Post Content

Gerry Bingham EEA

Posted By Gerry Bingham, Department of Energy Resources

Sometimes change isn’t easy.  Here at DOER, I spend my day helping businesses find ways to reduce their annual energy costs through the state’s new and improved efficiency programs.  Even when changes that reduce a company’s impact on the environment also save money, change can be hard.  But, when change for the better happens, the results are real and measurable and that makes all the effort all worthwhile.
I was reminded of this recently in a surprising way; it was when I dropped my daughter off by bicycle at Arlington’s Hardy School and I saw for the first time that brand new bike rack out front and it was FULL OF BICYCLES!  That’s when it hit me:  good things can happen when you’re willing to do the work to get to that last, easy decision (in this case, the decision for parents and kids to ride their bikes).  
Bingham Safe Routes to Schools Kids
Historically, leadership for the town's schools had resisted letting students bicycle to school out of concern for their safety. But, when a new principal with a new point of view came to Hardy School, parents reinvigorated their efforts to solve the car line problem by breaking the roadblock to safe bicycling. One year later, a number of things contributed to increased acceptance of biking to school, including a MassDOT-supported Safe Routes to School pilot that successfully introduced students to bike safety and quantified the community’s car-free miles, and state funding for renovations at a nearby school requiring a transportation plan that included biking.

Other factors that made biking to the Hardy School a reality included:
•    State and local resources big and small – from donations of little prizes for kids in the Safe Routes program last year to the staff time that went into organizing the program;
•    Hardy’s forward thinking principal, who not only desired a solution for “drop-off gridlock,” but, actually wanted to ride to school herself;
•    Parents who put in hours and hours of planning and organizing to incorporate safety into walking and biking to school;
•    Non-profit organizations that dedicated resources and enabled a great walk/ride day idea;
•    And, last, but certainly, not least, Governor Deval Patrick, who has supported volunteerism on the part of state employees who worked on this project.

And now I see the payoff:  I can count the bikes on the numerous racks at the Hardy School and I see our impact is not only measurable, it’s significant!
So, what’s the lesson?  Use all the resources available, point them in the right direction and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  And when you achieve your change, move on to the next big thing, but don’t forget to look back and chart your progress.  It feels good doesn’t it?
… and, oh yeah, don’t forget to ride safe!

Check out more good news from DOER at our Energy Smarts blog.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Thanksgiving: Travel Safely! posted on Nov 24

Thanksgiving: Travel Safely!

MassDOT encourages Thanksgiving holiday travelers to check the latest winter weather forecast and plan ahead with the high volume of traffic on our highways and at Boston Logan International Airport expected this year. Highways are typically busiest on the Tuesday and Wednesday before and on   …Continue Reading Thanksgiving: Travel Safely!

South Coast Rail: Bridge Replacements Move Forward posted on Nov 24

South Coast Rail: Bridge Replacements Move Forward

Governor Deval Patrick today joined Acting MassDOT Secretary and CEO Frank DePaola and local officials to announce a contract award for the replacement of four bridges in New Bedford and Fall River along the future South Coast Rail Line. The improvements will advance South Coast   …Continue Reading South Coast Rail: Bridge Replacements Move Forward

I-495 Highway Safety Program Announced posted on Nov 20

I-495 Highway Safety Program Announced

MassDOT and the Massachusetts State Police announced the establishment of a new Highway Safety Corridor Program for I-495 through the towns of Chelmsford, Westford, Littleton, Boxborough, Bolton, and Berlin. The program posts public safety signs that read, “Highway Safety Corridor / Laws Strictly Enforced” at   …Continue Reading I-495 Highway Safety Program Announced