New­port and Derby Work­ing To­gether to Make Roads Safer

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - New­port, VT

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.

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