Later this month the Augusta City Council will vote on whether to establish a bicyclist and pedestrian safety ordinance. The ordinance would establish a Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety Committee charged with guiding the development of policies and programs to improve walking and bicycling in Augusta. The committee would be chaired by a sitting City Council member and would have seven members appointed by the mayor. The committee would consist of members representing a variety of viewpoints from different professions and experiences. It would include two members representing the public.

This is good news for those of us who walk and bike in Augusta. If successful, this committee could be our voice when the city considers road projects and development and when it sets policy and programs that affect cyclists and pedestrians. The Bicyclist and Pedestrian Safety Committee would create a forum for community input and discussion of bicycle and pedestrian issues. The committee also would publicize its agendas, meeting minutes and other records, enabling the public to track progress over time and revisit ideas.

Augusta is on the move with development. New residents are being welcomed, and they could bring new ideas and expectations. According to a biennial poll on housing and transportation by the National Association of Realtors published in 2021, people who have access to places where they can walk remain more satisfied with their quality of life. Now is the time for us to normalize walking and biking in Augusta. With city leadership and constructive citizen participation, we can do this.

Mary Owen


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