Walk 'n Roll News
Everywhere you look, biking in Burlington (and across Vermont) is on the rise. It seems that people on bikes are everywhere: not just on the bike path, but all around town. And it isn't limited to the lycra crowd or the day-glo bike commuters or the folks who are biking because they don't have a car. Everyone from new parents to seasoned professionals are hitting the streets!
And the numbers prove it out. From 2007 to 2012, U.S. Census data show that the percentage of commute trips taken by bike in Burlington almost doubled, from 2.9% to 5.5%. That puts Burlington in the same league as Portland, Oregon, which had a 6.1% bike commute share in 2012.
Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, who helped grow ciclovía said: “A quality city is not one that has great roads, but one where a child can safely go anywhere on a bicycle.”
My family of five recently returned from five months in Bogotá, Colombia. Bogotá is a sprawling, congested city of over 8.5 million people and we had to adjust to a different language and cultural norms, navigate the city, and confront social and economic inequalities nearly every day. It wasn’t long before the excitement of being in a new and very different place turned to stress for our three kids.
You may have noticed a new face to the Local Motion team in the past year. Martel Catalano joined us last year as our very own Membership and Communications Coordinator (think: Walk ‘n’ Roll news, social media and membership drives). A transplant from the suburbs of New York City, Martel moved to Burlington last fall to fill this role, so we sat down to discuss what brought her here...
LM: What attracted you to Local Motion?
MC: I first heard about Local Motion when I was finishing up at Skidmore College, and doing an internship with Jeff Olson of Alta Planning + Design. Jeff was excited about the strides Local Motion was making in Burlington, and he planted a seed that I carried with me through graduate school.
On previous visits Burlington had always blown me away with its beauty and progressive social scene, so I knew it would be a place where I would love to live. When I started looking for a job where I could have an impact and use the knowledge I had acquired in all my studies, Local Motion came to mind. We began a conversation and look what it lead to!
This past Sunday, over 120 people biked, walked or boated out to ‘The Cut’ in the Colchester Causeway to celebrate a long awaited moment – the official naming of the Bill and Carole Hauke II Bike Ferry.
Friends and family shared ice cream and stories before Local Motion’s Executive Director, Emily Boedecker, stepped to the bow of the ferry and welcomed everyone, “Every single one of you here today, whether you are a supporter of the Big Fix campaign, a member of Local Motion, or a rider of the ferry, deserve recognition and a round of applause for your part in make the vision of daily bike ferry service a reality. From the new wave attenuating docks to the bike ferry itself.”
If you live in or around Burlington, chances are you have driven North Avenue. This important street is the backbone of the New North End as well as a key connection between the New North End and the Waterfront and Downtown. What is less likely is that you have biked North Avenue, or walked along it for any distance.
Over the last year or so, a group of citizens and municipal staff have been working hard on the “North Avenue Corridor Study,” with a focus on making North Avenue good for biking and walking as well as for driving. The good news is that the Advisory Committee has issued a set of recommendations for changes that will dramatically improve North Avenue for everyone in the next couple of years. The picture above shows a street much like North Avenue that has been rethought to make it work for walking, biking, and driving. Read on to learn more about how this will happen!
Last week we added another member to the Local Motion fleet. The “Bill and Carole Hauke II” made its official debut out at ‘The Cut’ in the Colchester Causeway! This beautiful new boat truly takes our Bike Ferry service to the next level.
Since the floods of 2011, we have been working tirelessly to restore one of Vermont’s finest recreational amenities -- the Island Line Trail’s Colchester Causeway -- and upgrade our bike ferry service. Why? Because riding the Island Line Trail has become such a popular activity for visitors and locals alike that far more people wanted to cross the gap in the causeway than our original boats could handle.
“Even running two six-passenger ferries, we regularly had long lines,” says Bike Ferry Captain and Island Line Coordinator, Brian Costello. “With the new 20-passenger ferry, we’ve taken the service to a whole new level. We can take more than three times as many people and the new boat can handle much rougher weather."
The combination of the new ferry and our new wave-attenuating docks is finally allowing us to offer the reliability and quality of service we’ve been dreaming of for the last 10 years. Our goal is to operate seven days a week even during high winds and severe weather! Read on to learn about the new Ferry -- and to meet "Bob," the dummy who keeps us on our toes...
This year, Burlington is organizing its first-ever "Open Streets" event. Open Streets BTV is a celebration of one of the city's largest public spaces -- our streets! On September 21 from 9:00 to 2:00, three miles of streets in the Old North End will be closed to cars and opened to people. Here is a rundown of how it'll work.
