Project aims to make West Hartford’s Farmington Avenue safer for bicyclists

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Updated: May. 9, 2022 at 5:55 PM EDT
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WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Town leaders in West Hartford said they are trying to make Farmington Avenue safer for bicyclists. However, some homeowners fear a new road project will create new headaches for their neighborhood.

John Decina and his dog Finn, and Tom Farrell and his dog Maurice, said they love living in West Hartford for the same reason.

“It’s a great area in terms of being able to walk to the center,” Decina said.

“I walk the dog every day, ride my bike a lot here,” Farrell said. “This is why we came here.”

Both residents have different views about the new road project.

On Wednesday, crews said they will pave Farmington Avenue between Wardwell and Mountain roads, install a new two-way left turn lane where the brick pavers are, and most controversially, add bike lanes in both directions.

“There’s already plenty of space for biking and I’m not sure what a biker’s going to do when they get further down the road and all of a sudden there’s no bike lanes,” Decina said. “It’s going to be very confusing I think.”

Decina said he thinks the project is a lousy idea. He said homeowners were only given the heads up a few days ago and worries drivers will go even faster once the road is widened. He’s also annoyed that all off street parking on a stretch of Farmington Avenue will be eliminated.

“If I have anyone over my house, I’m going to have to ask them to park down and around the corner, which is not going to be practical for most things,” he said.

Farrell looked at it differently.

“I think West Hartford is generally a very unfriendly town for bike riders,” Farrell said.

Farrell said he believes the project could make things safer for bicyclists, which would be a step in the right direction. However, he said if people really want to make West Hartford as great for bikers as it is for walkers, people will need get better at sharing the road.

“Bike lanes are not the only solution,” he said. “You need a mindset to let the bikers ride in traffic.”

Like it or not, the project is slated to be finished by the end of the month.