One Senator’s Eye-Opening Walk Across Connecticut

Senator Chris Murphy is walking across the state of Connecticut and encountering some scary conditions -- like U.S. 1. Photo: Mobilizing the Region
Senator Chris Murphy walked across Connecticut and encountered some scary conditions on Route 1. Image: Google Maps via Mobilizing the Region

It’s difficult to understand just how terrifying it can be to walk on America’s car-oriented streets unless you’ve actually experienced it. Unfortunately, too few people in decision-making roles ever find themselves in that position.

That’s why U.S. Senator Chris Murphy’s walk across Connecticut is so refreshing. Murphy set out on foot for a 110-mile constituent engagement tour, and while pedestrian safety wasn’t supposed to be the point of the tour, writes Joseph Cutrufo at Network blog Mobilizing the Region, it emerged as a key issue:

Since his route was going to take him through New Haven and Bridgeport, it seemed likely that he would spend some time, like advocate Ray Rauth earlier this summer, walking along Route 1, Connecticut’s most deadly road for pedestrians. So of course pedestrian safety was going to come up at some point along the way.

And it did after Murphy encountered a particularly hairy stretch of the car-oriented “stroad” in East Haven on Thursday.

The New Haven Independent reported:

Several drivers honked at U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and nearly struck him several times Thursday as he navigated a sidewalk-free stretch of Route 1 in East Haven en route to New Haven.

He survived and continued walking unaccompanied into the city, where he announced that the encounter gave him a new idea to bring back to the Senate after Labor Day.

His insight, when he was struggling along Route One in East Haven, was that there are likely many low-income people who work in the fast-food and other similar businesses along those sidewalk-less strips, and they really have no way to get to their jobs without a car.

He promised to pursue that issue when Congress resumes after Labor Day.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Spacing Toronto considers how costs can be a barrier to biking for low-income people. And Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space says the L.A. Rams, not the city, should have to cover the costs of traffic management at games.

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