Community Spotlight: Montpelier
The Capital city has long been a model for other statewide communities in developing and implementing innovative, collaborative programs focused on effective downtown development. This month, the community will be celebrating their own annual Way to Go! week through the dedication of individuals and local business employees to use alternative methods of transportation.
A prominent bike culture has blossomed in the past few years in Montpelier and is visible through public art, community initiatives, and annual festivities. One way in which community members have expressed their commitment to creative transportation is the annual Sculptcycle public art initiative. From June to October, visitors and community members can appreciate the one of a kind sculptures crafted from local, recycled bicycle materials throughout the downtown area. Through Sculptcycle, artists and partners aim to promote the economic health of the downtown district by attracting area residents and tourists to the community through the celebration of art.
Other community programs throughout Montpelier, such as FreeRide Montpelier and Montpelier Bike have been formed to provide education, information, workshops for maintaining and crafting bicycles to all and improving conditions for bicyclists in the downtown area. With the help of these community initiatives, Montpelier aspires to become one of the most bicycle-friendly capital cities in the U.S.
Green Mountain Transit Authority’s (GMTA) LINK Express has been an excellent way for commuters to go to and from the Montpelier and Burlington area. Created in 2003, GMTA is a private not-for-profit agency in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) that provides diverse transportation services such as Medicaid transportation, a rideshare program, and shopping shuttles. Additionally, the LINK Express uses an efficient blend of biodiesel in efforts to reduce public transportation service’s impact on the environment.
The City of Montpelier is also developing projects to promote the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. Organizations are working with VTRANS to establish official bike lanes during the repavement process of Route 2. The city has also spent many years with the towns of Berlin and Barre to solidify the creation of a central Vermont regional bike path to connect all three towns. Community members are actively working on projects for curb extension to make pedestrian crossing safer. An increase in bicycle-minded policies and initiatives are anticipated in the coming years due to an increase in community awareness of bicycles as a primary method of transportation.
The City of Montpelier is on the right track to creating a more walkable, bikeable and public transportation friendly place to live. Way to go!