== Bike-Walk Alliance of NH ==
November 2011: Bridge access and rail trails in the news
you bike or walk in New Hampshire, there is something on this Bike-Walk Alliance
of NH web site that should be of interest to you! There is so much activity
here in the Granite State involving biking and walking it is difficult to
write about all of it. However, let's get started!
Highlights of November 2011 news follow:
Airport Access Road (MAAR) and bridge across the Merrimack River dedicated
This $175 million project as started some years ago was originally designed to exclude bicyclists on the main roadway (now called the Raymond Wieczorek Drive) connecting Bedford and Manchester. A side path, not to be illuminated at night, cleared of snow in the winter, or providing a direct connection to local roads, was part of the design but that would not accommodate vehicular cyclists requiring a 24 x 7 x 365 transportation corridor. Mopeds and electric bicycles were also to be prohibited from using the bridge to access local roads where they are commonly used. In 2009, advocates from the Granite State Wheelmen and Bike-Walk Alliance of NH were made aware of these restrictions and sought to have them lifted to be in compliance with Federal guidelines. Another bridge built years earlier down-river connecting Nashua and Hudson (the Sagamore Bridge) had the same restrictions. After many inquiries to NH-DOT and pointing out the need of cyclists to use these bridges for transportation, a series of high-level meetings between NH-DOT and FHWA starting in March 2010 resulted in the restrictions being removed from both the Sagamore Bridge and the MAAR bridge on May 24, 2010. BWA-NH reported this major accomplishment at the time and sent a "thank you" letter to key NH-DOT personnel.
The official ceremony of the MAAR and bridge completion was held on November 10 at 9:00 am. The public was invited to attend and the first vehicles to cross the bridge were bicycles! Members of BWA-NH and the GSW attended, pedaled the roadways and the sidepath for a comparison, and attended the ceremony. The road was open for general traffic on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11. Again, without the advocacy efforts of BWA-NH and the GSW, the MAAR bridge would just be a link for motorists with vehicular bicyclists and moped users having no way to access the local roads by crossing the new bridge. BWA-NH wishes to thank everyone in NH-DOT who helped remove the original restrictions and to set a precedent for any similar projects in the state.
and directions to November 10 ceremony and dedication from NH-DOT: "Fly
away on the Raymond Wieczorek Drive" More details on the NH-DOT
Bike-Ped page. For those wishing even more details check the engineering
plan of the MAAR project. Note: Very large file - expect long download
time. Expand the downloaded PDF file to view details.
NH Rail Trails Coalition (NH-RTC) annual conference was held on Saturday, November 12, in Concord at the SHC-NNE / BWA-NH office, 57 Regional Drive. About 30 rail trail and advocates from around the state participated and learned a lot about recent developments, projects, and funding issues. Keynote speakers were from the City of Keene plus Carl Knoch of the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Joe Hattrup, CEO of the Iron Horse Preservation Society, attended the conference to answer questions and network with the attendees. The NH-RTC is affiliated with BWA-NH.
Londonderry Trailways has contacted NH-DOT about the rail remaining on their section of the M&L corridor and whether it could be used for an Iron Horse rail trail construction project. An inventory of the rail was taken by NH-DOT on October 28; next comes the value assessment. Meanwhile, Londonderry has outlined their plans for building the trail in segments as documented in their brochure.
Salem Bike-Ped Corridor,
part of the Salem to Concord project and envisioned Granite State Rail Trail,
took another step forward when NH-DOT inventoried the rail components in Salem
along the Manchester and Lawrence corridor on October 28. As a result of discussions
with Salem Community Development Director Bill Scott, NH-DOT will assess the
value of the rail and components. The Town remains hopeful that an arrangement
can be worked out for a construction operation that would remove the rail
and ties while simultaneously creating a hard-pack trail to create bicycle
and pedestrian connectivity along portions of the M&L railroad corridor.
section of the Manchester-Lawrence railroad corridor
just north of Willow Street, October 28, 2011.
NH-RTC Board members met with NH-DOT Commissioner Chris Clement on November 2 to discuss the importance of rail trails in NH, major accomplishments of working with NH-DOT, current issues, and how our volunteer groups can best work with the Department for the best results with the least funding. A further review of "soft match" funding for TE projects and the need for the Keene South Bridge rail trail crossing will be addressed via other meetings and letters.
The Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County (FNRT-MC) recently resurfaced 2.5 more miles of rail trail at the West Franklin end of the rail trail extending its length that much closer to the ultimate goal of Concord, N.H. Thanks to a recent N.H. state Recreational Trail Program grant, the city of Franklin and lots of volunteer help, the rail trail in Merrimack County now reaches from the Grafton/Danbury town line to Webster Place in Franklin, a full 25.3 miles of wide and smooth rail trail with no more than a 1% grade change throughout.
With approximately 9 more miles of rail trail building to go, FNRT-MC is hoping to finish the job beginning with a major fundraising effort. Anyone interested in assisting either with trail maintenance or fundraising is encouraged to visit the rail trail website www.fnrt.org to contact the organization.
Manchester Moves donated $74K to the City of Manchester for use as the local TE match for the new Piscataquog River Bridge which will connect the west side of Manchester to the Goffstown Rail Trail. Dean Williams, Bob Dastin, and Greg Bakos took part in the presentation to the city which drew a standing ovation from the audience. Congratulations to all involved in this fundraising effort!
check being awarded to the City of Manchester
by Manchester Moves, October 2011
Derry Rail Trail Alliance (DRTA) is pleased to announce the two-mile section of their trail from Bowers Road to Windham Depot is now paved thank to the Town of Derry and many local contributors. This provides a paved rail trail from downtown Derry to the Windham Depot to Roulston Road, just 0.6 mile from Salem. That remaining 0.6 mile of the Windham Rail Trail goes over the new Rt. 111 bike-ped bridge and should be paved next year under a TE grant awarded in 2010. Trail-side parking at the southern terminus near Range Road and Route 28 (Windham-Salem town line) has been approved.
Windham Rail Trail is temporarily severed about 3/4 mile south of the Windham Depot parking lot for a new bridge being constructed under the trail for a road to connect house lots owned by the same developer on both sides of the trail. The temporary detour on rough trails and town roads is not considered usable except by mountain bikers. Construction of the bridge should be completed by December.
being cut through Windham Rail Trail, October 2, 2011
Note the fiber optic cable suspended in space.
Photos by Mark Connors (camera date incorrect)
Methuen (MA) Rail Trail Alliance (MRTA) is actively working with the City of Methuen and the Iron Horse Preservation Society (IHPS) with the contract signed on October 20. Actual construction of the rail trail is expected to start in November -- and at no cost for the basic rail trail. BWA-NH has been attempting to coordinate efforts between IHPS, Salem, and NH-DOT to have similar work performed in NH; hopefully right after IHPS completes work in Methuen.
New England Bike-Walk Summit in Providence RI as hosted by the East Coast Greenway Alliance on October 7 was attended by BWA-NH along with about 300 others. A lot of good information was obtained and many contacts made. At the BWA-NH table, the items prompting the most interest concerned the Distracted Driver Simulators from Virtual Driver Interactive. Reportedly, the NH Injury Prevention Center is to obtain two more units while BWA-NH may be in a support role.
In case you missed recent updates, here they are without going to the Archived News page:
Bicycling education in New Hampshire got another boost when three more people obtained their LAB Cycling Instructor (LCI) certification just as Hurricane Irene blew through New England. Rod Grimsley, Joshua Walter, and Bill Fisk attended the LCI Seminar on August 26-28 in South Portland, Maine as conducted by LAB Regional Coach Charley LaFlamme and Bicycle Coalition of Maine Education Director Jim Tasse. And while now a Maine resident, BWA-NH co-founder Joel Savilonis obtained his LCI certification at the same seminar. New Hampshire now has eleven LCIs with them making many plans for bike-ed programs into next year and beyond.
