Bike lockers add to city’s bike-friendly image

Last fall, the city installed 24 bike lockers beside the train station, another in several bike initiatives Mayor Benjamin Blake has pursued in recent years.

The prefabricated, lockable blue structures protect commuter bicycles, as well as mopeds and scooters, for commuters and others traveling in the city. They are free to use: People just need to bring their own locks.

The project was initiated about three years ago, Mayor Blake said, funded by a traffic congestion reduction grant.

The grant paid about $56,000 of the bill, or 80%, and the city paid the rest, about $14,000.

“People feel more comfortable with the additional secure space,” Blake said. “People who take the train are not always just keeping the bikes for a few minutes or hours, but at least a full day.”

City engineers also worked on the project. Although the lockers are prefabricated, engineers surveyed the area and poured the concrete pads, according to Henry Jadach, executive director of the Milford Transit District.

Jadach said he also favors the idea of installing bike-friendly structures.

“The only drawback is that it requires maintenance,” he said, referring to graffiti that is routinely removed. “Otherwise, it’s a great idea. They are well used, and will probably be used more extensively at some point.”

Julie Nash, Milford’s economic and community development director, who was instrumental in installing the lockers, said they have been very well received, and the city has received thank- you letters from people who use them.

Nash added that a local restaurant recently called, asking about the possibility of installing bike racks. The town is now scheduled to install four bike racks there.

“There were bikes strewn over the sidewalks, so it will be a good thing,” Nash said. “We are glad businesses are calling.”

In the mayor’s seven years in office, he has supported the installation of bike racks and bike lanes, including the contraflow bike lane behind the Milford Public Library. The East Coast Greenway Alliance teamed up with Milford in 2015 to create the bike lane at Wilcox Park, which was the state’s first contraflow bike lane. Contraflow bicycle lanes are designed to allow bicyclists to ride in the opposite direction of motor vehicle traffic. They convert a one-way traffic street into a two-way street: one direction for motor vehicles and bikes, and the other for bikes only.

Blake also supported the paving of Nettleton Road to create an area for biking and walking between Silver Sands and Walnut Beach.

Blake said Milford was the first municipality in Connecticut to have a designated bike lane, which was established in the early 1970s on North Street.