Teen Pushes for More Lights Along BTV Bike Path

BURLINGTON, VT - A Burlington High School student wants to make your ride home along the city's bike path safer.

Jackson Elder is only 14 years old. 
 
Weather permitting, he rides home along Burlington's bike path everyday. But this semester, he and his Humanities classmates were assigned a special project. 
 
"We have to find something in the community that is an issue or you think is a big thing and try to fix it," says Jackson.
 
For the freshman, it's the need for more city lights heading towards the New North End. 
 
"I'll be biking home and it will be a little bit later in the day and it's getting dark out and if you don't have some sort of light, it's very dangerous and dark on the bike path," says Jackson.
 
The Burlington native has also done his research.
 
"Reaching out, speaking to the Department, those are all the different things that I think is great when our young leaders do that and learn," says Burlington Parks and Rec. Director, Jesse Bridges.
 
He says the city considered adding lights a few years ago.
 
"It was looked at as something that wouldn't be feasible from a funding stand point."
 
But the city isn't ruling it out in the future. 
 
"We have funding for the the next leg of the path and then we'll be having some future conversations about how we fund the rest of the rehabilitation," says Bridges.
 
Jackson is listening to the city and the public's feedback and proposing a solution. 
 
"We can install lights that provide enough light for people to see on the bike path but that aren't intrusive to people who have homes along the sides of the bike path," says Jackson.
 
So far Elder has close to 140 signatures online in support of his project, his goal 500.
 
All 9th grade students in Burlington High School's humanities class participate in this "Make a Change Project." This is the third year of the project.

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