A Traffic Skills 101 course was held as a long one-day session on August 14 at the Trek Bicycle Store, Portsmouth NH by LAB Regional Coach and Bicycle Coalition of Maine founder Charley LaFlamme with assistance by M-LCI Dave Topham of BWA-NH. Ten students participated with some continuing their bicycle education to become League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) the following weekend. The bike maintenance and tire repair modules were presented by Mike Conlon, a Trek Store employee. Of course, seeing all the nice new bikes in that shop was an incentive to ride, and now the TS-101 participants can ride better and safer.
students watching Charley LaFlamme and Mike Conlon present
at the August 14, 2011 class in the Trek Bicycle Store, Portsmouth NH
10-hour LAB "Traffic Skills 101" course
was held on September 13, 15, and 17 in Concord area. The first two sessions
were held evenings at the main NH-DOT building on Hazen Drive with the Saturday
on-bike session at the BWA-NH office on Regional Drive. Paula Bedard, a certified
LAB Cycling Instructor, was the coordinator. She also had a chance to promote
the course and bicyclist/motorist education on Brian Tilton's talk radio show
called "The Pulse" (FM 107.7) on September 9. Brian registered for
the course, as did Larry Keniston, the NH-DOT Bike-Ped Coordinator. Several
LCIs worked with Paula for what was a fun course. For details, please
check the TS-101 page on this web site.
The BWA-NH "Train the Trainers" program as funded by a Safe Routes to School grant is now scheduled for Warner, Randolph, Pembroke, Pittsfield, and Concord NH. Teachers, coaches, and school staff personnel working with students in grades 4 and 5 will be certified as LAB Youth Instructors in the nationally recognized and standardized bike-ed program. The goal of sustainable cycling education in our schools would allow an easier path for students to obtain motorist drivers licenses and for better interaction between motorists and bicyclists once more people know and follow the common-sense rules of the road.
The Central NH Bicycling Coalition in conjunction with the City of Concord and Officer Joe Wright created a bike-safety video which was aired on local cable TV channels. BWA-NH supported the development of the video and is referenced in the credits. It may be viewed on-line by clicking this link: Concord "Roll Together" bike-ed video.
England Bike-Walk Summit in Providence RI
on October 7 will be attended by several NH bike-ped advocates including BWA-NH
members, our organization also being a sponsor. The BWA-NH booth will highlight
the dangers of distracted driving and provide information about the simulators
now in use here in New Hampshire. For more info about the summit and other
events in Providence that weekend including Waterfire,
Cyclocross Festival, and VeloSwap,
please visit the summit
Rail trail development continues in various parts of NH. A two-mile section of the Manchester-Lawrence corridor between Windham Depot and Bowers Road in Derry is to be constructed starting September 19 with a target completion date of mid-November. This will provide a paved rail trail from Hood Pond in downtown Derry to Roulston Road at the south end of the Windham Rail Trail, just 0.6 mile from the Salem NH border. The total paved distance will be approximately 7.5 miles.
Meanwhile, negotiations between Salem, NH-DOT, and the Iron Horse Preservation Society to develop sections of the rail trail in Salem at no cost are underway. The aspect of having a basic rail trail built for the value of surplus or scrap rail is so different from the typically bidding process that innovative agreements must be created and approved by all parties including the NH Attorney Generals Office. Details are being worked with excellent support from NH-DOT and Salem, but the process takes time. Salem wishes to have agreements in place so that when Iron Horse works on the M&L corridor in neighboring Methuen MA they can continue north into Salem while the crew and machinery are in the area.
Closer to Manchester, Londonderry Trailways is seeking approval to remove approximately one mile of old rail just south of the Manchester Airport. The remainder of the M&L corridor in Londonderry and all of Derry is devoid of rail. This means Iron Horse cannot help on the sections without rail, and any sections with rail must first be reviewed and approved by NH-DOT before any rail is exchanged for rail trail construction services.
On the Manchester side of the airport, the paved South Manchester Rail Trail which runs parallel to Route 28 past Nutts Pond to Gold Street is to be extended to Goffs Falls Road next year thanks to a CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) grant. Construction will include repair of a huge wash-out (a "slide") caused by drainage culverts that were not kept clear since trains stopped using the corridor maybe 40 years ago. The next section to the south will go over the Little Cohas Brook Trestle to Perimeter Road, around the airport to Harvey Road which then connects to Londonderry and south to Salem. Of course, "when" is the question!
