Essex Junction launches village walk-bike committee


Posted by on Mar 13 2013

village of essex junction.png  640×500In a unanimous vote last night, the Essex Junction trustees approved a proposal to establish a permanent village walk-bike committee.  This is a big step, and it signals real commitment on the part of the trustees to make walking and biking a priority.  Congratulations, Essex Junction!

Setting up an official walk-bike advisory committee was one of the top recommendations of an in-depth walk-bike assessment that Local Motion helped Essex Junction with last year.  The assessment was led by a group of residents and local officials who came together with a grant from the Vermont Department of Health’s Building Healthy Communities program.  With support from Local Motion, the group laid out a series of ambitious goals for making Essex Junction a truly great place to walk and bike.

Kudos to the members and supporters of the committee — including Bridget Meyer, Darby Brazoski, Diana Ferguson, Lori Ernst, Rick Jones, Gabrielle Smith, and many others — for their hard work and persistence.   A great little community is about to get even better!

Come Cycle the City With Us!


Posted by on Mar 05 2013
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The Cycle the City Refresh project is nearing completion and it is super exciting to see the results in the form of a suite of revised and cool new tools for the way-finding system.


The project is made up of five way-finding components with

  • new signs that incorporate a map and scannable QR code (printed and sitting at my desk waiting for install!);
  • the amazing new updated guide which gives detailed information and history about the specific parts of the city that you are cycling through within a 12 page color PDF;
  • a mobile version of the brochure for the tech savvy that want to see the map, points of interest and directions right from their smart phone;
  • a double sided rack card, that you can obtain from Local Motions Trailside Center and area bike shops, with information and directions on one side and a map and points of interest on the other which can be attached to your handlebar stem for easy reference while on route;
  • a simple one page map so you can print it out and stuff it in your back pocket while riding, and finally,
  • a re-skinned webpage for Cycle the City which will provide access to all of these awesome documents and some amazing historic photographs of features that were/are along the route coupled with some great new ones to show the route today.


Chapin Spencer, Executive Director of Local Motion and myself, Nic Anderson, had the great opportunity of joining Ron Wanamaker of Preservation Burlington on their monthly TV show on Channel 17′s Live @ 5.25 yesterday to talk about this amazing project and partnerships with Preservation Burlington, Local Motion, JDK Design and Burlington Walk Bike Council.  It is amazing how all these amazing organizations can work together on the same project for the greater benefit of Burlington in such a constructive positive way.

I am constantly energized by the people I meet and enthusiasm everyone exudes for this project.  I am particularly pumped about the support we continually receive from JDK and Micahel Jager for donating virtually all of the design work man hours!  Total rock stars.  To view the 30 minute TV show you can find it here.


SO…as we are getting near completion, we are having a grand scale launch event on Sunday April 28th in the morning with a ‘guided’ group ride around the newly revamped route.  We will start and finish at the same location (it is a loop after all) so you can transport the kids to the spot and mingle, eat and drink before heading off for a beautiful (hopefully) spring Sunday morning ride.

Rain or shine, individual or family (I will have my wee boy in tow in the Burley), single speed, fat bike or tri bike, come one come all.  The details are still being worked out so mark it in your calendars and watch this blog,  Local Motions Event Calendar, the Cycle the City web page, facebook and on the streets for a lot of promotion coming up.

Sooooooo exciting.  Did I say that already?  See you there!


Group Bike Rides Inside Maglianero Cafe?


Posted by on Jan 30 2013
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It’s true.  Thanks to South Burlington resident Matt Boulanger, the cycle-friendly Maglianero Cafe is the site of weekly indoor rides in the cafe…on rollers that is.

Last year, Matt started up Vermont Indoor Cycling.  At just $5 per session, it is an affordable opportunity for you to cast of the winter blues, get some exercise and enjoy the camaraderie of other cyclists.  You bring your bike and trainer / rollers…and Matt will bring the videos, music and motivation to get you moving.  These indoor training rides go through the winter.

When not leading the pack at Vermont Indoor Cycling, Matt works as the Williston Town Planner and volunteers his time for the South Burlington Rec Path Committee.  Clearly Matt’s working to get us all out biking more often — no matter what he’s working on.  Thanks Matt!

Packed House Enjoys Glenn Eames’ Cuban Adventure


Posted by on Jan 08 2013
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Glenn Eames, owner of the Old Spokes Home, can tell a good story.  Tonight was no exception.  Glenn shared many funny and poignant moments from his 1992 bike trip across Cuba.


50 folks came and enjoyed Glenn’s tales of Cuba’s special period after the fall of the Soviet Union.  The Cuban government had purchased 750,000 Chinese-made bicycles to help keep citizens mobile after the favorable petrol agreement with the Soviets fell apart.


