Although Farmington was turned down for the designation of "bicycle friendly" from the League of American Bicyclist this fall, the town is taking next steps to attain it by forming a committee of interested citizens and Town Council members.
Farmington was awarded an honorable mention from the league and given a feedback report for suggested steps to promote safe bicycle use and increase the town's chances of being named a Bicycle Friendly Community in the future. The report “lays out a blueprint for future action by presenting a list of several suggested initiatives categorized by Engineering, Education, Encouragement and Enforcement, and further broken down into low-hanging-fruit and long term goals,” according to the town manager’s report.
To pursue the plan, the Town Council moved to establish a bicycle advisory committee, composed of Farmington residents and town council members. Any resident who is interested in participating is invited to contact the Town Hall at 860-675-2350.
“Key to improving our status is having a group of citizens committed to looking at things to help our community be more bicycle friendly and be the advocate for those things. That’s what this committee’s about,” explained councilor John Vibert, who is on the Green Efforts Subcommittee overseeing the issue. “Other bicycle friendly towns have done it this way. It’s a proven way of moving forward.”
Council Chairman Jeff Hogan said that many in the community have reached out to him to express support and excitement for the project.
“There’s a real excitement for this from people who cycle to work and see a huge opportunity here - not only to start following guidelines to make shopping, etc. more accessible to cyclists but to make it a way of life,” Hogan said, himself a lifelong cyclist.
He said he might be interested in seeing more citizens on the committee in order to add the expertise of more Farmington cyclists.
“There are some really interesting opportunities to tap into the brain trust of lifelong cyclists and what they have to deal with on daily basis,” he said.
In addition, Farmington Chief of Engineering Services Matt Blume and Police Chief Paul Melanson will join the committee as non-voting members.