Forum, May 3: Working for Safe Biking, Walking

Wednesday, May 02, 2018
Working for Safe Biking, Walking

Responsible bicycle riding was addressed in two recent Valley News Forum letters (“Keep Your Bikes off the Sidewalks,” April 10 and “Responsibility of Bicyclists,” April 19.) Thank you to the authors. I am responding for the Hanover Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. An older pedestrian died last October following a tragic accident with a bicycle on a sidewalk near the north traffic circle on Lyme Road. In New Hampshire, adults are not permitted to ride bicycles on sidewalks.

What engineering, education and enforcement steps have been taken to decrease the risk of bicycle and pedestrian accidents?

Calming or slowing of motor vehicle traffic is probably the most important. The vast majority of walking or biking accidents involve vehicles, and faster vehicles cause greater injuries. The two traffic circles on Lyme Road were installed to calm traffic to make it safer near the Ray and Richmond schools. Ironically, the bicycle-pedestrian accident happened near a circle.

Education at the Ray and Richmond schools includes the “Bike Smart, Bike Safe” movie for all students, bicycle rodeos and walk/bike to school days. Articles in The Dartmouth, Vox of Dartmouth bulletins and “Bad Biker Anonymous” meetings reach out to college students.

Dartmouth Safety and Security and the Hanover Police Department are leading enforcement efforts. “Dismount Bike” signs are downtown. Officers are stopping students who are riding on town sidewalks. Almost all have been receptive and reported that they did not know. Dartmouth is evaluating how to manage on-campus paths and walks under its jurisdiction.

Safety is Hanover’s first priority. The “Journey to Work” data in the 2000 Census reported that 36.5 percent of trips in Hanover were made on foot or by bicycle, compared with a statewide average of 3.7 percent. This is good, but it also presents challenges in a college town where vehicles, bicyclists, walkers, joggers, roller skiers, skateboarders and others share the roads, mixed-use paths, campus walks, sidewalks and trails.

William Young


Thanks From HCRS

On behalf of the board, staff and clients of Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of Southeastern Vermont, I would like to express our sincere thanks to residents of Windsor and Windham counties who voted to support our funding requests at their recent Town Meetings.

This critically important town funding will help HCRS to achieve its mission: to provide creative, collaborative and compassionate health care services that are responsive to the needs of the communities we serve. The programs we offer help community members struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities to access the support they require.

With the help of these communities, and many others, HCRS will continue to make a substantial and positive impact on the quality of life that the residents of Windsor and Windham counties experience throughout the year.

George Karabakakis, Chief Executive Officer

HCRS of Southeastern Vermont

Oppose Toxic Spraying in Vermont

Here we go again. With complete disregard for the health of Vermont citizens, Green Mountain Power has applied for a permit to perform indiscriminate spraying of highly toxic herbicides later this month along roadsides and rights-of-way in about 40 towns in Windsor and Orange counties.

A paid public notice of the event was placed in the Valley News on April 5 and 12. The chemicals to be used are Garlon 4 Ultra, Krenite S and Polaris, all produced by Dow Chemical, one of the companies that produced Agent Orange and other extremely toxic products.

It should be noted that conclusive studies by the San Francisco Forest Alliance identified Garlon as even more hazardous than Roundup, which the World Health Organization has identified as carcinogenic (cancer causing). It published the following findings:

Garlon “causes severe birth defects in rats at relatively low levels of exposure.” Baby rats were born with brains outside their skulls, or no eyelids. Exposed adult females rats also had more failed pregnancies.

Rat and dog studies showed damage to the kidneys, liver and blood.

About 1-2 percent of Garlon falling on human skin is absorbed within a day. For rodents, its absorbed 12 times as fast.

It’s unclear what happens to predators such as hawks that eat the affected rodents. Dogs may be particularly vulnerable; their kidneys may not be able to handle Garlon as well as rats or humans.

Dow Chemical objected when the Environmental Protection Agency noted that it probably alters soil biology.

It’s particularly dangerous to aquatic creatures: fish (particularly salmon), invertebrates and aquatic plants.

Please contact your local and state government officials, and also Jarod Wilcox, Green Mountain Power utility arborist, at 1-802-770-3231.

Oppose this indiscriminate spraying.

James Minnich


Happy About Polka Dot’s Return

I’m heartened to hear about the restoration of the Polka Dot (“Diner Building Plans OK’d,” April 24). It’s a beloved icon in my eyes, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I think there is an opportunity here for downtown White River Junction. We don’t have many places geared toward residents who have less money, and I’d like to see a new tenant who aims to change that.

Matt Mazur

White River Junction