Harp Promises Cycletracks

Addressing a room full of cyclists gearing up for a massive annual ride, Mayor Toni Harp promised them more dedicated, protected bike lanes to ride on.

Harp made that declaration as she helped kick-off fundraising for the annual Rock To Rock Earth Day ride, set for April 26.

Cyclists can sign up for rides of eight, 20, 40, or 100 kilometers, all of which start at the base of West Rock and end at the base of East Rock. Riders raise money that goes toward local efforts to make the city a greener place to live. The ride, now in its sixth year, has swelled to over 1,000 riders, and last year raised $150,000 for 23 local environmental groups. (Click here to read about last year’s ride.)

For the first time, Rock To Rock held its launch party in City Hall Wednesday. In brief remarks to the dozens of people gathered, Harp (pictured) spoke about the city’s commitment to make streets safe for cyclists.

In last year’s mayoral election, Harp’s opponent Justin Elicker won cyclist support as a champion of safe streets. Since taking office in January, Harp has taken steps to win over the city’s transit activists. She appointed Elicker ally Doug Hausladen to the position of traffic tsar, and she made improved bus service a focus of her first “State of the City” address.

At Wednesday’s Rock To Rock launch, Harp said her administration is “committed to making the city more bike friendly.”

She said that while the city may not have money immediately for major changes to the streetscape, it can take inexpensive short-term steps toward calming traffic, like using “huge flowerpots” to narrow streets the way curb bump-outs do.

Eventually, she will make sure the city has cycletracks—off-street, protected bike lanes—around town, Harp said. “We are poised to bring real bike lanes—safe and separate—to as many streets as possible.”

Harp said she’s looking forward to a “beautiful spring day” on April 26. She said she would “try to find my bicycle” before the ride.

Wednesday’s event featured food donated by a variety of local restaurants ...

... and bike-blended beverages by Ahna Johnson’s new smoothie-spinning company, Fruit Whirled.

Johnson’s mother, Ruth Resnick Johnson (pictured), passed out samples of pumpkin and banana-strawberry smoothies, pureed by a pedal-powered “fender blender.”

Little rosemary plants were laid out for the taking, part of the ride’s “Way To Grow” theme this year. Joel Tolman, one of the ride’s organizers, said 1,100 people biked in the event last year, raising over $150,000.

Anna Pickett, the event’s lead organizer this year, said this year’s goal is to raise $200,000, $50,000 of which has already been pledged.

Tolman said people who raise $500 can become “Green Riders” this year. That means they have their registration fee waived and they get “fancy Green Riders swag” on the day of the ride. Tolman also announced that Chipotle, the downtown burrito joint, will be donating half its March 19 proceeds to Rock to Rock.

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posted by: anonymous on March 7, 2014  6:04pm

Good idea.  It is a shame that our city is so many years behind other cities on this, especially considering that more than half our city’s population doesn’t drive to work every day, and a third of the city’s households have no car.

Hopefully the new administration will bring the city up to par with what every other city around the country is doing.  It’s a very easy and cheap way to bring new jobs to the city.


posted by: P Christopher Ozyck on March 7, 2014  6:15pm

Thank you Mayor for pursuing these initiatives.  I will be thrilled when folk on spokes can ride from Madison , and Bradford into New Haven for commuting or pleasure. 

If any one is looking for a team to ride with Team URI want you.  Team t shirts, camaraderie, and a pic nic after.  Hit the rock to rock link.

posted by: William Kurtz on March 7, 2014  6:16pm

Oh, I don’t know about every other city in the country. She’ll have to be quick about it, but there’s still some time for Mayor Harp to ride the crest of the wave on improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Mayor DeStefano got the ball rolling; all she has to do know is kick it into the goal to create a world-class city for non-motorized transportation. I applaud this public commitment and hope to see it backed up quickly by some concrete action.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 7, 2014  6:40pm

Wake up People.You may get this.

Ugly CitiBike Stations Are Ruining Our Historic Neighborhood, Fort Greene NIMBYs Say.


Are CitiBike Stations Ruining Fort Greene, Clinton Hill?


posted by: 14yearsinNHandgone on March 7, 2014  7:28pm

Still waiting for someone to explain to me why new-to-the-job Doug Hausladen, who was working part-time before being made Transportation Director of New Haven, is pulling down $90,000 per year.

Jim Travers, his predecessor, had three years of experience as Deputy Director and Acting Director of that department when he was hired at that salary.

Hausladen should have been offered less, obviously…especially since there was no national or even local search.  So what gives?

posted by: robn on March 7, 2014  7:45pm


Thank you for not trying to convince us that the solution to bicycles uglifying our neighborhood is proportional representation…and how come you don’t mention the fact that the Mayans stole pyramid power from the Egyptians?

posted by: David S Baker on March 7, 2014  8:21pm

Raise the Mill Rate without a single cut, spend on bike lanes in a town where it snows half of the year, and we still don’t have the magical one hour train to New York we were promised.