Bicycling along the seacoast between Portsmouth NH and Kittery ME will be affected for years by the closing of the Memorial Bridge on the extremely popular coast route. On July 27, the bridge was closed to all motor vehicles due to severe deterioration and safety concerns while bike-ped traffic is to be allowed until November - provided the lift mechanism continues to function. After that, the bridge will be dismantled and a new $90M bridge will be constructed as a replacement but that will not be completed until mid-2014 at the earliest. Meanwhile, the other two Portsmouth-Kittery bridges (Sarah Long and I-95) do not presently allow bike-ped traffic. The next closest bridge is in Dover NH, a 28-mile detour. BWA-NH, other area advocates, NH-DOT, and Maine DOT are seeking a solution which will involve the Sarah Long Bridge which is on the Route 1 By-Pass. Shuttle service, escorted bike trains, and reconfiguring the 30-foot roadway to allow a 4-5 foot bike lane in each direction are all under consideration. Local bike and pedestrian commuters plus those with disabilities must be accommodated while large cycling events require far greater capacity than could be handled by a shuttle bus. Many discussions are underway but presently re-striping the lanes on the Sarah Long Bridge and lifting the restriction on bicycling seems to be gaining favor. A shuttle service may still be used for pedestrians and the disabled. Stay tuned for more details!
Bridge, Portsmouth NH side looking toward Kittery ME.
September 25, 2011, GSW Seacoast Century Weekend with green lights.
Bridge closed, bike-ped crossings allowed, July 27, 2011, photo taken August 14.
Photos courtesy of Barbara Amos and Dave Topham.
Bridge, August 14, 2011. Note the red lights.
As of November 2011, we expect no light, no bridge. Plague reads:
"Memorial to the Sailors and Soldiers of New Hampshire
who participated in the World War 1917-1919"
received a $600.00 Harvard Pilgrim Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant
with thanks to employee Michael Hurst of Windham. The grant acknowledges our
continued bicycling education efforts and particularly the "Train the
Trainers" program as yet another way to help keep children active and
safer while engaged in a possible life-long activity. A certificate signed
by Karen Voci, Executive Director, and Laura Peabody, Chair, of the Harvard
Pilgrim Health Care Foundation may
be viewed here.
We wish to publically thank the HPHC Foundation for their third annual mini-grant to BWA-NH, all initiated by Michael Hurst who is a BWA-NH member and a certified League Cycling Instructor. Our bike-ed programs are viewed as being beneficial to the communities served and we are certainly appreciative of the support from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.
NH Public Radio via "The Exchange" with Laura Knoy aired an informative program on bicycling in NH on August 1. NH-DOT Bike-Ped Coordinator Larry Keniston and BWA-NH Director Dave Topham fielded various questions including why NH dropped from # 6 to 14 in the 2011 Bicycle Friendly State ranking by the League of American Bicyclists. Quick answer: Other states improved their scores, maybe by tenths of a point, and had more dedicated state funding for bike-ped projects than NH. Note that NH scored an "A" in the Education and Encouragement categories but an "F" in Infrastructure which includes funding. Our Granite State is still a great place to bicycle and the roads have not become less "bike friendly", but we hope for some improvements to be reflected in the 2012 national ratings.
Keniston, Laura Knoy, and Dave Topham
on the NHPR "The Exchange" show, August 1, 2011
NH Rail Trail Coalition (NH-RTC) annual conference will be held November 12, 2011 in Concord at the SHC-NNE / BWA-NH office, 57 Regional Drive. Rail trail organizations and advocates from around the state will participate and learn a lot about recent developments, projects, and funding issues. Keynote speakers are expected to be Keene Mayor Dale Pregent and Carl Knoch of the Rails to Trails Conservancy. For more info and to register, please visit our Rail Trails page. (NH-RTC is affiliated with BWA-NH.)
Methuen (MA) Rail Trail Alliance (MRTA) announced work along the old Boston & Maine Manchester to Lawrence rail corridor leading into Salem is expected to start in September with services provided by the Iron Horse Preservation Society (IHPS) - at no cost for the basic rail trail construction. BWA-NH has been attempting to coordinate efforts between IHPS, Salem, and NH-DOT to have similar work performed in NH; hopefully right after IHPS completes work in Methuen.
Derry Rail Trail Alliance (DRTA) announced the section of their trail from Bowers Road to Windham Depot should be paved by October. This will provide a paved rail trail from downtown Derry to the Windham Depot to Roulston Road, just 0.6 mile from Salem. That remaining 0.6 mile of the Windham Rail Trail goes over the new Rt. 111 bike-ped bridge and should be paved next year under a TE grant awarded in 2010. Trail-side parking at the southern terminus near Range Road and Route 28 (Windham-Salem town line) has been approved.
