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State wants to make roads more friendly for cyclists
December 27, 2006
MONTPELIER, Vt. --Move over, Vermont drivers. The state wants to make the state's highways more friendly for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation wants to incorporate bicycle and pedestrian access into projects and will encourage local governments and regional planners to do the same.
The improvements range from making sure new crosswalks comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act to routinely making bike paths a part of road improvements, said Scott Bascom, a planning coordinator for the agency.
"When we do paving jobs, sometimes they'll try to make the shoulder as wide as possible, maybe take the edge line and bring it in a foot so it's an 11-foot traveled lane instead of 12 feet, and there's more of a shoulder for cyclists," Bascom said.
Another change would encourage the installation of more bicycle racks in downtown areas around the state.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," said Jim Tasse, executive director of the Rutland Area Physical Activity Coalition.
Tasse said one of the largest barriers to increased bicycle and pedestrian activity is lack of infrastructure.
"What I hear again and again is it's scary to ride a bike in Rutland," Tasse said. "It's scary to be a pedestrian, too. A lot of the sidewalks are in disrepair. I think if you build it, they will come, and study after study proves it."
Tasse said the improvements to Shelburne Road in South Burlington showed how practical bicycle-friendly changes can be.
"Even in an area that was very built up, they were successful in accommodating bicycles," he said. "The ideal situation is the notion of routine accommodation built into planning."