BELLOWS FALLS -- Anyone interested in attending the Southern Windsor/Windham County Regional Safety Forum next week has until today to register, and those involved with organizing the event hope to have a finalized list of attendees by Wednesday.
The forum will be the fourth of its kind put on by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and two regional planning commissions as a way to raise awareness of how to stay safe on the open road. There is no charge to attend the forum, which is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Rockingham Town Hall Lower Theatre on May 12. A registration form can be filled out at vermontlocalroads.org/workshop_registration.html in order to assist organizers in estimating how much food and how many handouts must be ordered.
Susan Clark, highway safety plan coordinator with VTrans, told the Reformer her agency has teamed up with three regional planning commissions around the state to illustrate to people all the statewide resources they have when it comes to highway safety. VTrans has partnered with the Southern Windsor County and Windham regional planning commissions for the forum slated for Bellows Falls.
She said the forums' agenda is broken down into what she calls "the four E's" -- education, enforcement, engineering and emergency services. According to Clark, the forum will feature speakers from the state's AARP chapter, the Youth Safety Council of Vermont (YSCVT), Vermont Local Roads, the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles and the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition. The speakers will go over the types of educational programs their organizations offer, how people can utilize them and who to get in contact with at each one.
Clark said representatives from other parties, including the Vermont Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) and the Vermont State Police, will speak about the programs they operate and the roles they play in highway safety enforcement throughout the state. The engineering presentation, Clark said, will be conducted by three speakers from VTrans, while two people from the Vermont Department of Health will speak about emergency services and child passenger safety.
"Most of the presentations have to do with well-know organizations that a lot of people know," Clark said, "but don't know how they operate or who the contact persons are."
Matt Mann, a senior transportation planner at the Windham Regional Commission, told the Reformer his agency has been organizing the forum's agenda and reaching out to the public, as well as other work.
"We do a lot of work throughout the year in terms of working with towns and VTrans on improving the safety of roads," he said, elaborating that this means identifying certain sections of road that are high crash locations or that could need safety improvements.
Mann said the forum's attendees will break into groups to discuss each of the four E's.
Clark mentioned the previous forums have been well received in other parts of the state. She said, however, community volunteers are the target audience for the forums, which makes it ironic that they are the ones who often have difficulty attending because they are too busy with their volunteerism.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.