Bicycling and pedestrian facilities serve a number of functions within the Rutland Region. They serve recreation, health and transportation needs. Bicycling and walking are energy efficient, healthy, and environmentally friendly modes of transportation that can support economic development in compact villages and downtowns.
They also serve distinct use patterns: localized facilities move users within a site or small area, like a village, while longer-distance connectors link localized facilities, towns, or villages to one another.
Formal pedestrian and bicycle facilities have played a secondary role in the Region’s transportation network in the recent past. This is a result of the Region’s disparate rural settlement and work patterns, the inconvenience of this mode for inter-town travel, the Region’s weather, and the choice over the past half century to focus time and funding on road networks for automobile and truck traffic.
Bicycle and pedestrian facilities provide key support in the Region’s transportation infrastructure. While they rarely serve as the primary means of travel to work for people – just five percent of Rutland County residents reported walking or bicycling to work in the spring of 1999 (source: US Census, 2000, SF 3) – however walking makes up a segment of most trips. These modes are used by people who live near to work or school, work in villages or downtowns, visit the Region, or are shopping, running errands, visiting friends, or making innumerable other short distance trips.
Facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists in the Rutland Region are scattered and generally offer little connectivity between towns. Facilities for pedestrians are limited for the most part to the downtowns of the Region’s largest communities. Bicycle facilities in the Region are extremely limited. The only delineated or separated paths for bicycle use are behind the downtown Rutland shopping plaza, along the former Delaware and Hudson Railroad between Poultney and Castleton, and connecting West Rutland recreation center to Vermont Route 133.
Signed bicycle routes, which share travel lanes with vehicles, are posted in each quadrant of Rutland City. Local, State, and Federal roads, designed primarily for vehicular traffic but legally permissive of bicycles, make up the remainder of the bicycle network. Recent Transportation Enhancement and Safe Routes to School grants have buoyed efforts to develop or expand and improve these in the Region. A unique efforts currently underway is to develop a multi-use path along East and Otter Creek in Rutland City.
Complete Streets: A Guide for Vermont Communities, and an accompanying PowerPoint presentation, were developed to assist towns with understanding the law and providing examples of how Complete Streets can be applied in Vermont communities. Both documents may be found online at http://healthvermont.gov/family/fit/target.aspx#streets.
• Rutland Creek Path
• Regional Transportation Plan - Chapter 24: Bicycles and Pedestrians
• Segemnt 5 Final Report
• Rutland Creek Path Segment 5 - SOQs