Rick asked me to post his comments to Scott Bascom on the list.   Dave


From: Rick Hubbard [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Saturday, February 03, 2007 11:48 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc: 'Donna Leban'; 'Barry Carris'; 'David Jacobowitz'; 'Ed Darling';
'Lou Bresee'; 'Bill Cimonetti'; 'Len Gluck'; 'Thomas Hubbard'; 'John and
Alida Dinklage'; 'LOCAL MOTION'; [log in to unmask]
Subject: Comment on Draft Vermont Pedestrian and Bicycle Policy Plan

Greetings Scott,

I'm writing for 2 purposes.

FIRST: To commend and support efforts by the VTrans Working Group,
VTrans Executive Staff, Consultants, Advisory Panel and Advisory
Committee in preparing the Draft Vermont Pedestrian and Bicycle Policy
Plan. It does provide a framework for future efforts to support,
increase, promote and integrate pedestrian and bicycle usage in Vermont.

SECOND: To comment on what I perceive as it's greatest weakness - A

This is NOT an unimportant criticism. The draft plan STATES EVERY GOAL
as intending to "ENHANCE" this or "IMPROVE" that.  Without meaningful
targets, ALMOST ANY progress achieves the stated goals and objectives. 

Similarly, the draft plan sets forth OBJECTIVES in terms of
"Accommodate", "Build", "Provide", "Fund", "Maintain", "Educate",
"Encourage", "Work", "Develop", "Assess" and "Promote" this or that
objective. While these objectives generally go somewhat further in
setting meaningful targets, many still fall short if one examines how
they will actually make large and measurable progress toward extending
bicycle and pedestrian usage throughout the state. Having "Performance
Measures" is helpful in telling us what progress is being made, but they
then measuring progress against that goal or objective.

The following relates to the MILES of sidewalk or paths for pedestrian
and bicycle usage on or beside or near the 2,708 miles of total roadway
mileage in Vermont which VTrans has jurisdiction over. Here is a
comparison of how much progress Vermont has made in this regard over the
past 40 years, versus some of the rural alpine and tourist areas of the
European Alps.

Vermont is a small, largely beautiful, rural state with tourism an
important part of our economy. Bicycling, hiking and walking are
important to our tourism, economy, health, safety and transportation -
not just within communities but as a means of linking communities and
promoting tourism. Consider the impact of bicycle touring within our
state. The same is largely true of the European Alps areas I visited. 

As a native Vermonter with a strong interest in bicycling, walking and
hiking I had the privilege of living for 2 years in 1964-66 in southern
Germany near the Alps and of traveling and skiing extensively through
the nearby alpine areas of Austria, Switzerland, southeastern France and
northern Italy. At that time bicycling from town to town through these
alpine areas was essentially similar to Vermont. Aside from the roads,
there was essentially no special accommodation for bicyclists, walkers
and hikers wishing to travel between towns and cities.

This past summer, after 40 years of absence, I returned to the European
Alps to bicycle almost 2,900 kilometers over 7 weeks through the Alps of
Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria and Germany to revisit the areas I'd
previously known. I was astounded by the changes I saw with regard to
bicycling, hiking and walking between towns and cities in these alpine
areas. Fully 1/4 (725 kilometers) to perhaps as much as 1/3rd (950
kilometers) of my entire trip between towns and cities were on paths for
bicyclists and pedestrians, mostly not on the shoulder of the roadway,
but separate and paralleling the roads. Most of the time I bicycled on a
graded asphalt path about 10 feet in width. With money for
transportation improvements from their considerable gasoline taxes,
these alpine areas (and my experience varies somewhat from country to
country) appear to have extended their legal road rights of way to
include sufficient width for both the highway and the separated
bicycle/pedestrian paths. I observed several instances where the entire
roadway was being reconstructed together with a new 10 foot wide,
asphalt, bicycle/pedestrian path being constructed parallel to, but
separate from, the new road.  And most importantly, These paths were
generally being very well used by commuters, tourists and citizens out
for more extensive exercise. 

Before I left Vermont I thought of our state as being conducive and
bicycle friendly. I returned with the realization that there is much,
much more that our state can do to promote and integrate pedestrian and
bicycle usage in Vermont.

So how does this example relate to our Draft Vermont Pedestrian and
Bicycle Policy Plan?  Simply put, it's this. In 40 years, the European
Alps regions I bicycled through have moved 25% to 33% of the way toward
linking all of their towns and cities that I visited with modern, safe,
healthy and climate friendly alternatives to motorized transportation.
During this same period (based on statistics in our VTrans Draft Plan)
Vermont has not yet exceeded 1% of the way in this regard. 

If we think in terms of progress over the next 100 years, it seems
sensible to me to be discussing whether and to what extent, Vermont
should attempt to provide modern, safe, healthy and climate friendly
alternatives to motorized transportation along our 2,708 miles of total
roadway mileage in Vermont which VTrans has jurisdiction over. If our
goal, for example, over the next 100 years were to create 50% (1,354
miles) of such path alternatives, I'd like to see a goal of achieving
perhaps 1/20th of this (67+miles) over the next 5 years. 

Instead our Draft Plan's stated goal is: (Under Transportation Choice)
to "Enhance pedestrian and bicycle transportations options in Vermont
................." and to "Promote a transportation network that
facilitates the ability for pedestrians and bicyclists to connect to
other modes."  So please ask yourselves: What amount of new bicycle path
mileage over the next 5 years will achieve this goal? And where?

In the European Alps areas I visited, they are on path to actually meet,
or even exceed, a 50% goal such as I hypothetically proposed above.
Where will we be here in Vermont in 100 years?

When goals and objectives are set to be achievable without actually
being set to "get the job done" I want all of the participants in this
Draft Plan to understand that ... IT GETS NOTICED. I notice it and it
gets noticed by many, many other concerned Vermonters. 

Frankly, the Draft Plan is a good beginning and I support it, But in
terms of what is in the best interest of Vermonters, you can do much


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