Earlier this week I had the opportunity to meet with one of our lead partners on the SouthCoast Energy Challenge: SRPEDD (Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District). As I left my home in Dartmouth I noticed the temperature was a frigid 19 degrees and I had to bundle up with extra layers and a warm hat. SRPEDD provided an informative overview about their diverse organization and they shared some great resources regarding transportation in the South Coast. Many of us have been exhausted by the heartbreak and delay of the South Coast Rail Project. There is no doubt that the Greater New Bedford area will benefit immensely when the commuter trains finally arrive, but until then we must look at alternative forms of transportation.
When I asked what other transportation projects SRPEDD was currently focusing on, the Principal Transportation Planner, Adam Recchia, showed me an awesome master plan for a South Coast Bikeway! The bikeway, once realized, will be a 70-mile continuous system of bike paths (or multi-use paths) and bike lanes that will connect Rhode Island to Cape Cod. Cities and towns included in this plan are Swansea, Somerset, Fall River, Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham and Bourne. Several segments of the bikeway already exist in Swansea, Fall River, New Bedford, Fairhaven and Mattapoisett. The South Coast Bikeway was designated as part of an East Coast Greenway Alternate route in 2011 from Providence to Provincetown.
I had the pleasure of riding the Cape Cod Rail Trail a couple of summers ago when my cousin was married near Brewster. We were able to ride our bikes to restaurants, stores, and to my family’s homes. When I walked outside this morning, I was greeted by warm sunshine and 50 degree air. This rare “winter” weather motivated me to make preparations so I can commute to work when the weather permits. Bicycling is without contest the most economical, healthy, sustainable and environmentally friendly form of transportation. I look forward to seeing my fellow South Coast residents on roads and bike paths this spring and summer. If you have not yet done so, please click here to take the SouthCoast Energy Challenge, learn about cool energy saving actions and to help offset your carbon footprint!