Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Walkers & Bikers Launch Group in St. Albans

From Local Motion

A new but robust “Walk-Bike St. Albans” committee has formed to improve walking and bicycling in the region.  They had an impressive contingent in the Maple Festival parade this month!

Respondents favor sidewalks, pathways
ST. ALBANS — There is overwhelming support in St. Albans City and Town for improvement of sidewalks, biking and walking paths, according to a Town Meeting Day survey conducted by Walk and Bike St. Albans.
The survey asked residents to rate, on a scale of one to five, how important safe walking and running spaces are for their families. Ninety-one percent of city respondents and 89 percent of town respondents answered with either a four or five (five being extremely important).
Asked the same question about safe spaces for biking, 81 percent of city respondents and 82 percent of town respondents checked four or five.
"It seems the community is really ready for this type of activity," said David Hutchinson, chair of Walk and Bike St. Albans, a local volunteer group formed specifically to address the topic.
The survey was not random, although volunteers attempted to reach every voter to ask if they would be willing to fill out the survey. In the city, 269 people took the survey; in the town, 188.
Asked if people who support more walking and biking opportunities were more likely to take part in the survey, Hutchinson said some respondents were not in favor of such opportunities.
One of the main concerns for respondents was safety, said Hutchinson, particularly on the corner of Aldis and Federal streets. Walk and Bike St. Albans members have discussed the possibility of applying for a Safe Routes to Schools grant to improve safety in that area.
Respondents were asked to check three areas in which they would be willing to commit tax dollars to a new sidewalk or recreation path. The top response for both communities was a connection along Route 104 between Hard'ack and Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center.
Respondents from both communities also listed connections to Hard'ack along Congress Street and connections from the city to St. Albans Bay Park and Kill Kare State Park at St. Albans Bay.
In the city, residents said they would support new connections between the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail and the city.
Town respondents also were willing to pay for a sidewalk or other path along Route 7 from Lakeview Terrace to the Highgate Plaza, located in the town’s growth area off of U.S. 7-North.
With the survey results in hand, the next step will be to "introduce ourselves to the city and town governments," said the group’s co-founder Kaki Hutchinson.
"We, as a group, are really excited about working with the new selectboard," said David Hutchinson.
In addition to creating routes to existing recreation areas, the group would also like to see new recreation trails. Trails in the St. Albans Town Forest and from the city to St. Albans Bay are priorities.
The group is also organizing events to promote walking and biking, including a family walking and biking event on June 9 in Taylor Park.
Walk and Bike St. Albans meets the first Tuesday of the month at 4:30 p.m. at the St. Albans Free Library.

No comments:

Post a Comment