The Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee supports the Montpelier in Motion Plan. This is a master plan for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in Montpelier. Why is this plan great? Because when more people walk and ride their bikes, less energy is used. The plan says that bicycles and pedestrians make the city vital and fun, and that the exercise is healthy. But the energy and climate impacts are also significant and beneficial. Vermonters, on average, drive a lot of miles to work each day. If more people can live close to where they work, and bicycle and walk to work, the number of miles driven will be reduced. Public transportation is also more effective when people can get to bus stops by walking or bicycling.
The Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee also likes the plan because it provides a detailed list of potential projects for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. For pedestrians there will be sections of sidewalk added to complete the network, and improved-visibility crosswalks. For bicyclists, there will be additions of bike lanes and shared lanes. The plan is good at identifying projects with the least cost and greatest benefit, but it will definitely cost money. The money is coming from several sources; the main one is the Alternative Transportation Fund, which is derived from parking meter revenue. Two members of the Energy Advisory Committee are also on the Transportation Committee, which decides how to use the funds. We appreciate the guidance.
The state has set several energy goals to combat climate change and to make our economy more resilient in the face of volatile oil prices. The draft Comprehensive Energy plan lists the following goals for 2030:
- Double the bicycle and pedestrian commute trips to 15.6%.
- Increase public transit ridership by 110%.
- Hold vehicle miles traveled per person to 2011 levels.
The Montpelier in Motion Plan is critical to meeting these goals.