Burlington Free Press
Free Press Staff
September 25, 2015
Together with the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance, AAA, Ride Safe Vermont, and many others, Local Motion organized Vermont's first statewide rally for safe roads Friday night in front of the Statehouse in Montpelier.
Lt. Gov. Phil Scott headlined a roster of organizations and agencies taking action to improve safety for everyone.
ZACH DESPART FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Burlington Free Press
September 9th, 2015
Event experiments with innovative bicycle infrastructure
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, city leaders and bicycle advocacy group Local Motion on Tuesday announced the second installment of an innovative transportation infrastructure experiment.
Burlington on Sunday, Sept. 13 will play host to Open Streets BTV, a celebration of the city's multi-modal streets.
"One of the major goals for Burlington in the years ahead is to become a more biking and walking city," Weinberger said. "This is something we have committed to as an administration."
Some Old North End streets will be closed to car traffic while others across the city will feature experimental traffic patterns to better accommodate bicycles and pedestrians. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Weinberger, Department of Public Works Director Chapin Spencer, Parks and Recreation Director Jesse Bridges and Local Motion head Jason Van Driesche made the announcement from the corner of North Street and North Winooski Avenue on the unseasonably humid September afternoon.
Weinberger said experimental "pop-up" infrastructure allows city planners to test traffic patterns in the field rather than on paper.
"If you look around the country, around the world, cities have made the transformation from being a really automobile-driven city to one that has outstanding walking and biking infrastructure," the mayor said. "These experiments are part of the recipe for getting there."
Weinberger noted that the pedestrian-only Church Street Markeplace began with weekend experiments.
Temporary infrastructure will include:
Burlington in 2013 was recognized with a silver award for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure by national nonprofit Walk Friendly Communities. Spencer, the DPW head, said he'd like to see Burlington achieve the gold designation.
Spencer touted the infrastructure changes in Open Streets BTV as temporary and low-cost.
"They give people a chance to try them out and respond, and not just do a idea on a screen, but something on the road," Spencer said.
Spencer said research has shown increased bicycle ridership in Burlington, but a greater increase in interest in biking.
"Sixty percent of people say they want to bike more but they don't feel comfortable on the roads," Spencer said. "This is an effort to reach that 60 percent."
Local Motion Executive Director Jason Van Driesche said safer bicycle infrastructure will encourage more city residents to get out and ride.
He pointed to the intersection of North Street and North Winooski Avenue and said experienced riders such as himself will ride along the southbound, unprotected bicycle lane towards downtown. But novice riders may be more hesitant to do so, he said.
"When I look at this street ... I'll do it by myself without a second thought, but I won't do it with my 9-year-old daughter," Van Driesche said.
The effort is part of the Walk-Bike Master Plan, Burlington's first city-wide bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure planning document. Spencer will host another public forum on the plan on Sept. 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf.
"These investments are good for the quality of life of Burlington, they're good for the economy, they're good for our social connectivity," Spencer said. "We are committed to accomplishing the mayor's goal of getting to Gold Level walk- and bike-friendly communities, and see this is a key piece of that."
POSTED BY SARAH GALBRAITH
FRI, AUG 21, 2015 AT 9:01 AM
As cyclists-turned-parents, Tristan and I enjoy touring Vermont's many excellent off-road bike paths — like the Stowe Recreation Path, the Cross Vermont Trail (between Plainfield and Wells River), the Burlington Recreation Path and the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail — with our 9-month-old daughter, Elise. But our favorite so far is the Island Line Trail. It runs 4 miles each way fromAirport Park in Colchester to the end of a causeway that juts out into Lake Champlain. (Cyclists can go even farther into South Hero with the Local Motion Bike Ferry.)
We made it out to the end of the causeway, where there is open water for boats to pass through and asmall ferry that connects cyclists with the causeway on the other side, which continues on to South Hero. The ferry was not operating that evening, so we stayed put and watched and waved as boats went by. As the sun started to set, we loaded back onto the bikes and began our return ride to the park. As we pedaled along, the sun was getting very low over the Adirondacks. At first, I thought we should rush to get back before dark. But then, after I remembered there is some daylight left after the sun goes down, it occurred to me to stop and enjoy the sunset.