Central NH Bicycling Coalition (CNHBC) and BWA-NH are actively pursuing a statewide web-based incident reporting system for cyclists to record incidents of harassment, "close calls", and crashes involving motorists and bicyclists. All too often, a motorist or their passenger seems to think a vulnerable bicyclist should be a target for thrown objects, blaring horns, verbal abuse, or being forced off the road even when the cyclist is following all rules. Presently, if an incident occurs in one town and the same car harasses a bicyclist in the next town minutes later, even if both incidents are reported to the local police departments there is no communication between them about the common perpetrator so no action is taken. By having a common reporting system, a pattern of a few related incidents even if in different towns should result in police action. The NH-DMV, State Police, Police Academy instructors, and the Concord Chief of Police will be meeting with CNHBC and BWA-NH to help implement this reporting system and consider better enforcement of the rules of the road pertaining to both cyclists and motorists. Bicyclists can be their own worst enemy on shared roadways that demand all users follow the rules and respect each other. A little common sense and courtesy can go a long way! (CNHBC is affiliated with BWA-NH.)
Bicycling education in NH continues to make progress with another 12-hour LAB "Traffic Skills 101" course scheduled for September in the Concord area. Paula Bedard, a certified LAB Cycling Instructor, is the coordinator. For details, please check the TS-101 page.
Meanwhile, both classroom and on-bike training for elementary school students continues, mostly under local Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant programs. A "Train the Trainers" program offered by BWA-NH to train and certify school phys-ed teachers, coaches, nurses, and other staff members to be LAB "Bicycling 1-2-3 Youth Instructors" so they can conduct LAB-designed bike-ed courses year after year in their schools for grades 4 and 5 is being implemented. We currently have training sessions scheduled in Gorham, Warner, and Concord NH. This "TTT" program is funded by a SRTS grant to BWA-NH therefore it is free for the schools on a first-come, first served basis. Please contact the BWA-NH office for details: firstname.lastname@example.org, 603.898.9926.
Another form of bicycling education is available in the form of videos linked from the BWA-NH web site. New videos developed in other states apply to NH as well with emphasis on bicyclist and motorist interactions and sharing the roads. On-road vehicular cycling techniques, handling a mountain bike in rugged terrain including how to fall, and multiple videos on bike maintenance are all just a few clicks away at www.BWANH.org
NH-DOT Safe Routes to School program announces nearly $1 million in Round 5 awards: These federal reimbursement grants will help 10 New Hampshire communities enable and encourage school children to walk and/or ride bicycles between home and school. The program is geared for children in kindergarten through eighth grade, including those with disabilities, who live within approximately two miles of school.
The largest awards went to Pittsfield, $260,668 for sidewalks and traffic calming. Troy was awarded $249,500 for a sidewalk as well as educational and incentive items. Littleton was awarded $206,680 for sidewalk reconstruction and traffic calming.
"When I visited Littleton when their program was just beginning, I was impressed to see walking school buses and rolling bike trains converge on the elementary school from multiple directions," observed John W. Corrigan, SRTS coordinator for NHDOT. "The community is an excellent example of how the initiative of volunteers and local school and municipal leaders can make a huge difference in getting kids out of private motor vehicles in favor of safe walking and bicycling."
Other communities given awards include: Lebanon, $97,128; Bristol, $77,681; Hillsborough, $55,599; Durham $30,751; Manchester, $10,000; Northumberland, $8,000; and Nashua, $4,600.
BWA-NH is pleased to be one of ten voting members on the SRTS advisory committee to help ensure the interest of all bicyclists and pedestrians are considered in projects funded by this Federal grant program.
Executive Director bikes the Southern Tier -- alone!
Our own Linda Gould decided to take a bike ride by herself, a mere 2,275 miles
from Phoenix AZ to St. Augustine FL between March and May this year. Please
see Linda's page for her
write-up and a few photos. Be sure to read the last sentence!
Driving Simulators hit the NH schools
addition to many bike-ed presentations to students in the NH elementary schools,
high school students have started receiving awareness training in distracted
driving and driving under the influence.
