The Ninja Path in Bennington, by Bruce Lierman

It’s only a third of a mile – how useful could it be as an active transportation corridor?

Very useful.  

Cyclists often worry about multi-lane roads, mostly because of the higher speeds of the motor vehicle traffic.  But we know from crash statistics that there are four “worst cases” that lead to most cyclist crashes; unsafe intersections, riding on the sidewalk, riding opposite traffic (in both cases, because cars aren’t expecting you there), and riding at night without lights and reflective gear.

Phase 1 of the off-road route from North Bennington to the bike-pedestrian bridge across the Walloomsac at Hicks avenue/Hunt street lets cyclists and pedestrians avoid one of the worst hazards on the route; the Silk Road-Route 67 intersection.

Going from North to South, the use of the path is pretty straightforward.  At the college entrance, cyclists now have much better sight lines to look for Route 67 traffic, and now cross 67 separated from the Silk Road junction.  The stop signs are here not only for traffic control; stopping here gives you a clear perspective to cross Route 67 safely.  Likewise at the Silk Road crossing. Pedestrians have a protective island and pedestrian-activated lights to aid their crossing.

The path now ends at the North entrance to Hannaford Plaza. A quick right and a left, then left to line up at the traffic light, in the right lane.  Then Route 67 down to Harmon Road.

Phase 2 of the Ninja path will bypass Route 67, if you have a suitable bike and are comfortable riding it on a stone chip surface.  You can read more about the complete Ninja path plan at: http://www.bcrcvt.com/documents/NinjaPathScopingStudy20150624.pdf.  Phase 1 completed sections 8 and 7 of the plan.

This article was written by Bruce Lierman from Bennington, Vermont.

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