The Pittsfielder's New Year's Resolutions (1/5)

5 Goals for 2018

It's time once again to pass GO and collect our $200 as we begin a new lap around the Sun. One custom that has grown from this arbitrary date mark is to make a "resolution," such as a goal or promise that we set out accomplish in the next year. In the spirit of New Year's resolutions, I have narrowed down five subjects that are important to me, and will resolve to make these the central focus of the Pittsfielder mission starting next year. For the last five days of 2017, I will elaborate on each of these topics, what they mean to me, and how I believe they will help Pittsfield grow.

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Resolution 1: Bicycling

Anyone who knows me knows I love my bike. And my first goal for next year is to get more Pittsfielders to fall in love with riding on two wheels. The health benefits, the environmental impact, the barriers broken, and the convenience and freedom of riding speak for themselves. But the actual experience of going for a ride can only be felt firsthand. So, I want to make it easier and more inviting to get around the city on a bike, and there are many ways of doing this. Some are concrete action plans, while others are more abstract and formative ideas that will evolve over time.

  • Rail Trail. One concrete idea that I have already gone into detail about is the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail extension into Pittsfield. If you are not familiar with the concept, please follow the preceding link to learn all about it. Since first sharing the idea, I have decided to break the project into phases, and will be applying to fund the first phase with a Community Preservation grant this January. Read about the Community Preservation Act here and here. I'll be sharing more updates about the application process early next year.
  • Better downtown infrastructure. When the streetscape improvements on North Street were completed, Pittsfield got its first designated bicycling facilities in the form of shared lanes on the street, and short sections of bike lanes, as well. Over time, however, the Shared Lane marking (or "Sharrow" - see photo below) has been demoted to functionally insufficient bike infrastructure by most authorities on the subject. There is also a large amount of sidewalk riding in the downtown corridor, which makes for an unsafe experience for all street users. I plan to illustrate some more ideas to help address this issue in the coming year.
  • A master plan. Finally, be on the lookout for my rendition of a city bicycling master plan that illustrates all existing biking facilities and will propose a bicycling network that will connect all of the core city neighborhoods. Getting our city streets connected will make it easier for more people of all ages and abilities to get out of the car end enjoy more of their city. This will be a continual work in progress and I hope to get input and feedback from anyone who may be interested.
A sharrow on North Street.

A sharrow on North Street.

That's day one of The Pittsfielder's five New Year's Resolutions; check back tomorrow (or if you're reading this in the future, just go back to the Blog page) for the next core topic of 2018. For this or any topic, please leave your feedback and ideas, or share your own Pittsfield-related resolution!

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