Bike Month event in Greenfield looks at favorite cycling spots in Franklin County

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments held a bike breakfast Tuesday morning in celebration of Bay State Bike Month.

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments held a bike breakfast Tuesday morning in celebration of Bay State Bike Month. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE—

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments held a bike breakfast Tuesday morning in celebration of Bay State Bike Month.

The Franklin Regional Council of Governments held a bike breakfast Tuesday morning in celebration of Bay State Bike Month. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

Franklin Regional Council of Governments Senior GIS Specialist Ryan Clary pumps up the tire of one of the agency's two bikes, which employees are able to take at any time.

Franklin Regional Council of Governments Senior GIS Specialist Ryan Clary pumps up the tire of one of the agency's two bikes, which employees are able to take at any time. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 05-14-2024 5:00 PM

GREENFIELD – In celebration of Bay State Bike Month and in anticipation of a new Franklin County Regional Bike Plan, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) welcomed cyclists to the John W. Olver Transit Center for breakfast Tuesday morning.

With refreshments, giveaways and informational displays, cyclists were able to share their thoughts on biking throughout Franklin County, which will be taken into consideration when the agency releases its 2024 Franklin County Regional Bike Plan in October. The previous iteration of the plan was released in 2009.

“We’re looking comprehensively at the region on how we can make it better for cycling and we’re looking for public input on things that would be helpful,” said FRCOG Transportation Program Manager Beth Giannini, noting the plan looks at everything from infrastructure to cycling initiatives.

Transportation Planner Jack Carolan added they are “exploring the barriers to cycling.”

The agency also shared a look into some of the data it received in its cycling survey, which recently closed after receiving hundreds of responses. In the survey excerpts, 48.8% of respondents said the biggest issue preventing them from biking more often is they are “uncomfortable biking in the streets with cars.” Other barriers noted by respondents included inclement weather, lack of time to bike and other, general safety concerns.

The Canalside Greenway in Turners Falls was by far the most popular bikeway in the county, with more than 60% of respondents indicating they use it. The River Road loop from Deerfield to Sunderland and the Deerfield Upper-Lower roads loop served as the second and third most popular routes. Nearly all survey respondents said they bike for health or recreational purposes.

“People are looking for ways to be healthier and not drive their cars so much,” Giannini added.

While the survey is closed, the public is invited to provide more cycling feedback to FRCOG ahead of the anticipated October release of the Regional Bike Plan at the interactive map at bit.ly/3WHHq3Q.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Orange Police Logs, April 25 - 30
Healey honors ‘the human cost of our freedom’ at Memorial Day speech in Winchendon; Athol also marks the day
$338K fraud drains town coffers in Orange
Athol lands $500,000 grant to assess Cass Toy Factory, York Theater
Volunteers raise $10,000 to make Camp Wiyaka director position full-time
Budget, capital item articles given green light for Athol Town Meetings

Using the interactive map, folks can highlight specific areas where they have experienced issues or where they would like to see improvements. Areas with a high number of comments include Turners Falls Road in Greenfield, where people are asking for FRCOG to look at how to make the connector between Greenfield and Turners Falls safer, and downtown Greenfield, where people are requesting bike lanes to make the city more bicycle-friendly. Other areas with notes include South Deerfield and near the Sunderland Bridge.

Tuesday’s breakfast served as one of many events celebrating Bay State Bike Month, which is designated by MassBike, a Boston-based nonprofit advocating “statewide for policies that encourage and support community wellness, equity, and inclusion, enable sustainable growth, drive economic vitality and tackle climate change.”

Other Bike Month events in the valley include a community bike breakfast at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Wednesday morning, which will be followed by a community ride at Pulaski Park on Thursday, May 16, at 6 p.m. and then a Bike Commuter Happy Hour at The Barb and Olive in Northampton on Friday, May 17, at 6 p.m. Friday also serves as Bike to Work Day.

For more information about FRCOG’s Regional Bike Plan, visit its webpage at bit.ly/4aqoZ6F.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.