By Gabriela Meyer, Doug Merrill, and Susan Grasso
As a sequel to last year’s Bike and Pedestrian Paths Committee (BPC) Oscar-winning performance, the Committee is excited to update readers on recent work. The mission remains the same: to bring safe and comfortable walking and biking opportunities to residents and visitors of all ages. Spring has only just begun, yet many residents and their four-legged pals enjoy the paths and trails on foot or wheels.
Primitive paths and signage have been recently constructed in the LaPlatte Nature Park. These beautiful trails connect with the lovely new LaPlatte River Overlook, constructed in memory of Hudson Holland, son of Tucker and Michelle Holland, who raised the financial support for the project. Designed by resident landscape architect Kate Lalley, the overlook provides a peaceful and scenic view of the LaPlatte River Falls, the historic location of Shelburne’s industrial core of the 19th and 20th centuries. Be sure to pick up a LaPlatte Nature Park Recreation Trail Map and Hiking Guide from the Recreation Department.
In addition to these primitive paths, the town has been enjoying new sidewalks on the North side of Harbor Road and the final crosswalk at the intersection of Route 7 and Harbor Road. As the weather improves, please look out for children using these sidewalks to travel through the village core to and from school.
Last fall, Shelburne was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) with an Honorable Mention for its progress towards creating a Bicycle Friendly Community. Initiated by the League of the Traveling Baskets, a volunteer group working to encourage practical cycling for commuting and errands, this lengthy application was completed with assistance from the BPC, town officials, the University of Vermont, and Local Motion. In its report, LAB provided many suggestions and resources for creating an even stronger walk/bike identity in Shelburne. The Committee believes that we are well underway to official BFC status.
From the education corner, the Shelburne Community School (SCS), with support from BPC and Local Motion, tested a bike education curriculum in physical education last spring. SCS believes this program has much merit and potential, and are considering ways to make bike education a regular part of the SCS physical education curriculum. Anyone passing by the school on a warm day will understand the need to teach our children bike safety, rules, and etiquette – the racks are overflowing with bikes!
So, what plans do we have in store for this biking season?
The third annual Shelburne BikeFest will take place on May 25 at the front entrance of the Shelburne Town Hall, coinciding with opening day of the Shelburne Farmers Market. Free bike tune-ups and bike and helmet fitting will be offered. Kids can decorate their helmets with fun, reflective stickers, and parents can obtain bicycle helmets for a small donation. In addition, residents can ask biking-related questions, get maps of trails, paths, and bike lanes in Shelburne, and find other bike-related information at the information table.
Spring Community Ride:
As part of BikeFest 2013, and new this year, the Committee will offer Shelburne’s first Spring Community Ride, led by biking enthusiast, Police Officer Josh Flore, and supported by Local Motion. We will set off on a two-mile round trip from the Town Parade Grounds to the new LaPlatte River Overlook. Please join the riders at 1 pm for this special event. Pre-registrations are encouraged, but not required. The first 35 registered participants who complete the ride will receive a stylish Shelburne BikeFest t-shirt. Pick up your phone and register today with the Recreation Department (985-9551).
SCS Hike it! Bike it! Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays:
Beginning May 1, with the support of SCS and the town of Shelburne, a Hike it! Bike it! program will be launched for students at SCS. An extension of the former Walking Wednesday Safe Routes to School program, this initiative will invite students to walk on Wednesdays or bike to school on Thursdays and Fridays. The School Wellness Committee will continue to provide escorted walks to SCS for students dropped off at the town parade. While the program encourages students to bike to school on Thursdays and Fridays, please note that the school will not be providing a bike education program this year. Parents should take responsibility for providing their children with proper information on how to bike safely. A Parent’s Guide to Safe Bicycling Essentials and other information regarding rules of the road and riding etiquette will be provided at the SCS main office and at the Shelburne Recreation Department. The Parent’s Guide can also be accessed on the Local Motion website at www.localmotion.org/education/bikeskillstraining/parentsguide.
Hail and Farewell:
Last but not least, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee is going through a transition in membership. After 12 years of service (eight years as BPC Chair), Rob Donahue resigned due to other professional demands. The Committee will miss his energy and determination tremendously, but are eager to continue on the path that he so carefully helped lay out. Likewise, we will miss the professional and impactful work of longtime BPC member, Steve Grondlund, who is also stepping down. At the same time we are happy to welcome Pam Nuovo and Carol Rose as new Committee members and also Sara Blum, a new friend of the BPC.
We are looking forward to working with our new members and the community to continue to make Shelburne a more enjoyable place to walk and bike safely and comfortably. Happy trails!