Letter to the Editor
Published 5:04 pm, Wednesday, March 4, 2015
to PIAC resolution
To the Editor:
The RTM's Public Works Committee passed a resolution on both Oct. 14 and again on Dec. 15 concerning formation of a new Pedestrian Infrastructure Advisory Committee, calling for the Board of Selectmen to create this new committee and name all members no later than March 31. The board has yet to address this resolution, however, the first selectman (in audience at an informational session Monday evening) mentioned that the proposed public works budget includes funding for a significant Pedestrian Safety project (a new sidewalk to be constructed on Middlesex Road?), beyond the routine/required sidewalk maintenance replacement projects which have been ongoing (typically $150k/year is spent).
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My question is why, after years of our leadership noting that appropriate prioritization of projects should happen (and no new sidewalk construction), a single project would be pursued with funding at the very moment when the volunteer citizens in our town government have been waiting for a response on their call for an appropriate body and process to be put in place to plan for and pursue pedestrian safety efforts town-wide in a comprehensive and equitable manner? I personally applaud any and all improvements to our pedestrian safety infrastructure, however, I question this selective spending when the design and planning have not taken place to ensure a true network of improvements are outlined and pursued following clearly detailed evaluation criteria.
I would ask that the board respond to this resolution, and hopefully support and meet the challenge it poses to have a committee in place before month-end. I would also encourage our first selectman to sign the U.S. Department of Transportation's Mayors' Challenge, supporting significant action over the coming year to improve safety for pedestrians in Darien: http://www.dot.gov/mayors-challenge.
(Schulz is a member of the Darien RTM and is on its Public Health and Safety Committee.)