West Hartford’s ‘Complete Streets’ Policy Ranked No. 2 in Country

A bike facilities plan is part of West Hartford's Complete Streets policy. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

Smart Growth America included West Hartford in its ranking of the ‘Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015.’

By Ronni Newton

A bike facilities plan is part of West Hartford's Complete Streets policy. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A bike facilities plan is part of West Hartford’s Complete Streets policy. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The Complete Streets Policy adopted by the West Hartford Town Council last July has been rated no. 2 in the nation by Smart Growth America. There were 82 Complete Streets policies passed in 2015.

“It’s nice to see the hard work that you and the staff put in,” Town Manager Ron Van Winkle told the Town Council as he announced the ranking last Tuesday.

West Hartford’s Complete Streets policy, which was developed over the past several years, earned 94.4 points out of a possible 100 points. Reading, PA, took first place, scoring a perfect 100 points. According to Smart Growth America, there have been a total of 898 Complete Streets policies passed nationwide.

“The Town of West Hartford is honored and excited to have been selected by Smart Growth America for having one of the best Complete Streets policies of 2015,” Deputy Mayor Shari Cantor said in a statement. “Our Complete Streets Policy is the result of a process that began in 2009 with the adoption of the Town’s 2009-2019 Plan of Conservation and Development,” Cantor added.

West Hartford’s Complete Streets policy was created using best practices from the American Planning Association and from peer communities, and its creation was a collaborative effort of the Town Council as well as community groups like the Bicycle Advisory Committee. The policy includes rights-of-ways (roads, sidewalks, etc.) that are planned, designed, constructed, operated and maintained in such a way as to enable safe, comfortable and convenient access by users of all ages and abilities, including but not limited to pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and drivers.

“A Complete Streets approach is about helping everyone stay safe on the road – no matter if they’re walking, biking, taking transit, using an assistive device, or driving,” Emiko Atherton, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, said in a statement. “Passing a Complete Streets policy is one of the best actions communities can take toward achieving these goals, and hundreds of communities across the country now have these kinds of policies in place. What’s even more exciting is that the language of these policies continues to improve – and that means streets that work better for everyone.”

“It is my hope that with proper implementation, West Hartford’s transportation network will continue to become safer, more accessible, more comfortable and more convenient for all transportation users,” said Cantor.

Click here for more information about the winning policies, evaluation criteria, and the full rankings.

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