Shelton was ranked in the bottom half of Connecticut towns when it comes to bicycle and pedestrian friendliness, according to Bike Walk Connecticut.
Shelton was ranked 92nd out of the state’s 169 municipalities in the nonprofit organization’s first town-by-town ranking system.
The rankings are based on an online, statewide public opinion survey that was done this spring and open to anyone who lives or works in Connecticut.
Also factored into the rankings were municipal leadership and engagement efforts — such as whether cities or towns have bicycle and pedestrian master plans; citizen task forces or advisory groups; complete streets policies (designing roads for all users); and if they’ve made any public outreach efforts related to cycling, walking or complete streets.
Simsbury topped the state
In the survey, the top-ranked towns were Simsbury (1st), New Haven (2nd), New Britain (3rd), Glastonbury (4th), and Middletown (5th).
Towns near Shelton were ranked as follows: Milford (14th), Stratford (25th), Monroe (67th), Derby (79th), Orange (84th), Trumbull (99th), and Oxford and Seymour (both 126th, which was last place due to ties).
A state law on ‘complete streets’
The survey is expected to be conducted annually as part of Bike Walk Connecticut’s new five-year initiative to make it safer and easier to walk and bike by having “complete streets” across Connecticut.
Complete streets make it easier and safer for people to get around on foot or by bike, so they can be more physically active, according to the organization.
The state’s complete streets law requires pedestrians, cyclists and transit users to be routinely considered in the planning, designing, construction and operation of all roads.
‘It’s an economic development issue’
“We want this project (the rankings) to encourage cities and towns to take a really robust approach to complete streets and being bike- and walk-friendly,” said Kelly Kennedy, executive director of Bike Walk Connecticut.
“Being able to get around safely by bike or on foot isn’t just a fad or a health issue or environmental issue — it’s an economic development issue,” Kennedy said. “Towns that are bike- and walk-friendly are great places to live, work, shop and play.”
Bike Walk Connecticut has also started to develop an online repository for complete streets resources.
Survey funding and the organization
The survey and rankings project received financial support from the Connecticut Department of Public Health through a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program for promoting health and to prevent and control chronic diseases.
Bike Walk Connecticut is a statewide, member-supported nonprofit organization that works to make Connecticut a better place to bicycle and walk. Learn more at www.bikewalkct.org.