NEW ALBANY (AP) — It may be labeled as alternative travel, but biking or walking to destinations is just another mode of transit to many planners and transportation experts.
Not only does it increase social interaction while decreasing greenhouse emissions and dependence on fuel, but so-called alternate transportation is also cheaper and making a footprint even in Southern Indiana, according to local experts.
"I do think that we are living in a transition period where the tide is shifting toward developing and retrofitting communities to be more sustainable," Beth Rosenbarger told the News and Tribune.
She is a planner and GIS specialist for the Monroe County Planning Department in Bloomington, and also the daughter of John Rosenbarger, who is the director of Public Works Projects for New Albany.
The Rosenbargers will be among the guests speaking about topics such as energy independence and alternate transportation during the inaugural Floyd Action Network FAN Fair on Feb. 1.
Beth said she hopes the discussion will challenge officials and residents to consider the way streets are constructed and cities developed.
"It is not just a matter of infrastructure that needs to be constructed," she said. "We need to reconstruct how we think about public spaces, where we live, and how we move between those places."
Pedestrian travel — both for recreation and destination — has been a major topic in southern Indiana of late.
Recreationally, the Ohio River Greenway serves as a pedestrian and biker-friendly path complimented by its scenic views. New Albany and Louisville officials have also joined in their efforts to urge Norfolk Southern Railroad to reopen the K&I Bridge for pedestrian use.
Though delayed, Jeffersonville still plans to open the Big Four Bridge next year for pedestrians and cyclists.
As far as destination and daily use, John Rosenbarger recalled when New Albany started making sidewalks a priority in the 1980s.