Stuart Richards has asked me to distribute his comments on the Ped
STUART L. RICHARDS
PO Box 156, #82 Elm Street
Norwich, Vermont 05055
February 4, 2007
Mr. Scott Bascom, Planning Coordinator
Policy and Planning Division
VT Agency of Transportation
National Life Building, Drawer 33
Montpelier, VT 05633-5001
Dear Mr. Bascomb:
Re: Vermont Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan Executive Summary
My comments are based on having lived in many different sized Vermont
communities for the last 40 years, using my bicycle for both
and recreation. There is much in this plan that is encouraging to me
pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist. Unfortunately, the lack of specificity
in the plan will, in my view, keep it from accomplishing it¹s stated
objectives. I hope you will pay close attention to the email that Rick
Hubbard sent you since I agree with most of the points that he made,
although perhaps he does not carry them quite far enough.
First, the Vision statement is incorrect. It states, ³The State of Vermont
provides safe, convenient and accessible conditions for bicyclists and
pedestrians of all ages and abilities.² The statement should read, ³The
State of Vermont seeks to provide safe, convenient, enjoyable and
conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.² The
reason for the change is that Vermont does not currently provide these
conditions but hopes to in the future. I have added the word
since unless conditions are enjoyable, attempts to promote bicycling
pedestrian activity will be much less successful. Similarly, throughout
document, wherever the word convenient is used, the word
be used as well.
This document fails to mention the importance of shoulders, crosswalks,
storm drains, and guard rails. I am deeply disturbed by Vermont¹s
continued failure to place at least 3 foot paved shoulders on ALL roads
the failure to require municipalities to include this in their town plans.
Equally distressing is the elimination or minimization of paved shoulders
where they previously existed when maintenance and replacement
undertaken. The placement of storm drains below road surfaces and
of certain types of drains is a menace to cyclists. In addition, the guard
rails most commonly used with their very sharp top edge are extremely
dangerous to any cyclist, pedestrian or motorist who lands on that
There are guardrails made which have a broad, dull, less dangerous
edges. Or, if a different rail is not selected, why not modify the existing
³standard² rail so that the top edge does not menace anyone who
contact with it?
Crosswalks and sidewalks are important for pedestrian safety. There
be more of them and specific numbers, requirements and standards
established and listed in this plan.
Based on years of observation, many guard rails are being installed
space between the pavement edge and the guardrail. This type of
installation for both new and replacement guardrails forces the cyclist or
pedestrian toward the dangerous, traveled portion of the road.
possible, all guardrails should be installed at least two feet from the
pavement edge and the policy should state this.
Lastly, the Policy Statement says: At each stage of planning, design,
construction, implementation, operations and maintenance activities,
VTrans-funded projects and programs, wherever reasonably feasible,
accommodate PROMOTE pedestrians and bicyclists USAGE. New
reconstruction projects and capacity improvements will maintain or
existing access and conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists. Please
consider changing the word ³accommodate² in line 3 to ³promote²
and add the
Thank you very much for considering my comments and thank you also
time and effort expended and still to be expended to attempt to
bicycle and pedestrian use. Your efforts and those of your colleagues
associates are very much appreciated. As Rick Hubbard has noted,
made a good start, now it¹s time to get down to the specifics and
without which the Plan is likely to fail.
Stuart L. Richards
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