Vassalboro Roadside Pedestrian & Bike Committee

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Final Roadside Pedestrian and Bike Plan - 2011

Click here for a pdf version of the Vassalboro Pedestrian and Bike Plan that was written by KVCOG planner Jen Boothroyd as a result of the survey that was undertaken last spring and at town meeting. This plan will be used in the upcoming steps to conduct an engineer study and in an application for a grant to implement the Pedestrian and Bike plan.


We are a group of Vassalboro residents who are working to develop and improve “non-motorized userways” (sidewalks, paved shoulders, bike lanes, etc…) and traffic calming measures (crosswalks, signage, etc…) in the Greater Vassalboro community.

It is well documented that non-motorized userways have invaluable benefits for communities. The main benefit is increased safety for those who walk, bike, and otherwise use roadways to get around. Other benefits include increased commerce for local businesses, greater usage of public facilities (athletic fields, library, grange, post offices, credit union, etc…), improved community aesthetics, increased property values, and a greater sense of community. Sidewalks, paved shoulders, and bike lanes allow citizens to travel and exercise outdoors instead of driving everywhere, resulting in increased physical fitness and less pollution to the environment.

The Maine St. Dept. of Transportation has programs designed to assist communities with development and funding for Ped & Bike & Safe Routes to School projects. For example, their Quality Community Programs fund up to 80% of the cost of sidewalks if the town commits to the other 20% and up to 100% of Safe Routes to School within two miles of a K-8 school. Communities all over Maine are taking advantage of DOT programs including quite recently Unity, Skowhegan, and Winslow. Competition for State funding is stiff and community applications are increasing in number. The next application deadline for MaineDOT QCP funding is Summer 2012 for monies available in fiscal years 2014-2015.

Our committee is well aware of the challenges involved in attaining our goals including the impact of non-motorized userways on roadside properties, related parking issues, engineering challenges (such as drainage), maintenance & upkeep, and financing. We believe however that these challenges can all be addressed and solved in a way that will greatly benefit our citizens and our community. If other small towns & communities across Maine can develop sidewalks and bike lanes and crosswalks for their residents, we think that with interest & support from Vassalboro residents and town officials that we can too!


VASSALBORO ROADSIDE PEDESTRIAN & BIKE COMMITTEE

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Mission Statement

The Vassalboro Roadside Pedestrian & Bike Committee is committed to developing roadside user ways for non - motorized travel for our community. Our purpose is to work in tandem with the citizens of Vassalboro, our town officials, and state governmental agencies to promote the development of sidewalks, walkways, bikeways, paved shoulders, and other user ways, and in doing so improve the safety and quality of life of our citizens.

Goals

There are two major goals to be achieved by developing appropriate roadside user ways in Vassalboro:

  1. 1.Increased non-motorized travel, primarily by pedestrians and cyclists, throughout our community.
  2. Increased safety for non-motorized travelers on and alongside our roadways, including traffic calming.

Benefits

  1. Safer roadside & roadway conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, equestrians, customers, drivers and others using Vassalboro roadways.
  2. Non-motorized connection of Vassalboro residents with public facilities and businesses, resulting in increased usage of such resources.
  3. Connection of roadside user ways with non-roadside trails & recreation facilities.
  4. Aesthetic improvements.
  5. Increased property values.
  6. Increased sense of community.
  7. Increased health, fitness, and recreational opportunities.
  8. Improved air quality due to decreased motorized travel.
  9. Monetary savings due to not using petroleum fueled vehicles to get around.



Members

Members:    
Holly Weidner 923-3397 (h) hollyw@fairpoint.net
Vivian Flamm 923-3475 (h) vflamm@yahoo.com
Nick Scott 923-3475 (h) vflamm@yahoo.com
John Toohey 923-3704 (h) jtoohey@fairpoint.net
Pat Karush 923-3770 (h) karush@thomas.edu
Lore Ferguson 923-3781 (h) c_fergus@fairpoint.net

HISTORY

VRPBC is a subcommittee of The Trails Committee which is under the auspices of The Conservation Commission. A Town of Vassalboro Ordinance, (adopted in May of 1988 and amended in June of 2008), established The Conservation Commission. According to The Ordinance, the Commission "shall develop a town trails plan and promote the use of existing trails and seek opportunities for new trails." It also gives the Commission the power to create subcommittees of town citizens on a voluntary basis to assist with carrying out its duties.

The Vassalboro Trails Committee(VTC) is one such subcommittee. It was set up by the Selectmen in May of 2006 to fulfill the vision embodied in The Town of Vassalboro Strategic Plan of 2006 of developing a town trails plan. The Strategic Plan also states that "the town should work with MDOT to encourage walking and biking opportunities along roadways including more road shoulders and sidewalks. The Town Manager and the Conservation Commission shall advocate for road trails and other alternative transportation ways, especially whenever road improvements are planned by MDOT."

In the fall of 2007 a group of East Vassalboro residents, all members of VTC, joined together to create The East Vassalboro Sidewalk & Traffic Calming Committee. It had become clear that a subcommittee of VTC, focused specifically on developing "roadside userways", needed to be established. Pam Colvin & Bob Turner volunteered to be Co-Chairs of this subcommittee and to work with VTC, Town & State Officials, and residents to develop a Ped & Bike Plan for Vassalboro. After a year's worth of monthly meetings it became clear that the subcommittee needed to become broader based and hence was renamed as The Vassalboro Roadside Pedestrian & Bike Committee, reflecting its commitment to all of Greater Vassalboro.

In the spring of 2010 VRPBC was awarded a $2500.00 planning grant by MaineDOT in conjunction with Kennebec Valley Council of Governments to develop a Vassalboro Ped & Bike Plan. A KVCOG planner was assigned to VRPBC to serve as a guide through the process. VRPBC expects to have a Vassalboro Pedestrian & Bike Plan finished by year's end, 2010.