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Pump Track Planned

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A group of bicycle enthusiasts set the wheels in motion to put a pump track at the end of Cummings Street. A pump track is a closed circuit, curvy dirt track for bicycle riding.

John Hollar, on the behalf of the Montpelier Area Mountain Bike Association, filed an application on April 30, 2020 for building such a track at a vacant lot across from 23 Cummings Street and adjacent to a multi-use trail. The project is estimated to cost around $7,000.

The property is owned by the City of Montpelier, and City Manager William Fraser signed off on the application May 5.

A letter describing the project submitted in September 2019 states, “The Montpelier Area Bike Association (MAMBA) is proposing to construct a bicycle pump track on a City-owned lot on Cummings Street. A pump track is a circuit of rollers, banked turns, and features designed to be ridden completely by riders ‘pumping’ — generating momentum by up and down body movements.”

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This ‘Y’ intersection is the entrance to an access point of a multi-use recreation trail at the end of Cummings Street. The trail to the left goes to the area where the proposed pump track would be located. Photo by Carla Occaso.

The purpose is to create recreational activity for youths. However, the letter states people of all ages will be able to use the track. It will be built with clean soil in a 50-by-80-foot area. Building the track would require adding about 150 yards of soil and adding 10 parking spaces.

The location is “ideal” because it is near the North Branch, and the multi-use hiking/biking trail. It is also a short distance from the Elm Street recreational field.

Hollar sent a memo to the Development Review Board on June 12, 2020 to supplement the earlier information. For one thing, putting in a pump track would not conflict with River Hazard Area regulations because it does not “increase the exterior dimensions of any structure.” No structure is included in the application, and no structures currently exist on the site.

Additionally, the project can meet a “no fill” requirement, Hollar wrote.

The group will also have to request a waiver for developing within a wetlands or vernal pool buffer to convince the board the pump track “shall not have an undue adverse impact on the wetland or vernal pool.” There is a vernal pool on the opposite side of Cummings Street, next to an apartment complex.

Shannon Morrison, wetlands ecologist, wrote in a letter dated June 8 recommending the group put up a buffer demarcation berm or fence 50 feet from the wetland area. She also suggested they contact the Department of Public Works, because the spot had been used to store snow after snow removal. However, city officials said that spot hasn’t been used to dump snow for several years.

The Design Review Board will discuss the project during their meeting July 20. Those who want to hear more or weigh in on the matter are encouraged to participate. From the montpelier-vt.org website:

Public participation by remote means highly encouraged:
https://zoom.us/j/97517685798?pwd=MmhyM1l6dmFMRjRLZXEyYVRwRWpDQT09
Meeting ID: 975 1768 5798
Password: 325564
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Born in Montpelier. Managing editor of The Bridge from 2014-2017. Writer and editor for The Caledonian Record; correspondent and contributing writer for The Times Argus, Burlington Free Press, Green Mountain Trading Post, North Star Monthly, The Northland Journal, and other publications. English teacher and Interventionist in the Montpelier Roxbury School district.