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river-roll-and-strollMassDOT is pleased to announce that the first ever Connecticut River Roll and Stroll Street Festival will take place on Sunday, May 7, marking the official kickoff of Bay State Bike Week 2017.

The Connecticut River Roll and Stroll Street Festival will showcase the health, recreational and economic benefits of walking and cycling, and will take place on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.  The bridge, which carries Route 116 over the Connecticut River and connects Holyoke to South Hadley, will be closed off to motor vehicles during this time and become host to a “vehicle-free, care-free Sunday celebration,” including music, activities, art and food.

The purpose of the Festival is to educate the public about the value of cycling and walking as transportation options for the future.  By reducing the number of motor vehicles on the road, these forms of “active transportation,” will mitigate congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.  There are economic benefits to active transportation as well; according to a 2016 study by the Urban Land Institute, increased bicycle transportation has already helped to revitalize neighborhoods and generate business for retailers in cities and towns across the United States.

In the spirit of celebrating community while drawing attention to the benefits of active transportation, MassDOT representatives will be on scene May 7 to solicit input for the Massachusetts Bicycle Transportation Plan (Bicycle Plan), which is being updated for the first time since 2008.

An in-depth document outlining MassDOT’s vision for the future of bicycle transportation, the updated Bicycle Plan will heavily emphasize short trips, connectivity to other transit options and make suggestions for additional on and off-road cycling infrastructure.  This new plan will include an analysis of demographic trends and bicycle usage.

The Connecticut River Roll and Stroll Street Festival is being presented by the Bike/Walk Committees of the City of Holyoke and the Town of South Hadley with support from MassDOT, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike), the Cultural Councils of South Hadley and Holyoke and a variety of other state and local partners.  For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/riverrollandstroll or email riverrollandstroll@gmail.com.  Learn more about Bay State Bike Week and the Massachusetts Bicycle Transportation Plan.

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