Thursday, February 18, 2010

Add a Bike/Walking Path to Route 31 in Saipan

Did you know that there are federal highway funds available, which could be used to construct a bike path/sidewalk parallel to the San Vicente-Sadog Tasi road improvement project? These fund could potentially provide approximately 8-9 miles of dedicated pathway for safe bike riding and/or walking!

Research shows that building at human scale, whether installing new or updating or modifying public access space or commons-areas improves quality of life (People for Public Spaces at Our very own walking pathways at Beach Road, in Kagman, and in Marpi shows us, first-hand, that people will use pathways if they are built.

We are long overdue for safe walking space and bike riding spaces for our citizens throughout many villages on our beautiful island. As we look around, no one can deny that Saipan has been experiencing an increase in biking activity of all ages for the past few years.

A quick review of a few key elements in support of adding a bike/walking path to the current project identified above:

• A minimum of four major bike races annually: Hell of the Marianas, Xterra, Tagaman, Northern Passage, etc. This entails up to six months of training --- a bike/walking path would allow beginners a place to start training and allow more advanced athletes a place to train safely.
• Promotes physical fitness for our residents
• Enhances Saipan’s attractiveness as a biking destination for both leisure travelers and professional athletes looking for an off-season training location with an equitable climate
• Bike paths do double duty as they can be used for walking paths too
• Installing pathways along road sides keep pedestrians out of harm’s way from passing vehicles
• Pedestrians can enjoy walking along a clean path way as opposed to through tall grasses and/or giant puddles
• Students who walk to bus stops can enjoy a safer path to and from their homes
• Pathways increase community value and interest in area upkeep

Beautify CNMI! supports the vision of including bike path/sidewalk parallel to the San Vicente-Sadog Tasi road improvement. Adding a path increases our community’s quality of life. The pathway should also consider including trees, proper drainage, trash receptacles and collection and a regular maintenance schedule to insure longevity and access.

If you believe that this is an important project, make sure to voice your interest to the Secretary of DPW as soon as possible. Final hearings and decisions are taking place this week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Laurie, thank you for this update. I was working at one of the agencies when securing funding for the highway was in the initial stages. I talked about the possibilities of a jog path/bike lane and the people there just laughed because their main focus was the road for cars, erosion control, sewer lines, etc. I hope there could be some support, but I truly believe that there is not enough vision in that group then and possibly now. It maybe too late but I remain hopeful.