by Terry Rogers
On Saturday, September 12, the City of Milford held the second workshop designed to compile public input into the City’s bicycle path infrastructure in order to create a Bicycle Master Plan for the area. At the workshop, maps were provided detailing potential bicycle paths in the northern, southeastern and southwestern sections of the City.
“We have worked with Lifecycle, Bayhealth and other organizations to try to create plans that would incorporate bicycle paths throughout the City,” Ted Foglietta of Century Engineering said. “We actually drove or biked every one of the proposed paths in order to determine if it would be feasible or not. We have even looked at off the road options with the goal to make imporovements for connected paths throughout Milford.”
Foglietta explained that the plan created loops that would connect residential, employment and shopping areas in order to promote bicycling. The paths displayed in the maps were based on feedback from the public and that they hoped to have one more workshop by the end of the year.
“At that time, we will begin to prioritize the projects, do some surveys and identify where new developments may be planned in order to get developers on board with including the paths in their site plan,” Foglietta said. “We also are looking at how we can utilize the beautiful lakes and ponds in this area to offer bicycle paths that promote ecotourism. The plan incorporates already existing bike paths as well as new paths that will offer some connectivity to the bicycle options in the area.”
“The Bicycle Path Master Plan would be a great asset to our town,” Lezlie Eustis, an avid bicycler, said. “Biking around town is a great way to learn the City as well as a great way to get exercise. More bike paths would create more and safer places, not only for those on bikes, both seasoned riders and new riders, but for those who walk, use scooters or other non-car type transportation.”
Foglietta agreed with Eustis’ sentiments, explaining that although there are several bike paths identified in the area, some are on very busy roads that some cyclists feel are unsafe. He also believes the culture regarding transportation is changing.
“We have gotten some resistance from developers,” Rob Pierce, Planning and Economic Development Director for Milford, said. “People are looking for walking and bicycle paths when they are looking for a new home now. More people have chosen to bicycle to work rather than drive in order to reduce their carbon footprint. With this plan, we are able to provide a developer with an actual plan they can incorporate into new developments easily.”
Early next year, Foglietta stated that they were hoping to take the finalized plan to Milford’s Planning Commission with a list of prioritized projects. Once the Planning Commission approves the plan, it will be presented to Council who could adopt an ordinance regarding walking and bicycle paths. The date for the next meeting has not been set but information will be provided on the City of Milford website.