Wilton ranked 101st in Connecticut for bike- and walk-friendliness

Out of 169 Connecticut municipalities, Wilton has been ranked the 101st walk- and bike-friendly municipality in the state, according to the results of Bike Walk Connecticut's first-ever statewide bike- and walk-friendly survey.

Based on Bike Walk Connecticut's survey results, the five most bike- and walk-friendly communities in Connecticut are: Simsbury, New Haven, New Britain, Glastonbury and Middletown.

Bike Walk Connecticut's survey launched in May and was publicly made available to anyone who works and lives in Connecticut. The not-for-profit organization reported that approximately 2,200 people completed either a bikability survey, walkability survey or both.

According to Bike Walk Connecticut, the public opinion survey was based on bikeability and walkability checklists created by:

  • The Federal Highway Administration.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The National Center for Safe Routes to School.
  • The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

Bike Walk Connecticut reported receiving public opinion survey responses from 155 of Connecticut's 169 municipalities. The public opinion survey responses were equally weighted to make up the "bike walk friendly score." Wilton received a bike walk friendly score of 43.4 out of 100.

Municipal leadership and engagement

Municipal leadership and engagement scores, as reported to Bike Walk Connecticut staff by municipal staff or elected officials via an online or phone survey, are based on the presence or absence of:

  • A bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
  • A Bicycle and pedestrian task force or similar group within a municipality.
  • Any public outreach efforts on complete streets or cycling and pedestrian issues.
  • A municipal complete streets policy.

Scores for municipal leadership and engagement were received from 121 of the 169 municipalities. Wilton received a municipal leadership and engagement score of zero.

Each municipality's combined final score was weighted by their public opinion, municipal leadership and engagement scores. The town of Wilton received a final score of 21.7.

Complete the Streets

Bike Walk Connecticut plans to conduct its bike- and walk-friendly survey on an annual basis as part of its five-year initiative to make Connecticut municipalities safer and easier to walk and bike, according to the organization's website.

Bike Walk Connecticut Executive Director Kelly Kennedy said Bike Walk Connecticut's "Complete the Streets" initiative encourages cities and towns to "take a really robust approach to complete streets and [be] bike- and walk-friendly."

"Being able to get around safely by bike or on foot isn't just a fad or a health issue or environmental issue. It's an economic development issue. Towns that are bike- and walk-friendly are great places to live, work, shop and play," said Ms. Kennedy.

Additionally, she said, money can be saved by greater numbers of people walking and biking, which can add up to big benefits for local economies.

"Gas prices are only going up, and the more money we spend on gas and on cars, the less money we have for other things," said Ms. Kennedy. "If we can re-purpose some of that spending, we can help other sectors of the economy like the mom-and-pop stores that keep the economy moving."

The Complete the Streets project is funded through a federal cooperative agreement administered by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, according to Bike Walk Connecticut.

View Bike Walk Connecticut's Connecticut 2014 Bike-friendly, Walk-friendly Town Scorecard here.