Gov. Scott hits pavement to assess bikeability of Franklin County

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Governor Phil Scott pulled out his bicycle Saturday morning to pedal his way through Franklin County.

“Seeing what their challenges are, what they’re facing,” said Gov. Scott. “But also what they have to offer and what they’re working on.”

The governor joined RiseVT for its Bike for Prevention event. The group is committed to making Vermont communities safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“We know that if people live in environments where there’s more access and they feel safer to bike and walk, then more people will bike and walk,” said Denise Smith, Program Manager for RiseVT in Franklin County and Grand Isle County.

Along the 35 mile route, bikers made stops in St. Albans, Swanton, and Highgate. In each town, officials showcased steps they’ve taken to invest in more active infrastructure, like installing sidewalks, recreational trails, and bike paths.

“It’s not just for folks who want to grab their bike on a Saturday afternoon and go for a ride,” said Brendan Deso, Selectboard Chair for St. Albans. ”It’s largely for folks who don’t have a vehicle and walking or biking is the only way to get around and we want to make our roadways as safe for them as possible.”

Gov. Scott said having accessible communities will also draw more people to the state, To get a firsthand look, he said hitting the pavement himself was a must.

“Seeing it from the ground level is important,” Gov. Scott said. “Because you can drive by an area in a vehicle and not get a sense of what the community’s about. But when you’re on a bike and you’re stopping and talking with people, it’s a whole different atmosphere.”

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