Matt Waskiewicz: Must advocate for ValleyBike Share

Published: 10/10/2016 5:02:41 PM
Must advocate for ValleyBike Share

After years of preparation and planning, ValleyBike Share is coming to our Valley next year. I, for one, am excited.

We are uniquely situated to gain from the benefits of a bike-sharing program, and ValleyBike has the potential to catalyze economic growth in the Pioneer Valley for decades to come.

But in order for it to succeed, we must be leaders in promoting and advocating for ValleyBike. We are fortunate to have a reliable network of rail trails already linking our communities, but we can do more. Our roads are too often clogged with traffic as people travel between our area’s colleges and universities.

A thriving ValleyBike Share could provide efficient and safe alternative public transportation in our region, reducing car use, improving public health, and encouraging sustainable lifestyles. We must take an active role in adapting our area to the reality of bicycle use for commuting and recreation.

Many millennials — myself included — prefer not to drive if we can get from place to place efficiently, whether we use the PVTA, a bicycle, or our feet. People are increasingly likely to settle in communities that offer reasonable alternatives to driving, and attracting and retaining people to live and work in our region is vital to our continued prosperity.

Creating bike lanes on major roads, especially Routes 9 and 47, installing more bike racks near points of interest, and reminding bicyclists and motorists alike on the rules of the road would all help make alternative modes of transportation in the Pioneer Valley quick, safe, and easy.

Some of the world’s brightest minds come to our valley for their education. But, if we want to encourage them to stay and enrich our communities, we need to advocate for ValleyBike. 

Matt Waskiewicz 

Hadley




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