Milford looks to connect, add bike lanes

MILFORD - Officials are working to better connect the bike trails throughout the city and make Milford even more accessible for bikes.

“We try to be a bicycle friendly community,” said Steven Johnson, assistant public works director. “One of the things we put together was Bike Milford and bike month. We had people bike to each one of the locations to get their passport stamps and encouraged people they could use their bicycle as a form of transportation.”

Johnson said they do want to add more bike lanes in the city and have a connected pathway through places in Milford.

“Over in Silver Sands and Walnut Beach, there is a pathway that connects them,” said Johnson. “In June, we had the police commissioners approve a bike lane on Meadowside Road that will go the entire lane of the strip.”

But the goal for Johnson is to have all the bike lanes in the city connect to give people more access to ride their bikes.

“This takes time,” said Johnson. “Resident feedback is wonderful, especially those who bicycle a lot and ultimately it is done with our traffic division, who will do the assessment and study to see if it is safe and possible to add a lane in. Ultimately to approve it or not is the police commission.”

PeopleForBikes, a national bicycling advocacy organization and the U.S. Bicycle Industry’s trade association, is also pushing for making it easier to bike around the country.

It provides an annual score for cities that looks at bicycle infrastructure and gauges the cycling environment, said Ryan Birkicht, PeopleforBikes director of enterprise and partnerships.

New Haven had a city rating of 26, meaning it ranked 453 out of 1105 cities PeopleForBikes tracked for its 2022 report. And in a midsize city, it ranked 202 out of 455. In Bridgeport, the city rating was nine, meaning it ranked 966 out of 1105 cities. In midsize city rankings, it stands at 408 out of 455.

PeopleForBikes didn’t have a score for Milford.

“We have staff all over the country focused on pro-bike legislation in Washington D.C. at both the national and state level,” said Birkicht.

Recently, PeopleForBikes announced the release of a new program called Arrive Happy!

The program is built around the digital platform Ride Spot and encourages more people to ride bikes by helping them find bike routes.

“We also have a department in our organization helping cities develop bike infrastructure to increase safety for cyclists everywhere,” said Birkicht.

Birkicht said there has been a large increase in bicycle sales and usage since the pandemic began.

“A lot of cities have started to develop infrastructure to support those needs,” he said. “There is also a trend in electric bikes in North America. Electric bikes have been a big deal in Europe for many years, but they are starting to come into North America as well and infrastructure is being built to support those as well.”