More South Coast residents could be riding to work on a bicycle in the coming years thanks to SRPEDD'S Regional Bicycle Plan.

The Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District held an open house at the Buttonwood Library on Tuesday afternoon. The group presented plans to develop bike paths in the area, and asked for public input.

The South Coast Bikeway Network, part of the Regional Bicycle Plan, will eventually connect communities like New Bedford, Dartmouth, and Fall River through bicycle-safe routes.

The goal of the South Coast Bikeway Network is to make it easier and safer for residents to ride their bikes around the area instead of needing a car, says SRPEDD Transportation Planner, Jacqueline Schmidt.

The plan also focuses on making it easier for commuters to get to work. SRPEDD Environmental Program Director, Bill Napolitano says they have looked into Safe Route To School programs for children, and making it easy for bikers to use commuter services like buses or trains for longer commutes.

Lloyd Mendes of the Somerset Economic Development Committee attended Tuesday's open house in New Bedford. He says recreational bicyclists, like himself, shouldn't be the focus of the Regional Bicycle Plan.

"If I'm too happy with this for a personal reason, that's a bad sign. It should not serve my interest as a bike fanatic. It should address the bigger problems we have in our economy and our culture down there, like obesity or people who need to save money to get to work," Mendes tells WBSM News.


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