Improving the State for Cyclists and Pedestrians
By Tom Long Fiddlehead
Want to celebrate National Bike Month in New Hampshire this May? We have one word for you – interact.
Officials at the N.H. State Department of Transportation don’t just worry about drivers of motor vehicles, they oversee the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, too, and a new DOT interactive program gives bicyclists and walkers a chance to have a say in future projects.
Visit nhpedbikeplan.com and check it out; it’s a great way to celebrate National Bike Month.
“Throughout 2019, we are asking for the public’s input on ways that the state can improve pedestrian and bicycle safety and encourage walking and cycling for both recreation and transportation,” according to the website, entitled the New Hampshire Statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Plan.
Peddlers and perambulators are then invited to identify places they would like to see improved on an interactive map, provide written comments and participate in a survey. They can also sign up to be notified of upcoming public meetings to discuss DOT plans.
Participants are encouraged to share their favorite places to walk and ride. Just click on the map, locate your favorite spots and type in a comment. You may find there is already a message there and you can also respond to that.
“I often ride this route at night due to the wide, paved shoulders, I often see more serious riders and commuters who are less intimidated by the traffic,” reads one posting.
If there are barriers to your enjoyment of walking or riding, there are places to indicate that on the map as well.
“While the state is currently lucky enough to have 470 miles of rail trails and greenways, a particular focus of this plan is to develop a network of bike facilities on state roadways and to infill gaps in the sidewalk network,” according to the website.
You may also participate in a survey on the site to share your thoughts. Would you like improved bicycle lanes or more rail trails? You can let them know. Ditto if you walk for recreation, to save money or because you don’t own a car.
What do you think of local road conditions? Which streets could use improvement? You get the idea.
And don’t feel you have to be a long-distance rider or commuter to participate. According to the League of American Bicyclists, 40 percent of bike trips are less than two miles.
The information garnered will be put to good use.
“The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is developing a Statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation Plan and Limited Economic Impact Study to assess pedestrian and bicycle transportation infrastructure, practices, policies and needs and to identify opportunities for improvement,” said department of transportation spokesperson, William Boynton.
“The plan will develop guidance and provide direction to expand safety and access for pedestrian and bicycle use of the State’s transportation network. The plan will identify significant pedestrian and bicycle networks and barriers throughout the State, evaluate opportunities for improved non-motorized connectivity to meaningful destinations, including transit connections.”
Bike to Work day is May 17. Take notes and share them at nhpedbikeplan.com.