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Town to talk sustainability

Sustainable Bethlehem workshop will gather resident input

A workshop by the Sustainable Bethlehem initiative will talk about the town's progress with making Bethlehem more bike and pedestrian friendly while reducing fossil fuels.

A workshop by the Sustainable Bethlehem initiative will talk about the town's progress with making Bethlehem more bike and pedestrian friendly while reducing fossil fuels.

— A community workshop will be held by Sustainable Bethlehem to inform residents on the town’s progress towards pedestrian and bicycle goals and the priority of reducing the Bethlehem’s carbon footprint with more diverse means of transportation.

The workshop is a component of the town’s Energy Management, Greenhouse Gas Inventory, and Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, which is funded through a grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. The meeting will be held on Monday, March 12, and residents will be asked if the program should focus its efforts more on community education or engineering changes.

“We want to make the connection between how improving the ability for people to walk and bike around town will lead to reducing emissions and providing a healthier lifestyle,” said Rob Leslie, the town’s senior planner.

The program works in part with the town’s Pathways to Homes, Hamlets and Healthy Hearts Advisory Committee, or PaTHs 4 Bethlehem.

Leslie said the town established the Sustainable Bethlehem initiative and applied for the grant to look at ways to reduce emissions from the town’s facilities and vehicles. The bicycle and pedestrian component stemmed from that original goal.

Portions of the grant money were used to hire a consultant to help with the project.

The town is now applying to become a pedestrian and bike friendly town. Bethlehem would then be rated and told what the town can do to make improvements. The consulting firm also helped identify potential pedestrian and bike products needed in town, and developed a sidewalk maintenance manual to help the town evaluate the condition of its sidewalks.

Leslie said the town’s prior work includes establishing a bike and pedestrian priority network and creating a safety tip brochure for motorists, bikers and pedestrians.

“The network consists of roads we feel should accommodate pedestrian and bike travel,’ said Leslie. “It’s like our blueprint and so any future investment on the town’s part should be on one of those roadways identified.”

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