New York Times
August 19th, 2015
Burlington, home of the University of Vermont and the birthplace of Phish, Ben and Jerry’s and Seventh Generation, has long embodied the earthy progressivism and can-do independence that define the state’s spirit. Lately that ethos has taken on a sophisticated sheen, as chefs applyVermont’s longtime obsession with local ingredients in exciting new directions. There are still plenty of Birkenstocks about; they’re just parked under tables spread with confit duck poutine, braised leek crepes and crisp, complex Vermont craft brews like Alchemist’s Heady Topper, a beer ofnear-mythic reputation among hops aficionados.
Burlington, Vermont’s largest city at just over 42,000 residents, comes alive in summer. The deep aquamarine Lake Champlain thaws and Waterfront Park, built on industrial land reclaimed in the 1980s during Senator Bernie Sanders’s tenure as the city’s mayor (he announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination there in May), teems with students and families. Kayaks and skiffs dot the water’s glassy surface while runners and bikers fill shoreline paths. Abundant recreational opportunities along with the city’s high walkability factor — you can stroll from the postcard-pretty downtown to the burgeoning arts scene in the South End — mean foodie tourists can burn off calories as quickly as they pack them on. (It’s a nice thought, at least.)
For the rest of this great article abour Burlington, please click here. NY Times travel column, 36 Hours.
Burlington Free Press
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
August 5th, 2015
A Ferrisburgh woman involved in a fatal bike-car crash in June never filed her state-mandated accident report, according to a top state official. Holly Gonyeau, 36, now faces a possible license suspension for failing to file the state accident report for the June 17 crash in Ferrisburgh that killed a respected radiologist, Acting Motor Vehicles Commissioner Michael A. Smith told the Burlington Free Press. Under Vermont law, drivers must file a state report about motor-vehicle accidents involving bodily injury, death or $3,000 in total property damage. By law, the report must be mailed within 72 hours of the crash, Smith said. Tuesday marked day 48 since the crash that killed Dr. Kenneth Najarian, 60, of Charlotte, a well-known physician at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Smith said when drivers fail to file the required accident reports, letters are sent to them indicating they face a possible license suspension. Drivers are given a chance to file the report before the suspension kicks in. The state crash report is required to determine if drivers had insurance at the time of a crash, Smith said.
A written report about the Ferrisburgh crash by the Vermont State Police lists an insurance company and policy number but never says if the authorities checked whether insurance was in place the day of the accident. Smith said law-enforcement agencies are required to submit accident investigations within 30 days. The state police says troopers missed the deadline because investigators needed extra time to complete the inquiry, which included an accident reconstruction team’s report. Gonyeau pleaded not guilty last month in Vermont Superior Court in Middlebury to a misdemeanor count of driving while under the influence.
Attempts to reach Holly Gonyeau, who declined comment after her arraignment, were unsuccessful this week. Her husband, longtime Williston Police Officer Keith Gonyeau, told the Free Press that questions were being referred to her defense lawyer, Brooks McArthur in Burlington. McArthur said he expects Gonyeau will file the overdue report, but he does not expect any new information will be revealed when she writes what happened. Private investigation Burlington lawyer Ben Luna, who has been hired by the Najarian family, said Tuesday the case remains open. “It is important for the public to know the investigation is not over. My law firm has secured two top accident reconstruction experts, including a bicycle reconstruction expert and a vehicle accident reconstruction expert,” Luna said. “They will not only analyze the state police crash report and photographs, but all physical evidence in the case. We know there is additional evidence in this case and also are confident that there is additional evidence to be discovered,” he said. Private investigator Gary Small, a retired South Burlington detective, also has been retained, Luna said, and Small “helped uncover additional potential evidence in the case at the scene and called in the state police. They responded and took it into custody.” He declined to identify the possible evidence. The state police have said the primary cause of the crash was Najarian’s making an illegal U-turn on Greenbush Road at about 5:50 p.m. June 17. Troopers said Holly Gonyeau reported she had pulled into the northbound lane to try pass the cyclist. She reported she was following a vehicle ahead of her that also swung into the northbound lane to pass, when Najarian turned into the path of her car, Trooper Brett Flansburg reported. McArthur, who recently filed his appearance on behalf of Holly Gonyeau, said he has had some preliminary discussions with Addison County State’s Attorney David Fenster about trying to resolve the case.
