Hartford’s Asylum Avenue to get ‘road diet’ to make street safer


Hartford — The proposed redesign of Hartford’s Asylum Avenue narrows the corridor, adds a central turn lane, and includes a cycle facility from Prospect Avenue to Sumner Street.

The changes are part of a plan known as the “Road Diet” to try to make roads safer by reducing vehicle traffic and adding options for cyclists and pedestrians.

Hartford senior planner Grace Yee said: “In one case, the intersection of Asylum and Sigourney is among the top 10 collision-rate intersections in the city.”

According to the UConn Crash Repository, between January 1, 2020 and November 30, 2022, there were 153 crashes on Asylum Avenue, 84 of which occurred at intersections.

Asylum Avenue now has four lanes with two in either direction. A proposed road diet includes his two lanes with a center lane for right turns.

“The goal is to slow down and calm the traffic,” Yi said. “It’s a place that essentially slows people down because of motorists and other driving behavior.”

Yi explained that narrowing the lane width by a few feet will make drivers pay more attention when trying to stay between lanes. The wider the lane, the faster you can drive.

If the proposed plan goes forward, road restrictions would make Atwood Street a one-way street with alternating parking and add bus and bike lanes between Willard and Sigourney streets. The stretch between Prospect Avenue and Sumner Street includes bike facilities ranging from buffered bike lanes to shallow, depending on road width.

The bike refresh is part of the city’s bike master plan, first adopted in 2019.

“The plan recommended many streets in Hartford’s bike network,” said Yee. “There was mention of an opportunity to separate bike lanes on the street, especially Asylum Avenue. For the most part, we tried to incorporate that recommendation into the design.”

The city has solicited feedback from residents on what they would like to see in the improved Asylum Avenue. There was a public information hearing on December 15, and another hearing tentatively scheduled for January. Residents can also send information to safestreets@hartford.gov.

Mary Cockrum, a longtime resident of the Frog Hollow area of ​​Hartford, attended the meeting on December 15th. She regularly bikes around the city and is familiar with the dangers of Asylum Her Avenue.

“It’s terrible even in the car,” Cockrum said. “And biking is very dangerous. There are large sections that cannot be crossed by pedestrians.”

After attending the conference, Cockram said some of the bike lane suggestions in the road diet plan may need some work. For example, his one location where shallows are planned rather than full bike lanes, Cockram considers dangerous.

“For now, it’s clear that the people involved in the plan aren’t riding bikes that much,” Cockrum said. “The bike lane is at the north end of the street. As you approach Prospect Street, it gets steeper. It’s a bad place to remove and make shallow water.”

Yee and Owen Deutsch, the city’s main planners, stressed that the proposal targets safer roads for everyone, including regular cyclists like Cockrum.

“This is part of a city-wide effort to make cycling safe for people in the city,” says Deutsch. “There are many things to do in that regard, and this is one of them.”

Moreover, the plans have not yet been finalized. Yi and other planners from the city’s Development Services Planning Office and Zoning Department plan to use the winter to gather public input on the project. Full-fledged construction could start as early as spring.

This project will be funded by items from the Budget for Traffic Calming and Bicycle and Pedestrian Initiatives.

“Road safety has a lot to do with road design,” Cockrum said. “As a driver or as a rider, the design can give you all sorts of clues about what to do on the road. How wide is this lane? If it’s a narrow lane, lane, be more careful.”

emily.disalvo@hearstmediact.com



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