A portion of Broad Street will be closed for 24 hours beginning tomorrow evening so that milling and paving work can be completed as part of this area’s reconstruction project. One of the improvements to the section of Broad Street between Farmington and Capitol Avenue will be bicycle lanes on both sides of the street. There is currently no bike lane on this stretch of road.
Nothing of value comes easily.
The City has reportedly done some pushing to get approval from the State.
Because this stretch of Broad Street includes a highway entrance ramp, the logistics are trickier but the need for such lanes is greater. This area is gridlocked during rush hour, with motorists focused on access to the Interstate. It is common to see vehicles turning right on red without stopping first.
The plan is to paint the bike lanes on this street green, making them more visible to motorists and making their intended usage clear. Kevin Burnham, Director of Public Works, says this painting aspect of the project should be treated as an experiment. He wants to see how much wear-and-tear impact the paint and has no plans to have all of Hartford’s bicycle lanes painting green. Not yet. Because this section of street is being reconfigured anyway, it makes sense to implement these other changes now.
Another experimental item here will be a bike box at the end of Broad Street for those turning onto Capitol Avenue or continuing along Broad. The Department of Public Works has said this will be the first bike box for Hartford. The advanced stop box gives cyclists space at the front of intersections to be more visible, with the goal of avoiding collisions that occur when the cyclists is continuing straight while the motorist makes a right turn, hitting the cyclist.
The bike lanes and box are only marked by paint — not concrete barriers — so motorist education is key to having these changes work as intended. Motorists have been spotted driving in existing, marked bike lanes elsewhere.
There are also plans to improve the section of East Coast Greenway between Bushnell Park and the State Armory. It is unclear which entity — City of Hartford, State of Connecticut, or Amtrak — is responsible for this. Someone from the DOT did not even realize that the pedestrian bridge above the I-84 entrance ramp from Capitol Avenue was in existence. At the edge of Bushnell Park the sidewalk is in disrepair. There are plans to mend this. If the repairs do not happen in upcoming weeks, they will need to wait until Spring. Snow, sand, and debris removal are other concerns with this section of the East Coast Greenway. Better lighting has been requested for this area.
Recently, signs were posted marking the East Coast Greenway. Previously, the Hartford section of the route was indicated almost exclusively through painted arrows on the pavement.