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The Ad-Hoc Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory (BPAC) safety awareness committee is asking residents along Seaview Terrace, Middle Beach Road, and Middle Beach Road West to consider placing one of these signs in their front lawn to help promote safety for all during the summer season. (Photo courtesy of Ellen Weiss )
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The warm weather is finally here and with it comes the hordes of cars, bikers, and pedestrians out on the street. Knowing the beaches are a big draw for residents and visitors alike, the Ad-Hoc Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory (BPAC) safety awareness committee is unveiling a safety campaign targeted at the roads along and leading to the beach.
BPAC has been active in town for more than a year now. According to the charge of the committee, “the primary emphasis of the plan shall be to improve the town’s facilities and infrastructure that are critical to making participation in these activities safer and easier, and to promote public participation in the bicycle and pedestrian planning process. In addition to development of a bicycle and pedestrian master plan, [the committee] shall also advise the Board of Selectmen on funding, projects, programs, and policies [that] help promote bicycling and walking as a means of transportation, recreation, and fitness.”
Committee members include Sean Alexander, Bruce Beebe, John Biehn, Jason Engelhart, Liann Herdle, Virginia Raff (chair), Lynn Stechschulte, David Tommaso, and Ellen Weiss. Student advisors include Sam Hauser and Isaac Lerner. Committee alternates are Toni Davis and Tony West. Town of Madison liaisons are Director of Planning & Economic Development David Anderson and Madison Police Department Captain Joseph Race.
Madison BPAC was recently recognized as one of the top 10 Complete Streets policies in America. Complete Streets is a movement across the nation designed to support integrated transportation networks that support “all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities, motorists, transit vehicles, emergency responders, users and operators of public transportation, seniors, children, youth, and families,” according to the policy.
Fresh off that win, committee member Ellen Weiss said the groups safety awareness committee wanted to look at promoting safer practices in one of Madison more problematic and congested areas this summer.
The committee created numerous signs with safety tips for pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars. The signs are 12 x 16 and have safety tips like “Walk against traffic” and “Bike with traffic” on them. Weiss said the hope is residents will place one of these signs on their lawn to make these safety tips visible to all.
“The BPAC safety awareness committee sent out postcards to residents along the popular shoreline walking route today,” said on June 1, adding that “133 of these cards went out today to Seaview Terrace, Middle Beach Road, and Middle Beach Road West residents. This is our first targeted area, so we’ll see how it goes.”
If residents in that area receive a postcard and would like a sign, contact information for the committee is listed on the postcard. A committee member will come and place a sign on a first come, first served basis.
Weiss said since this committee doesn’t have a budget, only about 40 signs have been printed as of now. However, she said if the demand is there, the committee will look into creating more.
In addition, Weiss said the committee ran this idea by First Selectman Tom Banisch and the Madison Police Department before reaching out to the public. She said both parties support the initiative.
“Tom thought it was a great idea,” she said. “The plan is to do it during the summer season, but I mean [Madison Police Captain] Joe Race thought we should put one in town about bicycling on the road because of the concerns about bikes on the sidewalk. So maybe we will hit downtown at some point.”
Weiss said residents she could take a look at the signs and constructive opinions are welcome.
“I think it’s a worthwhile initiative,” she said. “We just want people to be safe.”
For more information on the committee, visit Bikewalkmadisonct.org.
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