Pathways build community: a summer of great progress

by Laurie Caswell Burke
with assistance from Steven Antinozzi

Father and son Steven and Peter Antonozzi on the new pathways in Shelburne.
Photos by Kit Antonozzi

During the past few months, Shelburne’s roadways have been the scene of much activity. Work crews have been busy day and night making it possible for the town to have greater mobility and connectivity. By late fall, the path projects slated to be constructed should be completed–a total of 20 major projects over the past decade. Under the leadership of Rob Donahue, the seven-member Shelburne Paths Committee has also been hard at work. In 2008, a 1.1 million dollar bond was passed by community voters to fund the construction of these projects. Today, four years later, the vision of greater connectivity around town has become a reality.

Many community members have played roles in getting the town to the point where residents can bike, run, or stroll to a destination whether it be the market, the local hardware store, the library, or just a visit to a friend across town. However, there is one person who clearly embodies the spirit of commuting by bike, someone who is always clad in reflective clothing, “a man on wheels,” who is passionate about the progress he has witnessed—resident Steven Antinozzi.

As a member of the path committee for the past eight years, Antinozzi, an avid cyclist, shared his thoughts about how the new pathways have impacted our community. “The network we have been dreaming about for the past 10 years is finally a reality,” he said.

Antinozzi continued, “The pathways have resulted in major behavior changes and they support the businesses at the center of the town that are essential to a human scale community. In fact, walking and cycling to SCS has become so popular that the number of bike racks has been increased and Harbor Road is full of kids walking and biking to school. Plus the Saturday farmers market has become a major town institution with a flood of families walking and cycling to it.”

Antinozzi’s annual Shelburne Walking and Cycling map, now in its fourth printing, was inspired by the theme “Pathways Build Community.” Pick up a map at the town offices or at tourist locations around town. There is something special about growing up where your family can enjoy the benefits of a good walk, a brisk early ride to school, an afternoon trip to the creemee stand, or evening participation in a community baseball game or political meeting.

As we look toward the future, Antinozzi feels we need to continue to find ways to coordinate with neighboring towns to link the existing town-based path system into a regional network.

For now, we can be thankful that the essential core of a town-wide path system is in place. It gives us all great hope for future projects with dreams of greater connectivity, opportunities to spend more time outside, and continue a collective commitment to lowering our carbon footprint. Thank you Steven and to all the community citizens who remain dedicated to strengthening our community through pathways.

Next month’s topic:  Embracing local food

Always open to your ideas, information, or resources to keep this column fresh, engaging, and informative. Please email lcaswellburke@comcast.net with suggestions.

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