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Bike plan should attract citizens

Posted: March 21, 2012 - 12:00am

There’s something a little disappointing about the notice for Thursday’s Augusta Regional Transportation Study, or ARTS, meeting:

Far down in the announcement is a sentence that the plan is “an update to the ARTS Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan adopted in 2003.”

We haven’t exactly been overwhelmed with the results from that previous plan. So who’s to say this update won’t simply gather another nine years of dust?

Actually, it’s the citizens and taxpayers who can decide.

The plan will be unveiled in two sessions, one at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Evans Government Center Auditorium, and the other a week later in Aiken. The public is encouraged to see what’s envisioned for improvement of non-motorized transportation in our area.

Those citizens, then, can either promote those plans to their local elected officials to get them implemented, or encourage them to put the proposals back on the shelf for a few more years.

The latter course is short-sighted, considering the tiny amount our community already has invested in bicycle- and pedestrian friendliness, and the tremendous potential still unrealized.

The Evans-to-Locks Road bike path is a good start, as are the Euchee Creek trails in Grovetown. By extending and linking those non-motorized paths, they’ll have potential for more than just recreational use.

School officials should have their say, too. After all: Bus guidelines encourage children to walk to school if they live within a specific distance and if conditions are safe enough, but far too few schools are connected by sidewalks to nearby neighborhoods. That needs to change.

Whatever your view of their relative importance, bike paths typically are publicly funded. More than anyone else, then, taxpayers should make it a point to drop by the Evans auditorium Thursday to see how organizers would like to spend their money – and to offer constructive suggestions before the paving starts.

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