The two computerized Distracted Driving Simulators as unveiled at the NH Highway Safety Conference in April have been used in several school districts with excellent reports. The Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow was the first in the state to use the simulators with about 200 students taking two or more tests. Distracted driving induced by cell phone use (talking or texting) and driving under the influence were simulated with student comments including "I got in an accident pretty quick. I rear-ended a car and lost my license." "I hit a deer. Then they did a drunk test, put me in a police car and took me to jail." This was not a game being played by the students. One commented how he lost his brother to drunk driving.
Jim Esdon of the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is the program manager. The units were slated for use in Sanborn and Seabrook before the end of the school year. As of June 1, over 500 students have been tested. BWA-NH will be involved in the logged results of the tests recorded by the two simulators and help maintain the units as more and more schools and organization use the machine which proves that distracted driving leads to crashes - and that no one is immune from being distracted. For more information, please contact BWA-NH at email@example.com.
Bicycling education in NH continues to make progress with another 12-hour LAB "Traffic Skills 101" course scheduled for September in the Concord area. Paula Bedard, a certified LAB Cycling Instructor, is the coordinator. For details, please check the Traffic Skills 101 page on this web site.
Meanwhile, both classroom and on-bike training for elementary school students continues, mostly under local Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant programs. Approximately 385 students plus teachers at the Dr. Crisp Elementary School in Nashua attended the training sessions on May 26. The on-bike session is to be held June 11. A "Train the Trainers" program offered by BWA-NH to train and certify school phys-ed teachers, coaches, nurses, and other staff members to be LAB "Bicycling 1-2-3 Youth Instructors" so they can conduct LAB-designed bike-ed courses year after year in their schools for grades 4 and 5 is being implemented. A seminar for teachers in the North Country is being planned for October 12. This "TTT" program is funded by a SRTS grant awarded to BWA-NH therefore it is free for the schools on a first-come, first served basis. Please contact the BWA-NH office for details: firstname.lastname@example.org, 603.898.9926.
LAB rankings for New Hampshire
The City of Keene received the Bronze LAB Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award on May 2. Many local bike-ped advocates, organizations, and rail trail groups helped the city obtain this notable award. Keene now joins Concord as the second community in the state to receive recognition as a "BFC" by the League of American Bicyclists.
At the state level, on May 18 the LAB 2011 Bicycle Friendly State (BFS) ranking for New Hampshire gave us # 14 out of 50 with an overall grade of "C" versus # 6 last year, # 8 in 2009, and # 10 in 2008. This does not imply that bicycling conditions have declined in the state, but other states have been doing more to earn more points in the scoring process. A key factor affecting many states is the "Infrastructure" criteria for which NH scored an "F". Actual condition of roads, bike paths, rail trails, etc. in use did not mean as much in the scoring as the percentage of Federal money allocated for same from sources like the Transportation Enhancement (TE), Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ), and Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). A complete breakdown of the NH scores by the LAB follows.
-- B in Legislation
-- B in Policies & Programs
-- F in Infrastructure
-- A in Education & Encouragement
-- C in Evaluation & Planning
-- A in Enforcement
Meanwhile, our neighboring Northern New England states went up in their new BFS scores. Maine went from 3 to 2 and Vermont went from 36 to 15. The top five states in the country are Washington, Maine, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and New Jersey. All the scores are relatively subjective based on criteria set by the LAB national office and some of the scores have been challenged by various states, but take it as it is: there is room for improvement in New Hampshire!
Commute Green NH program a success
Some figures have yet to be recorded, but over 62,000 miles were not driven in single-occupancy cars during Commute Green Week of May 16-20. That is like taking six cars off the road for a full year!
The mileage breakdown by method of travel for Commute Green week follows with more to come:
-- Bicycling: 4,579
-- Walking: 958
-- Transit: 13,158
-- Telecommuting: 6,968
Total: 62,030 miles
7th Annual Safe Kids 500 held Tuesday, May 3 at the Loudon race track
This very popular event allows kids (and everyone else) to bicycle around the famous NASCAR track in Loudon only with safety in mind, not speed. The event is sponsored by the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth while many organizations including BWA-NH support the effort and have display tables to highlight their programs. All bicyclists are required to wear a helmet and they are fitted (or provided at low cost) prior to cycling on the one-mile oval race track. Bike are checked and minor repairs performed by the expert mechanics from S&W Sports of Concord. The May 3 event was very well attended with nearly 500 kids participating -- and it did not rain!