McArthur said he will continue to work on the case and will see if there is “a concrete proposal” from the state at some point to bring to his client. Family and friends of Najarian, along with bicycle enthusiasts, have questioned whether the state should have filed the more serious charge of DUI with death resulting — a crime that carries a possible 15- year prison term and up to a $10,000 fine. Gonyeau, if convicted as charged with the misdemeanor, would face up to two years in prison and up to a $750 fine. Gonyeau is free on conditions, including she cannot buy or drink any alcoholic beverages. Fenster has said his office took extra time before filing the charge and conferred with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and also with a state prosecutor who specializes in DUI cases.
Fenster, a state prosecutor for 171 ⁄2years, including almost six as Addison County’s state’s attorney, responded to the crash site with one of his deputies to confer with police.
Burlington Free Press
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
July 14, 2015
A delay in the arraignment of a Ferrisburgh woman in a fatal car-bicycle crash has given the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office extra time to review the appropriate charge to file in the high-profile case. State’s Attorney David Fenster said he spent part of Monday conducting additional review and work on the case of Holly Gonyeau, 36, of Ferrisburgh. She was due to be arraigned Monday in Vermont Superior Court in Middlebury, but the hearing was postponed until next Monday at the request of the victim’s family. Fenster said he plans to forward paperwork this week to the Court Clerk’s Office with an appropriate criminal charge and ask the judge to find probable cause to proceed.
The Vermont State Police issued Gonyeau a citation for a misdemeanor count of DUI. Friends of the victim, Dr. Kenneth Najarian, and bicyclist enthusiasts have questioned why a felony charge of DUI with death resulting was not proposed by the state police. Najarian, 60, of Charlotte died at the scene of the crash on Green Bush Road in Ferrisburgh at about 5:50 p.m. June 17. State police said the night of the crash Gonyeau had a preliminary roadside breath test of 0.123 percent alcohol level. Adult drivers are presumed under the influence in Vermont at 0.08 percent. Gonyeau had an alcohol level of 0.087 percent when she later took a court-approved breath test, according to a document filed by State Trooper Eden Neary. The new breath test result was contained in a document purchased by the Burlington Free Press through a public records request.
The document was silent on how long after the crash the court-approved test was administered. The arraignment delay marks the second postponement for the hearing. The first was at the request of Fenster, while state police continued the investigation. Burlington lawyer Ben Luna of Little and Cicchetti law firm represents the estate of Dr. Najarian and his wife, Krissi Najarian. “The family is obviously really concerned about this matter. It’s important that justice take its course,” he told the Free Press. Gonyeau is the wife of Williston Police Officer Keith Gonyeau, a 15-year veteran, the authorities said. He previously worked for Vergennes police. Holly Gonyeau was southbound on Greenbush Road when her 2013 Chevrolet Cruze struck the southbound bicyclist, police have said. The collision happened about a half mile into a long, level straightway about 1.8 miles from the Charlotte-Ferrisburgh town line. Najarian was out for an evening bike ride and was due back at his Charlotte home for a dinner with his wife.
The incident was the third bicycle/motor vehicle fatal crash in nine weeks in Vermont — and all within 20 miles in western Vermont. Four people have died.
VTrans officials want to see how Vermont state highways can be improved for bicyclists.
They are in the first phase of the project, which includes public meetings and a WikiMap where cyclists can show where they ride and what roads they would like to ride on. More than 2,000 people have submitted feedback through the WikiMap. Other organizations, including Local Motion, have been involved in this plan.
"The exciting thing about this project is when it gets finally through to fruition it will really help put limited investment in the place where it is going to benefit the largest amount of cyclists," said Emily Boedecker, executive director of Local Motion.
The deadline for comments is May 15. For more information visit the VTrans website.