start a new movement to make Greenwich safe, friendly and connected. At a high level, we want to make it easier for everyone, whether they have a car or not. After all, our streets are a shared resource, and drivers one morning may be cyclists or pedestrians the next.

But is the urge to cycle here really new? Chances are everyone in Greenwich has a bike in their garage. The problem is, once you’ve dusted off and inflated the tires, it’s hard to get anywhere beyond a few blocks. Our neighborhoods are surrounded by imposing crossing roads; our schools, parks, shores and downtown areas are cut off from all homes except the closest homes.

Chances are you will have to toss your family’s bikes in the SUV just so you can get somewhere. not be in the SUV.

“In Greenwich, you have to throw your family’s bikes in the SUV just so you can get somewhere so you’re not in the SUV.”

We do not have cycle paths. We don’t have bicycle signs. We do not have bicycle racks. We don’t really have cycle paths. We don’t even have a plan to change that for the foreseeable future. Our city officials were mostly silent on the bike during the local elections last November, and the ideas thrown by those who swept away key leadership positions were anemic: “safety training, distracted driving control and road maintenance. “

So we’re really in first gear and pedaling uphill. But thanks to your active engagement, this year we got a bike seat at the table. (Excuse the mixed metaphors.)

In 2021, a study on cycling failed. But he caught the attention of city officials

In March, Pedal Greenwich asked his friends and neighbors to ask the Board of Estimate and Taxation, which finalizes our city’s budget, to include $ 50,000 for a study of a safe, east-west cycle path through Greenwich. You’ve sent over 300 messages about the issue, right after the Julian Curtiss School comments.

He failed on a party line divided by a decisive vote. Yet the word was that people wanted change. First Selectman Fred Camillo, who did not back the measure, created a cycling task force in June and appointed two members of Pedal Greenwich, as well as two other community representatives and five city officials.

“You can help a lot by contacting the First Selectman now to request a cycling infrastructure position within the budget. “

Since then, the task force has not seen Camillo at any of its public meetings, and members push once again for dollar commitment for cycling infrastructure in next year’s budget. (You can help immensely by writing the first Selectman here.)

But, that bicycle seat is at the table. A city commission is now seeking different funding to fund the cycling study, and we have cited your letters and emails about it in a letter of support as proof that this is something Greenwich wants.

In September we hosted a community bike party in Old Greenwich. Our local bike shops participated and other exhibitors included Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich EMS, Greenwich Police and Greenwich High School students. A number of our municipal, state and federal elected officials spoke, including our First Selectman.

We launched a new website, created social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and put together a list of about 900 newsletters.

The organizers of Pedal Greenwich hosted a half-day strategy review in November. In 2022, we must build our network of supporters to interest the municipal authorities.

This fall, our circle of leaders began reaching out to relevant officials to advocate for the inclusion of bicycle access in ongoing public projects. This includes the new Eastern Civic Center project and a new main entrance to Greenwich High School. Unsurprisingly, we hear that planners did not sufficiently consider bicycles and other non-auto accesses.

Two of our members who also sit on the representative municipal assembly have secured seats on the RTM transport committee, which should take the lead in assignments for all pedestrian, transit and cycling initiatives.

Recently, we launched a strategic and organizational review to set goals for 2022. We will talk about this in more detail in January. We already know this has to be the year we come together and visibly demonstrate the active and committed support from each of you in making Greenwich safe, friendly and connected.

Don’t hesitate to tell your neighbors about Pedal Greenwich. Ask them to Join us and our mailing list. It’s free, of course, because we’re just a bunch of neighbors, and each new name is one more reason our city takes us seriously.

Also think about volunteering, it increases our ability to make a difference. We have a bike seat for you now, please volunteer and help pedal forward.

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