BAR HARBOR — Bike MDI, a new bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, held its first meeting last Wednesday in the Mount Desert Island High School library.
“It was an amazing crowd,” organizer Ron Greenberg said. “Nearly every organization on MDI was represented.”
Representatives from Acadia National Park, the Island Explorer bus system and the Hancock County Planning Commission updated the group on upgrades to road and trail systems. The bicycle loop around the Schoodic section of Acadia currently requires riding through the village of Winter Harbor on roads that are less bike friendly than the sections inside the park. Officials announced a new path, similar to carriage roads in the MDI sections of Acadia, to complete the walking/cycling loop through park lands. “You’ll be able to get back to your car without having to go through town,” Greenberg said.
Park employees are also exploring the possibility of closing park roads to vehicle traffic for a few days or partial days per season to offer a different experience to pedestrians and cyclists, he said.
The potential for a new volunteer bike and ski patrol was discussed. Volunteers could help visitors to the park with directions, information and mechanical help if needed. Bike MDI hopes to encourage courtesy and safe speeds among cyclists, especially in the wake of several bicycle accidents this year on the carriage roads.
“The park has recently installed signs on the Loop Road reminding drivers to stay three feet away from cyclists,” Greenberg said. “That’s great news.”
Beyond Acadia, the group also discussed infrastructure wishes for state roads. “People are interested in keeping dialogue open with the state Department of Transportation (DOT), not only with the Route 3 plans, but for the whole island,” Greenberg said.
They discussed lobbying DOT officials, arguing “better roads mean more tax revenue.” A sub-committee hopes to review the towns’ comprehensive plans and enlist the chambers of commerce in an effort to market MDI as a destination for cyclists and pedestrians.
The group plans to send an email survey to all who attended the meeting and anyone else interested in getting involved. For more information, email [email protected].