Fledgling Exeter Township group hopes new initiative has legs
A resident is starting a network to study ways to make Berks County more attractive to bicyclists and pedestrians.
By Erin Negley
Michele Barrett fondly recalls riding her bicycle as a child around her neighborhood in Clearfield County.Now living in Exeter Township, where a large shopping center is planned along Perkiomen Avenue, Barrett is thinking more often about those pedestrian-friendly streets of her youth.She’s starting Walk Bike Berks, a network that will study ways to make Berks County more inviting to bicyclists and pedestrians.The fledgling group will hold a workshop Saturday at Exeter Community Library with two national organizations devoted to creating safe streets. The public event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Representatives from Complete the Streets and Safe Routes to School will talk about their initiatives and how the public can get involved.The Arizona-based Thunderhead Alliance is leading the Complete the Streets campaign to make roads safe for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School, based in North Carolina, assists communities to enable and encourage children to safely walk and bicycle to school.Walk Bike Berks will promote building sidewalks and adding bicycle lanes to roads and crosswalks.“This organization really has the potential to start making real differences,” said Barrett, 34.The cause is relevant, she said, especially with childhood obesity becoming a national crisis. Safe streets also are a quality-of-life issue.“I just want to love the town I live in,” Barrett said. “I want to walk out the front door and feel connected to my community. I do think that people feel more tied to their community if they can freely move about.”