On the other hand, she DID just bow to the entire “farmers market - bicycle party” (What did you call them Paul Bass?  “Back yard chicken crowd?”)  Which is essentially all we have for opposition in a town with no GOP.  And a kudos from Chris O?!  MInd blown.  Nothing short of amazing.  So I liken this to reaching across the aisle… in a house with no aisle.  So it’s kind of touching… kind of.

posted by: TheMadcap on March 7, 2014  8:30pm


The job probably has a set salary as determined in the city budget regardless of previous experience.

You may want to reconsider your stance when one of your own links is actually deriding the people against citibike(the NIMBY term is never used in a positive fashion). I like what the first commenter said, I long for the day when an ugly bank ad is the biggest problem in my neighborhood.

posted by: HewNaven on March 7, 2014  9:05pm

I also would love to see the day when a child and his grandmother can ride around New Haven safely using separated bike paths (cycle tracks). As Harp stated in the past, transportation should be considered a civil right. Building cycle tracks is a step to guaranteeing that right for all ages. Good for her for at least mentioning the word. Let’s hope something comes of it.

posted by: jim1 on March 8, 2014  1:54pm

Good news.  Now we can ride and not get hit by cars.  We will all save gas money from not having to use our cars.  And with the savings we might be able to pay our new tax bill!!

posted by: getyourfactstraight on March 9, 2014  12:13pm

Madcap you should know that it doesn’t matter what this salary is at, the salary can re-start at any dollar. And in the budget the alders could lower this salary at budget time and take the money to some other place if desired. In fact the alders could cut that salary in half if they choose. There is no way he should have started that high or perhaps even be considered for this position. Actually I have heard that he only has a high school education so that is pretty alarming in itself if it is true and he is holding this position. Not to be a snob, but who would think to place a high school graduate in a $90,000 a year job! Does anyone know Doug’s educational background. I suppose it is FOI.

posted by: TheMadcap on March 9, 2014  10:27pm


Doug went to Yale. And it’d be silly to lower his pay. The position itself pays X amount of money on hiring regardless of experience(because for starters experience is vague and the next step is people arguing over what is experience is more relevant and whether it should hold more weight in regards to salary)

posted by: 14yearsinNHandgone on March 11, 2014  7:39am

What, so the salary can’t be reviewed?  It just goes up every year and never gets changed, no matter who takes the job?  Some future mayor could appoint their kid who’s just out of college, and pay that kid $90,000?

Sure, Doug has a Yale degree. In what?  Management?  Did he ever supervise this many staff before?  How many people HAS he supervised?

Just paying whatever the last person was making is an unthinking, unchecked process…and it’s part of why all you still living in New Haven are paying such crazy taxes.

Why New Haven residents enjoy being taken advantage of so much is a mystery to me…

posted by: TheMadcap on March 11, 2014  11:53am

“Just paying whatever the last person was making is an unthinking, unchecked process”

No it’s not, it’s how every government position works, it’s listed at a set salary. The mayor, the transit director, the parks director, the alders, their checks are set numbers based on the position, not based on experience. It’s the same in the private world, salaried jobs are put out with a set salary regardless of what candidate fills them. In fact by lowering the amount paid you’d be suggesting the replacement is actually not as qualified as the last person, which would kind of call any appointment into question.

“Did he ever supervise this many staff before?  How many people HAS he supervised?”

He was the owner and founder of Universal Hotel Liquidators in Clearwater, he co-founded ActualFood, he served as commercial manager for Elm Campus Partners, and he served part time as the manager for Yale’s Healthy Corner Store as well as on the Downtown-Wooster Community Management Team. I think the guy has experience managing people.

posted by: 14yearsinNHandgone on March 11, 2014  7:52pm

“The mayor, the transit director, the parks director, the alders, their checks are set numbers based on the position, not based on experience. It’s the same in the private world, salaried jobs are put out with a set salary regardless of what candidate fills them.”

That is some of the most false commentary I’ve read on here.

Two examples why.

1. New Haven Superintendent of Schools - is Garth Harries making what Reggie Mayo was when he retired?  No.  False.

2. Just Google “salary negotiations”.  There’s a WORLD of results, because millions of jobs don’t ave a fixed salary - they are based on experience.  Sure there is a range, but the actual salary is negotiated.  Half the jobs I have had were fixed salary or hourly rate, or negotiated.  I honestly can’t believe someone would make this kind of unbelievable and demonstrably false claim.  There’s even a well-known phrase, “Salary commensurate with experience”.

Also, just the salaries are set doesn’t mean they should stay that way.  Some salaries SHOULD be negotiated.  It’s irresponsible to NOT take experience and education and everything else into account when setting salaries.  This happens ALL the time in the private sector.  The reasons it probably doesn’t in New Haven government are: no one cares, no one is accountable, and no one is qualified to even be setting the salaries in the first place.