Better Biking On The Vineyard With MassBike

fbusEarlier in July, Programs Director Price and I (Kim) had the opportunity to tour Martha’s Vineyard (on bike—of course!) with some local planners and advocates, and to attend the Martha’s Vineyard Bicycle-Pedestrian Planning Advisory Committee (MVBPAC) meeting for the month of July.

We were there to take a look at some of the gaps in the bicycle infrastructure, and to provide advice on how the Martha’s Vineyard Commission currently engages gathers citizen input. After traveling by ferry from New Bedford, which conveniently allowed us to transport our bicycles, we were met by staff members from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission who guided us through three of the island’s six towns (Oaks Bluffs, Edgartown, and Tisbury). We later attended the regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Group meeting in Oak Bluffs.

Overall, we were very impressed with the existing infrastructure. Martha’s Vineyard offers a wonderful selection of off-street bicycle paths, which are widely used by both island residents and tourists alike. However, there are some critical gaps between paths and key destinations like town centers, a problem not uncommon to other multiuse paths in the Commonwealth. The MVBPAC plays a key role in guiding the development of those connections, making it very important to have a strong, effective committee.

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Programs Director Price Armstrong

In September, the MVBPAC is going to meet again to form a strategic vision for its role in the development of new bicycle infrastructure, and other efforts to improve bicyclist safety. The Committee is looking for full- or part-time residents who are interested in helping with the important work of this committee.

For our part, we will be facilitating this upcoming meeting. MassBike has extensive experience working with Bike/Ped Committees around the state, and so we are looking forward to taking lessons learned elsewhere and recommending best practices on the Vineyard. This is another great example of MassBike using its institutional knowledge to build the local capacity which supports bicycling. This work is a part of our Bikeable Communities Program, and made possible through the support of the Mass in Motion program.

For those interested, the meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in Oak Bluffs, MA at 5 p.m.

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