(March 23, 2015) Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced that the City of Hartford will join more than 180 cities across the nation, including five other Connecticut municipalities, in a challenge by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to make their streets safer and more convenient for pedestrians and bicyclists over the next year. The “Safer People, Safer Streets” challenge commits mayors and elected officials to improve walking and biking safety through several methods, including identifying barriers, tracking biking and walking trends, incorporating biking and walking facilities in long term transportation projects and strengthening safety laws and regulations.
“Ensuring our community has access to safer streets and trails for biking and walking is a must. This encourages a healthy lifestyle and promotes a cleaner environment. Whether someone is unable to drive due to a disability or chooses to commute to work on a bicycle, our City should provide safe places for them to get around,” said Mayor Segarra. “With the community’s help, this should be a success. I look forward to hearing feedback.”
Joshua LaPorte, a member of Transport Hartford, a community group focused on improving bicycling, walking and public transportation infrastructure in the City, said "In every Hartford neighborhood there are countless residents who do not drive, and they deserve safe and convenient transportation options throughout the year.”
“Transport Hartford looks forward to collaborating to plan and effect improvements to the city's infrastructure. We believe it is vitally important to fully implement high-impact, low-cost projects such as the bike route component of the parks master plan. We also count on enhanced coordination of street construction to minimize safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists,” said LaPorte.
Mayor Segarra stressed the health benefits of promoting bicycling and walking in the City. A study conducted in 2012 by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Public Health and Health Policy found that 37% of preschool children in Hartford were overweight or obese, over half of which were classified as obese. The prevalence of childhood obesity among preschoolers was twice as high as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended guidelines. Also, it is estimated that about 20% of Hartford adults had asthma. According to the Department of Public Health Asthma Surveillance Report in 2012, the City had the highest rate of emergency room visits and the second highest hospitalization rate due to asthma in Connecticut.
“Safer People, Safer Streets” also aims to reverse a rise in pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities. Data from U.S. Department of Transportation show that pedestrian and bicycle injuries and fatalities have increased since 2009. In a recent study conducted by the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), between 1995 and 2010, bicyclist and pedestrian crashes represented less than three percent of all crashes; however, these crashes represented more than 17 percent of all traffic fatalities.
The challenge kicks off this month and the City will spend the next year identifying and implementing safety measures.
(March 19, 2015) The Strong Cities Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge is in the final phase and representatives from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) are at City Hall this week meeting with the finalists and judges. On Friday, the City of Hartford will host a presentation led by Jaison Morgan, managing principal of The Common Pool and designer of the SC2 Challenge. Mr. Morgan and EDA representatives will discuss the SC2 Hartford Challenge, as well as the value of using competitions to spur innovation and enhance the quality of proposals. The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.
On Thursday, March 26, the city will host a bus tour to present current economic development activities and areas of impact for the SC2 Challenge. The goal is to provide SC2 Hartford teams with an overview of the broader economic development landscape. Space on the bus tour is limited.
“The SC2 Challenge is a creative approach to economic development and urban revitalization that draws talent from within our community. I’m proud that our City is part of this process and look forward to seeing the winning plans,” said Mayor Pedro E. Segarra.
The SC2 Challenge is a global competition designed to invite new ideas for economic development, business incubation and community acceleration. The challenge is a key component of the Obama Administration’s SC2 initiative launched in 2011 to help strengthen neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions around the country. Hartford finalists will present their projects to the public on April 8, 2015 and to the judges in early May. Winners will be announced publicly the first week of June. A $500,000 cash prize is available to the best plan that meets the needs of local leaders. Other finalists will receive significant cash prizes based on the quality of their submissions.
Learn more at https://hartford.sc2prize.com.
(March 19, 2015) – The City of Hartford is accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Business Development Grant for Artists and the Creative Industry and submissions for the Creative Youth Essay contest for middle school and high school students. The Business Development grant is designed to support jobs in the creative economy. Funded through a federal Community Development Block Grant, the grant will award more than $100,000 to Hartford-based artists for business related operational costs and equipment purchases. The Creative Youth Essay contest is open to all students in 7th to 10th grade from Hartford public, private or magnet schools. Submissions must be original essays on subjects that explore art, culture and their impact on local communities. This is the third year that the City’s Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs Division has sponsored the contest with past participation numbering over 85 entries.
(March 19, 2015) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced that he will co-chair the National League of Cities (NLC) 2016 Presidential Election Task Force, charged with raising the visibility of issues that are important to cities during the presidential election cycle. The bipartisan task force will educate candidates and campaign staff on what cities expect from a new administration, highlight the types of federal partnerships that will help cities thrive and position the NLC as the go-to resource on city issues. Mayor Segarra joins 16 other city officials and state municipal league executive directors on the task force. The selection was announced earlier this month at the 50th Annual Congressional City Conference, where 2,000 city officials and delegates convened to advocate for city priorities in Congress and the administration.
“Cities drive the majority of economic activity in our country. Ensuring the financial health and stability of Hartford, along with the education and success of our young people, helps advance the city and the surrounding region. Shining a light on the needs of Hartford and other urban areas during the upcoming presidential election and seeing that those needs are met will propel the country forward,” said Mayor Segarra. “It’s an honor to have been chosen to be a part of this important call to action.”
Ralph Becker, President of the National League of Cities and mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, said more than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas.
“It is imperative that the issues cities face be at the forefront in the 2016 presidential election. Our goal is to ensure that future Administrations understand the needs of America’s cities and support the policies and partnerships that enable cities, and the nation, to grow and prosper,” Becker said.
The 2016 Presidential Election Task Force will lead NLC’s participation at national political conventions and in the transition to the next administration. For a full list of task force members visit: http://bit.ly/1CvV77T