Script for Bikes Belong - Grant Press Event with Congressman Chris Murphy

Kent Falls State Park, CT

10-21-10

produced by Exit 4 Multimedia

"[Dan Bolognani] This part of the state is beautiful.  It’s full of history and culture and great natural resources.  And what better way to enjoy them than to be on a bicycle.

[Chris Murphy] Let me just congratulate you on this grant.  I am proud to have played a role in it. The reasons to invest in bike trails go beyond just the shear enjoyment for those that use them.  This is an investment in the economic development of this region.

[Sal Lilienthal] This is all about the Bikes Belong Grant which we won from an organization called the Bikes Belong Coalition based in Boulder, Colorado.

[Dan Bolognani] We’re looking at a network of trails that will cover 11 towns here in northwestern Connecticut and will connect with an additional network of trails of about 75 miles in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

[Sal Lilienthal] We’re really excited to get the grant; they are very difficult to win. There’s only five or six that are awarded in the entire country.   And with the support of Congressman Murphy and the cycling sports group, local bike shops, businesses. There is a national network of bike trails and we are going to be linked in with that.

[Chris Murphy] The estimates on this particular section of the trail suggests that we could increase economic development contributions to the region by four million dollars or more  just by drawing more people to the trail and more people to the local economy.

[Linda Cook] For every dollar, it’s leveraged by four extra dollars that it brings to a local economy. It’s that same metrics that we think about in terms of: what’s the human element and what do people do when they come to places and what do they want to do?  Trails have incredibly human scale to them.  People relate to them on a very personal level from all aspects.

[Dan McGuinness] I like to bike, I do it quite frequently. You know, bicycles are a great way of getting around and this area is a great area to bicycle in. You know, it’s a good activity that you can do whether you’re 7 years old or whether you’re 70 years old.

[Pat Hare] I’m a city planner by training and I knew the river roads a little bit and then I realized suddenly that they could be connected.  My role was to propose them as a bike trail and then begin to look practically at how you could make the critical connections where there was no old river road.

[Linda Cook] Without trails that link out to communities in ways that really engage people, parks are islands just as communities are islands.

[Chris Murphy] Yes there are going to be a lot of people that will use this bike path for some beautiful weekend rides, but we hope that it is also used by people that are occasionally doing their commute.  My work is both in supporting the work of the heritage area and making sure that it has the funds to partner with projects like this, but to also make sure that our transportation strategy going forward is not just about building roads, is not just about building railways, but that it is also about investing in intermodal transportation.

[Dan Bolognani] Our territory covers from Bull’s Bridge here in Kent and it follows the river valley all the way North to the headwaters in Dalton and Lanesborough, Massachusetts.

[Sal Lilienthal] We are really excited about the trail. We put a lot of hard work into it, but it’s going to take a lot more hard work to make it happen.

[Dan Bolognani] We’d like to thank the National Park Service and Congressman Murphy’s office as well as the Bike’s Belong Coalition for helping support this proposed projects. And we’re hoping in the months ahead to be able to garner a lot of grassroots interest in this project, but it’s really going to move forward with the help of the communities that we serve and people who enjoy bicycling.