Thanks to Maglianero Cafe for hosting our first Travel Talk of the season!  Baristas Emily and Belinda served up a special Cafe Cubano for the event.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the continuing 2013 Travel Talk series!

– February 12th: Cycling in South America with Dan Hock

– March 12th: Trekking thru the Bernese Oberland with Phyl Newbeck & Bryan Harrington

– April 9th: Walking Distance with Robert and Martha Manning

Thanks again to Maglianero Cafe and The Old Spokes Home for a great night!

Local Motion’s Abdullah Sall Becomes a US Citizen!


Posted by on Jan 01 2013
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On December 17th, Local Motion’s AmeriCorps member Abdullah Sall became a US Citizen at the Federal Courthouse in Burlington.  Congratulations Abdullah!  Originally from Liberia, Abdullah joined Local Motion late in the fall to work on broadening our engagement among people of all backgrounds.  After all, we need to reach everyone in our community about the importance of active lifestyles.













Abdullah recites the oath of citizenship with 20 other New Americans from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Canada.













Local Motion staff and volunteers attended the ceremony.  For many of us, it was our first Naturalization ceremony.  It was a moving experience involving US Veterans, a poignant speech by the Judge and new Americans from around the world.













From left to right: Jane Dunbar, Phil Hammerslough, Jason VanDriesche, Chapin Spencer, Charlene Wallace, Abdullah Sall, Hannah Ohlson, Dan Hock and Beth Truzansky (the City’s AmeriCorps leader).

We need everyone involved in this movement.  Do you want to volunteer or get involved?  Contact Mary Catherine (

Would YOU use a walk-bike path along Route 15?


Posted by on Dec 07 2012

Would YOU use a separated walk-bike path along Route 15?  The Essex Reporter wants to know!  Go to and tell them what YOU will do once there is a safe and direct way to walk and bike between Essex Junction and Winooski.

By way of background:  the Circ Alternatives Task Force recently recommended to VTrans that it allocate $2 million for building a separated, shared-use path along Route 15 from Lime Kiln Road to Susie Wilson Road.  This segment of path is at the heart of an ambitious and exciting plan to make it easy, safe, and fun to walk and bike between Essex Junction and Winooski.  For details, visit
This is a huge step.  The idea of a path along Route 15 has been studied three or four times over the last couple of decades, but this is the first time that there is money on the table to move towards construction.  The towns, the regional planning commission, and VTrans all deserve a huge THANK YOU for giving the go-ahead to this important project.  Please respond to the Essex Reporter’s poll at and send a message that the community appreciates their investment in this key regional transportation resource!
While you’re at it, let your selectboard members, trustees, and other community leaders know that you support the Route 15 path.  Let’s push this great new resource right over the top!

Segways on the BTV Bike Path? Round Two.


Posted by on Nov 24 2012
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In 2009, 802 Segways proposed guided Segway Tours on the Burlington Bike Path. A record 90 people commented on that blog post — and the responses were split 50/50 for and against having Segways on the path.  The business proposal was pulled and the issue remained largely dormant.

Now, Rick Sharp — one of the founders of the Burlington Bike Path in the 1980′s — is looking to bring guided Segway tours to the path for the 2013 season.  The Parks & Recreation Commission will again be delving into the issue of permitted uses on the City’s multi-use paths.  Read the recent 7 Days blog post here.

At the November 27th The Parks Commission at their November 27th meeting decided to solicit more public input on two related issues:

  1. Should the City permit guided Segway tours on the City’s bikepath and
  2. Should the City regulate the use of Segways on the path by the general public

The City Attorney attended the November meeting and informed the Commission that Segways are already allowed on the Burlington path because the State Legislature passed a bill a number of years ago categorizing Segways as pedestrians.  The bill also allowed municipalities to regulate / restrict Segways as desired, but Burlington has not yet moved to do so.

The Commission is likely to vote on the guided Segway tours proposal at their December 19th meeting.  Details here.

What do you think?  To share your input, attend the upcoming Commission meeting or send an email directly to Parks & Recreation Director Jesse Bridges.

What does Local Motion think?  Based on the divided and heated opinions of Local Motion’s members on the last go around, we support what we believe to be a balanced approach:

  • Have the Parks & Recreation Commission conditionally allow the guided Segway tours on a trial, one-year permitted basis. That way we have a controlled way of seeing how these devices interact with other path users.
  • Have the City be prepared to restrict general use of Segways (for others than those with disabilities) if any conflicts with human-powered path users do arise.
  • Urge the City to speedily advance the major infrastructure improvements outlined in the City’s Bike Path Improvement Feasibility Study because the aging waterfront path is currently congested, narrow, and bumpy — all factors that could make increased Segway traffic a safety hazard for path users

For more information on this subject, or to share your input, email Executive Director Chapin Spencer.