Rail Trail progress
Users of the paved sections of the Derry and Windham rail trails can't wait until the centers of Derry and Salem are connected. Derry expects to pave their section from Bowers Road to the Windham Depot this summer. For the same Manchester-Lawrence railroad corridor extending south through Salem and into Methuen, MA, discussions are underway between the Methuen Rail Trail Alliance, City of Methuen, Iron Horse Preservation Society (IHPS), NH-DOT, and the Town of Salem with BWA-NH helping to arrange critical meetings in Concord. The concept of IHPS building a useable rail trail at no cost in exchange for old railroad material is a new concept for New Hampshire so new guidelines must be established before any work is done. At this time, IHPS is likely to start work in Methuen this summer and would certainly benefit all parties concerned if they are allowed to continue north along the M&L corridor into Salem. A five-way meeting on May 12 set a precedent -- this was the first time NH-DOT, IHPS, Salem, Methuen, and BWA-NH representatives got together to discuss options of interest to the Southern NH Rail Trail Alliance if not the statewide NH Rail Trails Coalition as well. To prove we really did see each other, a couple photos follow.
to right: Bill Scott, Salem Community Development Director; "Kit"
Morgan, NH-DOT Bureau
of Rail and Transit Administrator; Joyce Godsey, Methuen Rail Trail Alliance President; Joe Hattrup,
Iron Horse Preservation Society CEO, and Larry Keniston. NH-DOT Bike-Ped Coordinator.
Meeting held May 12, 2011 at NH-DOT, Concord.
(Photos by Dave Topham, BWA-NH.)
Did you see the BWA-NH May updates? If not, here you go!
National Bike Month started in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists
What started as Bike to Work Day by the LAB in 1956 (then the League of American Wheelmen) on the third Friday in May has since expanded into Bike to Work Week and finally the entire month of May as now called National Bike Month. Many states including NH have further expanded the basic concept to include walking, carpools, public transit, trains, and even telecommuting as means to avoid the use of single occupancy cars for commuting and all utilitarian trips when possible. By going "green", saving gas, pollution, money, and traffic headaches while obtaining some exercise via "active transportation" helps everyone and the environment.
in NH, the 2011 Commute Green NH program
is well underway with a new web site, many coupons and giveaways, and a chance
for you to log your "green miles" as either an individual or part
of a corporate team. BWA-NH is a statewide supporter of the program and is
donating a collection of sponsorships, LED flashers, reflective leg bands,
pens, bumper stickers, and helmet stickers as giveaways. For more information
and to register, please visit www.commutegreennh.org.
of Northern New England
promotes sharing the road with bicycists in their latest newsletter. Maine,
Vermont, and New Hampshire are covered in one article which was compiled after
AAA's Pat Moody spoke with the bike advocacy groups in each state. If you
don't have that newsletter, you can check out the two page article here
for page one and here
for page two.
7th Annual Safe Kids 500, Tuesday, May 3 at the Loudon race track
very popular event allows kids (and everyone else) to bicycle around the famous
NASCAR track in Loudon only with safety in mind, not speed. The event is sponsored
by the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth while many organizations including
BWA-NH support the effort and have display tables to highlight their programs.
All bicyclists are required to wear a helmet and they are fitted (or provided
at low cost) prior to cycling on the one-mile oval race track. Bike are checked
and minor repairs performed by the expert mechanics from S&W Sports of
Concord. For more details, please
see the event flyer.
NH received two Distracted Driving Simulators in April
The NH Highway Safety Conference in Meredith had distracted driving as the main theme with multiple presentations and demonstrations proving that drivers cannot safety drive and talk/text on cell phones even if hands-free devices are used such as Bluetooth headsets. There are many possible distractions while driving including eating, changing radio stations, checking a GPS unit, etc. but cell phone use leads the way as the most distracting. Just talking on a cell phone increases the risk of a crash by four times - about the same as a drunk driver with a .08 BAC. Texting while driving increases the risk by eight. Drivers seemingly "must" use their phones while driving to the point of being addicted as proven by extensive tests including brain scans. Most drivers acknowledge there is a risk factor but "they" are better than others who are talking and texting while driving. And even with the NH anti-texting law, enforcement is a problem as usually nothing is done until after a crash when cell phone records are examined - and the victims are examined in a hospital or a morgue.
