Sleepless in Connecticut

This year back to school had a very different meaning for me. When my kids were little, it meant school supply shopping and early mornings at the bus stop. As they got older, it meant high school soccer games, fundraisers, and school dances. Finally, during the college years, it meant moving them into their dorm room and saying goodbye until Thanksgiving break. This year, my son begins his second year as a professional living in New York City and over Labor Day weekend, I delivered my daughter to Seattle, Washington to begin a 7-year PhD program.

The truth is, while I already miss my daughter, what’s bothering me most is hoping she stays safe. She’s living car-free and is riding her bike or taking the bus 8 miles round trip to lab each day. Thankfully, Seattle has a robust network of bike lanes and trails; so, she is “on-trail” for much of her commute. Lime Bikes, and E-Lime Bikes (and soon E-Scooters), are plentiful throughout the city (and yes, I tested them out when I was there!). The bus system is comprehensive with frequent buses only a short walk from her apartment. Seattle most definitely offers strong multi-modal transportation options that will serve her well.

But I still worry. The days are getting shorter and the famous, endless, Seattle winter drizzle will soon arrive. While I cannot be there to remind my daughter to stay alert and to charge her headlight, I need to trust that the transportation planners and engineers in Seattle will design and maintain a safe system for all users.

This newsletter highlights FHI’s commitment to safety on all our projects. You will read about our bicycle and pedestrian work in Nyack, NY and how designing our communities for all modes and all ages fosters a safer environment. We’ve also highlighted our role in raising safety awareness for the new Hartford Line commuter rail service as part of the Operation Lifesaver ambassador program. In this project, we have helped implement a safety campaign for the CT Department of Transportation to complement the exciting new commuter rail service between New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield, Mass. Finally, this newsletter highlights our focus on traffic safety/complete streets design for the JFK Boulevard Corridor Safety Study, in Hudson County, NJ.

I no longer have the academic school year to measure time; and my children are too old for me to hold their hands every time they cross a street. However, one thing that has not changed is my instinct as a parent to keep my children safe – even as adults. While I may lose sleep at times worrying about them, I’m pleased that FHI can contribute to everyone’s safety through our commitment to good planning and engineering. I think we all agree that safety is the most fundamental aspect of designing better communities.

Exploring Seattle’s bike trails – Susan’s daughter, Hannah, at Gas Works Park, Seattle
No trip is complete without visiting wine country, Susan and Hannah at Chateau St. Michelle Winery just outside Seattle
Flowers, fruit, and flying fish at the famous Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle
Flowers, fruit, and flying fish at the famous Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle
Flowers, fruit, and flying fish at the famous Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle
Visiting Madeleine Black (Leslie’s daughter) at her “floating apartment” where she gave us a unique and warm welcome to Seattle

I hope you are all having a great fall. Please feel free to contact me anytime,