Newport and Derby Working Together to Make Roads Safer
A successful collaboration between the Newport and Derby Departments of Public Works (DPW) has led the way to safer roads between downtown Newport and the Beebe Plain border crossings. New shared lane markings will remind drivers to slow down and give cyclists the room they need for everyone to travel safely. It will now also be easier for residents and visitors to enjoy a beautiful bike ride to or from the international border on the rail trail next to Lake Memphremagog.
In 2014, Newport DPW installed directional signs leading to the dedicated bike path parking at North Country Hospital. In an effort to further promote regular physical activity the hospital wanted to make access to the bike path easier during all seasons. Wendy Franklin, Director of Development & Community Relations said, “The number of cars using the lot has increased considerably since the signs were installed last year.”
Beth Barnes, Newport resident, bicycle safety advocate and Community Health Outreach Specialist for the hospital, had trouble negotiating the roads between Newport and the border when she moved here two years ago. “Biking is a great way to stay fit, help the environment and get where you need to go, but some of the roads are confusing.” She went on to say, “At times cars speed by very closely, so hopefully the road markings will remind them to slow down for bikes, especially on curves and hills.”
Beth presented the idea for road markings to the Newport City Council and also to the Derby Select Board because the route from Newport to the border passes through both towns. Both times the votes were unanimous in favor of the road markings. Since Northern Star Cruises will be renting bicycles this summer from the dock in downtown Newport, Mr. Chris Johansen purchased the road stencil for use by Newport and Derby Public Works. It will now be possible for visitors to have a boat ride and a bike ride, making it a
full and memorable day in Newport.
To promote more biking, North Country Hospital and the Village Bike Shop will be hosting Thursday night Friends and Family Fun Rides starting on Thursday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. These rides are for youngsters who may just be learning to ride, people who may be returning to the sport and want some practice, or just for friends and family who want to spend time together on the beautiful bike path. The Thursday night rides will meet in the hospital parking lot and go to the picnic tables near John’s River boat launch. Please bring a snack to enjoy before heading back to the starting point. These will be flat, gentle rides and helmets are required in order to participate. For more information please call Beth at 334-3210, ext. 351.
Claudio Fort, President & CEO of North Country Hospital said, “We are always looking for new ways to help our community stay physically active and safe. The road markings, the designated parking and the group rides fit right in to the hospital’s mission.”
New road markings between Newport and Beebe Plain should make cycling much safer.