Good friends shape so much of who we are and who we become. They are a sounding board for ideas, a wealth of information and advice. Friends are the core of our community and those who help, encourage and influence. The Paul Ambrose Trail for Health (PATH) needs good friends.
As I understand the PATH currently, there are many agencies involved with the development, funding, construction, and maintenance of this multi-use network. One group works on planning, one on securing monies, one on retrieving bids, one on ground breaking, another for clearing and repairing. These groups work in conjunction with each other and for the common purpose of providing a friendly and functional recreation and commuting bicycle and pedestrian trail system. Several different agencies have hosted public surveys, meetings and forums to develop PATH to best meet the needs of the user.
Friends of PATH wants to take this idea further. We want to create a group of volunteers who consistently help shape the development and maintence of PATH. We want this to be a group designed by the user, for the user. It could become an advisory committee, or a volunteer maintence group, or a fundraising platform. This is a clean slate, the opening remarks remain to be made.
Join me, Breanna Shell (city planner), Bethany William (RTI representative), Stacy G. (the Tour de PATH chair), and Jody Perry (friend of PATH) tomorrow, Saturday January 19th, 2:00pm at Heritage Station, inside at the CVB. There will be a PATH update, maps, upcoming event information, and a lot of discussion to set the foundation for the Friends of PATH (FoP). We can all commiserate on our desires to be a great friend to PATH.
More information available in this press release.
Reminder: Critical Mass January Edition is tonight, 6:30pm from Ritter Park fountain. Bundle up, bring lights. Have fun.
When Oliver went into the doctor for a diagnosis of hand foot and mouth disease a month or so ago, we got his weight. 32 pounds. The iBert front mount seat limit is 38lbs. We were getting close to that magic number. I’d also noticed his feet were laying on top of the iBert leg bottoms. He was just not fitting as best he could.
I absolutely love having my little boy at my chest. We have the best time. He sleeps on my signaling arm, I can wipe his nose and tuck him in. We hoot and holler at the same sights. It’s special. And it might be, that until you have ridden with your children in front of you, it doesn’t have the same sentiment.
Even when they get older, many family riders report they just like having their children in front the best. My yearning for a box bike with electric assist aside, we put the Peanut Shell back on my cargo bike and ordered a Bread Basket to make up for the cargo space lost by the child seat legs.
The Bread Basket has been very handy. We installed it on Friday morning. The arms of the basket didn’t line up well with the holes in the frame, but with muscle and might, we managed to get it together. Then we put it to good uses all weekend, as well as Monday for meal swap, yesterday for groceries and library books, and today for some wayward fall leaves.
My activity levels have picked up significantly this week! I thought I would be sleeping better, but I have actually been too excited to sleep. Some of the fitful rest was thanks to being in a room full of people who understand what the vision for bicycling in West Virginia should look like. Perry Keller with the Department of Transportation presented to stakeholders, the vision and goals of the statewide connectivity study. This meeting was one of 8 being held around the state, and the first of two such public meetings to gather the input of those who are riding these Appalachian hills.
If you were unable to attend the meeting, please visit their webpage. There are resources for existing bike trails (many that I had never known) and plans for the future. The DOT wants your feedback. Without it, things remain as they are and they won’t know what we want and need. Make the time to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your recommendations and desires for West Virginia.
Mr. Keller had a very comprehensive grasp on the situation. I was impressed and eager to know more. I was able to inquire about the Complete Streets bill that I heard mention of a few months back and haven’t heard follow up on, as well as find out about the processes for ensuring there are safe routes to schools built into plans for new construction (such as our newest middle school preparing to break ground, or the recently completed South Side).
People representing RTI, PATH, Edward Tucker Architects, KYOVA, the City of Huntington, Cycle-Recycle, Etromay, Putnam County Parks and Recreation, and a few from the general citizen ship were also in attendance. It was also a pleasure to see the Herald Dispatch and a local news channel reporting on the meeting.
The April 28th Kidical Mass was posted on Facebook and Twitter, but I didn’t have the event announced on the blog. So much was going on in April with my own family and time that it didn’t make the cut. I apologize if anyone was counting on a post and didn’t get to participate because of this. It was also likely to have been in the local paper, but I didn’t check.
Despite this, and despite the rainy morning, threat of rain, and many, many other competing area events, we had a good Kidical Mass. In some ways it trumped the first two. It was smaller, and a bit less stressful for me, and a bit less intimidating for the children to get to know each other. The ride was longer, a record breaking four miles, which for little legs with single speeds and 20 inch wheels, this is quite the accomplishment. We had new riders, who I knew from the community, and returning riders who had such a good time at previous events, they returned.
Spoke Rider artist Anna Spaceship was able to return, thanks to the generous sponsorship from Cabell Huntington Hospital. We had delicious post ride snacks of bananas and trail mix provided by the Phil Cline YMCA, who contacted me earlier in the month with the hopes I would organize this ride on Healthy Kids Day. The YMCA helped with marketing and were able to secure funding for Anna. It’s an honor to be able to volunteer in such a generous family oriented community.
When we left our house the sky was promising rain, and it did start in about half way to the YMCA. We got a heavy dousing, but managed to stay fairly dry thanks to the canopy of mature trees along the streets. The rain ended just as we arrived and we didn’t see another drop the rest of the day. I thought the wet morning would keep people away, but I was happy to be wrong.
Do these look like disappointed riders? These folks had a grand time sloshing through the puddles on their fenderless bikes along the PATH.
I don’t have a clear picture our Huntington Police escort, Lt. Dan Underwood, but he was our hero of the day. I don’t think many Kidical Masses involve their local PD, but we always have requested them. I think this community feels more comfortable with their presence and love devloping a positive relationship with the public safety officers. Saturday, Lt. Dan was able to enforce the speed limits of the oncoming traffic with a wave of his hand and few commanding bellows.It was of course unfortunate that he need to remind people to drive the speed limit and also that they when you are in a multi-ton vehicle and riding against the direction of a gaggle of children, some of whom are still unsteady, you should inch through and keep clear.
The officers we have had with us on rides have also provided leadership. Brent and I are busy with our children, helping with other children and trying to make some connections with the families. The HPD have been our support. They lead and sweep the rides and this weekend, for the first time, they corked intersections to get us all through safely. It wasn’t a dangerous ride, but there was more car traffic than we usually encounter. Kidical Mass is designed to empower families to be a part of traffic, not discourage them, but they need a learning period, and this is just it.