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Stamford Rallies for Bike Lanes on High Ridge Rd

A group of around 70 gather at Rippowam MS

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Stamford, CT | Added on June 14, 2014 At 10:02 PM

Stamford’s most passionate cyclists are rallying here at the town’s middle school, making their request loud and clear: They want bike lanes throughout the city and they want them now.

 "So many people looking down while they're driving - in town and they're going 30 or 40 mph.  It's downright frightening," said Kevin O'Shea.

The rally is fighting to have bike lanes placed here on High Ridge Road, where people drive at least 40mph if not faster.

"I have taken my life in my hand and ridden on High Ridge Road," said Jerry Silber.

For three years now, Silber’s group – known as People Friendly Stamford – has been advocating for improved bicycling and walking conditions.

 "We need to create an environment that's not just for the experienced rider, but works for everybody," he said.

 Their mission gained steam this past April when Stamford government released a study recommending bike lanes to relieve traffic congestion. They say Transportation officials would have to repaint the road way here, shortening each driving lane from 12 feet to 11 feet, bringing the shoulders to five feet wide for cyclists. And, today’s rally is looking to turn those recommendations into a reality.

 "What we've known from history, many towns do lots of studies but they often end up on a shelf. They don't do action," said Silber

 Other cities across the U-S and even around the globe have embraced biking, turning it into a city-wide culture. Some offer bike sharing kiosks. And the response from residents has been quite positive.

Portland’s National Institute of Transportation and Communities has studied the affect of bike lanes and from its finding, it says: a separation from traffic not only encourages existing bikers to choose that route; but it even encourages new bikers to cycle when they wouldn’t have done so before. And, many here in Stamford say that same kind of reaction could be unleashed.

"It makes it easier for people to make the choice to not get on a motor vehicle that will take a spot that someone else really needs," said Michael Norris.  

The group hopes to hold another rally in the near future, but they do say they will bring their new information regarding their support to the town government as soon as today. 

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