Ride, Ladies, Ride


Posted by on Nov 08 2012
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Guest Writer

Local Motion Member Annie Follett



Did you know that only 24% of women ride bikes, down from 30% ten years ago? In general, ridership has increased—and we should celebrate that—but guys overwhelmingly rule the road.

Enter Charlene Wallace, Director of Operations at Local Motion. She recently attended the National Women’s Bike Summit in California. Inspired and moved, she vowed to get more women on bikes. The theory is that women need to be introduced to biking. Here along Champlain’s shores, Charlene provided two safe opportunities; the October events took advantage of Burlington’s and South Burlington’s recreation paths.

The premise of these women-only gatherings—for novice and experienced riders—is to support and enrich their overall experience. Charlene advertised that she’d conduct a simple flat repair clinic, if there was interest.

While October isn’t an ideal time of year to recruit new riders, the energy was there. Weather for the first ride was nasty: chilly and windy, with light rain. I was coming down with a cold so I stayed home. No one showed up. Undaunted, Charlene tried again.

On Saturday morning’s ride, a pretty fog cloaked the waterfront. One lady arrives. There are four total, perfect for riding in pairs. Leaving the golden trees in front of Local Motion’s office, we head north, entering a surreal landscape. Geese are honking. We laugh because we can’t see them, but their presence is comforting nonetheless. I am beside myself with the fall colors; this is the last hurrah at lake level before stick season claims its gloomy grip.

Conversation flows. Karen is drawn by the companionship. Her husband doesn’t ride much anymore. Interestingly, she’s encountered a similar experience to my own, hooking up with a local club ride. It was billed as a “tour”, but the pace was more race-like, leaving slower folks behind. I recall that it felt like I was riding alone.

Charlene and Karen.
All too soon we stop on the Winooski River bridge, original turnaround. The fog swirls. We are game to go farther. More talk. We try the Causeway Trail, but the surface is still covered in coarse rocks, allowing heavy equipment operators the ability to make final repairs. A quick jaunt around Mills Point then we swing back. The ladies humor me while I stop for a lawn sale. I bring home a stuffed monkey for my son’s collection. Another woman buys little cars for a work display. We chat about how fun sales are by bike; little space equals little purchases.

Riding with women can be relaxing and social. I follow Let’s Go Ride a Bike’s Women Who Bike Brunch series, wondering if I should organize a similar outing.

By the time we head back over the bridge, the fog has lifted. Sunshine warms the morning. More cyclists cruise the waterfront path.

Karen, who’s never had a flat and is now without her husband’s mechanical know how, wishes to learn the repair basics. Charlene obliges.

Charlene is excited to continue the events in the Spring. These organized ladies-only rides are in their infancy, of course, but the possibilities are promising. Want to come along for the ride?

Kohl’s Kids Bike Smart, a Moose, Helmets and Halloween


Posted by on Nov 08 2012

Bike helmets perched on the heads of firefighters, goldfish, princess-witches and Iron Men, while the audience watched a large moose receive a check from Kohl’s in the amount of $29,668.   Everything is possible on Halloween.   Magic happens.

Through the partnership between Kohl’s and Vermont Children’s Hospital, Local Motion is able to continue the incredible Kohl’s Kids Bike Smart program– which includes a 20′ trailer with 46 bikes and and bike skills training materials for schools and organizations that request the trailer.    Magic, indeed.

And, of course, we  hosted a table with cool helmets and stickers for decorating them!

Thanks to Kohl’s, whose generous support continues to make the Kohl’s Kids Bike Smart program possible!

Stenciling the City, Burma Shaving the Streets


Posted by on Oct 22 2012
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Sometimes all you need is a gentle reminder.

Maybe you’re walking down the sidewalk, texting a friend.  You’re about to step out onto the street, and right below your feet you see something unexpected…

Stop Texting and Look Up!

Or maybe you’re flying down the hill on your bike to do some shopping downtown.   You’re about to cross an intersection, and there’s another one…

Bikes Stop Too

Or maybe you’re in your car, heading to work.  All of a sudden you see a bunch of people who look like they’re protesting something — but not really…

Walk and Roll Burma Shave signs at Edmunds Elementary

It’s on-the-street guerrilla messaging, Local Motion-style!  With a lot of help from a whole lot of volunteers, we’re giving Burlington a nudge about safe streets.  A few simple changes to how we get around, and we’ll all get where we’re going in one piece.

Want to see more?  Check out the TV coverage and the online chatter.   Want to get in on the action?  Contact Mary Catherine at

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