The city of New London is in the process of getting new bicycle routes that officials say will make it easier for residents and commuters to make their way around the city safely.
By next spring, the goal is for cyclists to safely be able to get from this southern point of the city at Ocean Beach Park, all the way up to Connecticut College and U.S. Coast Guard Academy at the north end of the city.
“Our town is so small it’s not worth getting the car out all the time it’s easier to just hop on the bike,” said New London Mayor Michael Passero (D).
In this shoreline city, even he rides a bike to work.
“The city is very walkable very bikeable so we’re just putting The official imprint on that,” added Passero.
New London's new bike plan is already being executed by its planning department, and is the result of a years-long initiative designed to make it easier for cyclists to get around the city safely.
“We actually go out often as we live locally and we enjoy the water,” said Noel Nieves from New London.
Nieves rides into downtown often with his daughter, Ariana.
“It’s really fun,” said Ariana of their father-daughter bike excursions.
But Noel says the fun comes with its dangers, too. Narrow roads, increasing traffic, and construction all make him more alert.
“I just tell Ariana, ‘stay close,’” Nieves told NBC Connecticut.
The city’s new bike plan includes new signs around the city clearly identifying bike routes and showing distances to city landmarks.
Additional signage is being added on roads known as “sharrows”—or roads where bikes and vehicles share the road.
Plus, a separate bike lane will be added along Williams Street from Hodges Square to the rear of Connecticut College.
City planning officials said they are trying to make the transition from existing bike lanes, like on Ocean and Montauk Avenues, to shared roads safer.
And although the ideal plan would be bike lanes around the city—narrow roads—especially in the older parts of town, don’t have the room for it. But the city hopes the expanded signage and accessibility will give cyclists an overall safer and more enjoyable ride.
“I think it’s good to see the city moving in the right direction,” said Kevin Miner from New London, who rides his bike with his wife every weekend.
“If these new bike lanes prove to be safe, I’ll be using them a lot more I’ll be biking a lot more,” said Mike Quaglia, a commuter from Waterford.
The city will hold two public information sessions this week at two local cycle shops for those with questions on this new plan.
Officials say the funding for the plan comes from this year’s public works budget and city real estate revenue.