What can we do? While certainly there is no one answer, better education and awareness can help. BWA-NH was instrumental in the NH Highway Safety Agency and the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth obtaining two Distracted Driving Simulators (DDS). The computerized and portable devices will be taken into schools and public places to allow drivers of all ages to learn for themselves that they are really not good at driving safely when playing with their cell phone. The simulators run a program called "One Simple Decision" - and it really gets the point across: simply do not talk or text when driving. Multitasking may sound like a good idea and many people feel they do it very well. Unfortunately, the statistic and deaths prove otherwise.
During May, a core group of safety professionals will be trained on the DDS by the Injury Prevention Center in Lebanon on the set-up, use, and database logging so they can train others who will be able to borrow the units at no charge for up to a week at a time. When not in use, one unit will be stored in Lebanon at the IPC office, then second stored in Concord at the Safety and Health Council of Northern New England office where BWA-NH rents space and services. The goal is to greatly increase the awareness of NH drivers of distracted driving so they will change their habits before causing a serious crash. Bicyclists and pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users with distracted drivers being a severe risk which is increasing every year for the past decade or more. The DDS units are but one way we hope to address this serious issue.
see our Distracted
Driving page for details and photos.
Bicycling Education efforts continue
With May being National Bike Month and the school year winding down, many schools are holding bike-ed classes with the help of certified LAB Cycling Instructors and the BWA-NH "Train the Trainer" program. School personnel are very thankful for the efforts and comprehensiveness of the program, especially when the on-bike sessions are included. A recent LAB "Kids-II" class for grades K-5 at the Canterbury Elementary School is but one example of another success story.
For adults wishing to hone their on-road cycling skills, a second LAB "Traffic Skills 101" course is scheduled for the Concord area this September. Please see our Traffic Skills-101 page for details.
Canterbury Elementary School sign announcing bike event, April 16, 2011
About 1/4 of Canterbury Elementary School students in bike-ed class, April 15, 2011
Canterbury Elementary School students practicing straight-line starts/stops
Rail Trail progress
Paperwork for the Derry-Windham-Salem tri-town TE grant for $1.2M as awarded in 2010 continues to move forward but a pace not likely to see any construction until 2012. Users of the paved sections of the Derry and Windham rail trails can't wait until the centers of Derry and Salem are connected. For the same Manchester-Lawrence railroad corridor extending south through Salem and into Methuen, MA, discussions are underway between the Methuen Rail Trail Alliance, City of Methuen, Iron Horse Preservation Society (IHPS), NH-DOT, and the Town of Salem with BWA-NH helping to arrange critical meetings in Concord. The concept of IHPS building a useable rail trail at no cost in exchange for old railroad is a new concept for New Hampshire so new guidelines must be established before any work is done. At this time, IHPS is likely to start work in Methuen this summer and would certainly benefit all parties concerned if they are allowed to continue north along the M&L corridor into Salem. Our June BWA-NH update will carry news of the meetings, hopefully with good results to report.
Did you miss reading about what the BWA-NH has been doing in the past months and years? If so, check out our Archived News page.
BWA-NH On-Line Calendar
Check out our on-line
calendar to see what is planned around the state affecting the bike-ped
community. We hope this will enable more NH residents to learn what is planned
for their communities and be able to participate in the decision-making process.
Want to help the Alliance?
Join the Alliance as an individual or a sponsor, help with the bike-ed programs, and get involved with local planning issues affecting bicycling in your area. Learning what is planned for your community is critical to ensure roadways are designed or rebuilt to properly accommodate bicyclists. Get involved and help spread the word! The Alliance can help via use of our email list-serve system. You do not need to be an Alliance member to use this free service. The more people who know what is going on in our NH bicycling community, the sooner the better, then everyone can have their say in a timely manner to help make a positive difference for all bicyclists.
Did you know that by joining the Alliance your payment includes a fully-funded GSW membership with all the benefits? Present GSW members are encouraged to join the Alliance when your current membership is due for renewal. For more details please check out the membership page on this web site.