Community supports walking and bike-riding
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Mon., May. 23, 2011
To celebrate National Bike Month, South Windsor Walk and Wheel Ways hosted a community bike ride on Sunday, May 15. The ride was lead by SWWWW members Jeff Degan and Skip Bourke, along with officer David Gesualdi. Those not already wearing safety vests were given loaners form SWWWW co-chair Ginny Hole. Despite the rain, a dozen hearty residents came out for the ride.
The same afternoon, Mayor John Pelkey made a wet entrance at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bike lanes along Sand Hill Road. The bike lanes run from Sullivan Avenue to Ellington Road and include the bike pictogram stencil, as well as “Share the Road” signs.
“I thought it was a worthy event to support,” said Jeffrey Moss, a long-time street rider, but first-time SWWWW event participant. “As somebody who rides on roads a lot, if there’s room for a bike lane, it makes you more safe,” said Moss.
According to Ray Favreau, director of the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, SWWWW is a sub-committee of the Parks and Recreation Committee. “This is part of the master plan to make South Windsor more bike- and walk-friendly,” said Favreau about the committee and its efforts. By having members of the SWWWW active in the planning and zoning process, bike lanes and sidewalks are becoming part of the discussion for town, residential and business development.
“I think it’s great they’re promoting healthy lifestyles in town,” said new SWWWW member Lia Huang, who is also the senior transportation planner at the Capital Region Council of Government. “I’m excited to be part of SWWWW,” said Huang. From her professional experience, Huang said, “It’s one of the most active organizations within our [CRCOG] region.
SWWWW also hosted a ride-to-school event on Friday, May 13. “It was a success,” said Gesualdi. “Lots of kids showed up.” He stressed the importance of making sure the bicycle is properly equipped before starting on any ride. Gesualdi also visits the area schools to present safety programs and discuss the importance of wearing a helmet. It is state law that all children 14 years old or younger wear a bike helmet.
Rosalie Rioux recently joined SWWWW because of the group’s efforts to secure the bike lane on Sand Hill Road. “I’m a bike rider and a hiker,” said Rioux, “so I want to encourage it in town.”
South Windsor Walk and Wheel Ways will be participating in several upcoming town events. On Sunday, June 5, they will host a table from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Major Michael Donnelly Land Preserve in conjunction with the state’s Trail Days. SWWWW members will also be on hand at the June 11 Strawberry Fest. Beginning on Thursday, June 30, SWWWW will host the pre-concert bike rides, which will start at 5:30 p.m. at Evergreen Walk.
Community members are also invited to the upcoming meeting of Capital Region Council of Government to discuss sidewalks and other pedestrian and bicycle-related issues. This group will be meeting on June 14 from noon to 2 p.m. in the South Windsor police station’s training room.
According to SWWWW member Bob Dickinson, there is an unaffiliated group of riders who bicycle Tuesday nights, leaving the Plaza at Buckland Hills parking lot at 6 p.m. The group meets behind Joann Fabrics and heads out for a couple hours of biking. Dickinson hopes that there will eventually be two sets of riders, to accommodate the more experienced riders as well as those who are looking for a less-intense group ride.
For more information on the South Windsor Walk and Wheel Ways, visit the town website at http://recreation.southwindsor.org/walkandwheelwaysfolder/index. This site provides information about SWWWW, upcoming events and the town’s master plan, as well as links to various trail and park maps.