Q: What is Open Streets BTV?
A: Open Streets BTV will give residents and visitors an opportunity to mingle, play, and shop, all while promoting healthy living and active transportation. People of all ages will have the chance to travel several miles of neighborhood streets in a safe, car-free environment, enjoying fun and healthy activities along the way.
This is just the beginning! Our goal is to hold events in different neighborhoods throughout the city on an annual basis.
Open Streets BTV is inspired by the South American “Ciclovia” (pronounced see-cloh-vee-ah), which originated in Bogota, Colombia in 1976. The Open Streets movement has really grown in recent years, with initiatives currently taking place in more than 100 U.S. cities. For an inspiring look at how Open Streets works and what it does for communities, check out this Streetfilms video, The Rise of Open Streets.
Kevin Rose manages Local Motion's Trailside Center. He is also our in-house long-distance biking expert, GIS map maker, and storyteller extraordinaire! Come on in and visit Kevin along with his TC Ambassadors at the The Trailside Center down on the Burlington Bike path. The TC is open 7 days a week from 9:00 to 6:00 in July & August and from 10:00 to 6:00 in September & October.
LM: Tell us about the Trailside Center. How did it get started and what is your role?
KR: The Trailside Center came into being in 2003 as an option for bringing in revenue for Local Motion by renting bikes. It is one of the larger revenue streams for the nonprofit today and helps to support many of our programs.
In the TC’s early days, it was much smaller than it is today. As a matter of fact, the room that is now the TC used to be Local Motion’s only office! There was just a handful of bikes, sitting right next to the desks of our co-founders, Chapin and Brian.
I started there in 2008 when the TC Manager was just a seasonal role – a new person every year. When I started coming back year after year, that freed up other people in the organization to do more advocacy work. Since then we’ve seen pretty dramatic growth in the TC.
Ed Champagne is one of our esteemed captains out at the Island Line Bike Ferry. We sat down with Ed recently to talk about his passions, his experience with boats and especially his experience with our favorite boat – the Bike Ferry!
For the first time ever we are running daily service across "The Cut" in the Colchester Causeway from June 14th to September 1st, and will be open from 10am to 6pm. Enjoy late night service every Thursday until 9pm. For more information, or to purchase your season pass, click here!
LM: Can you describe the experience of riding the Bike Ferry?
EC: For me it's just as exciting as if I were a passenger. You’re meeting a lot of people, you’re getting to know about where they are going and the adventures they are having. You’re enjoying all types of weather out there. It’s invigorating to see all that movement, or see how the weather unfolds which can be challenging at times. As captain it makes the day go by quickly! The enthusiasm people have for Local Motion further excites me, seeing the positive affect we have on their lives.
Burlington comes alive in the summer. With bike culture on the rise in cities across America, it’s no surprise that when temperatures rise Burlingtonians are choosing to get around on two wheels rather than four. Picturesque sights, live music, and delicious foods are just a few of the many offerings the Queen City has for locals and visitors alike. Waterfront celebrations and the Farmers' Market at City Hall Park are some of our favorite things to do, and for that reason Local Motion has been working over the past few years to provide a service that makes experiencing these amenities easier than ever – Secure Bike Parking.
Secure bicycle parking is the norm overseas in countries like the Netherlands, where the fixtures are permanent within municipalities. Our friend and volunteer, Stu Lindsay, has had first-hand experience of fietsenstallings on numerous trips to Holland.
Want to ride more but concerned about safety? Here at Local Motion we get questions about safety all the time, so lets leap right into a hotly debated topic, helmets! From selection to fitting to proper use, people really want to get it right! Here's a sampling of the questions we get...
"What kind of helmet should I wear?" Anything sold in the United States is subject to the same safety certification, ASTM, Snell or CPSC. Just make sure it fits you, is good shape, and is worn correctly. Local Motion can help -- come on by anytime!
"How do I get my kid to wear a helmet?" Buy a really sharp-looking model and let them decorate it with their favorite stickers or sparkles. Of course wear a helmet yourself, and then draw a line in the sand - no helmet, no bike.
"Will a helmet keep me safe on my bike?" No.
No? The rest of this article explores why. A helmet is an excellent insurance policy. If you do get into a crash you'll be really glad you had a helmet on. There is absolutely no doubt that wearing a helmet dramatically reduces the likelihood and the severity of traumatic brain injury in the event of a crash.
But a helmet is not the most important thing for bike safety. Here's why...
Dave Cohen, a presenter at last month's Walk Bike Summit, is excited to announce plans for cargobikes on a state-wide basis.
Over the past few years, new revolutionary cargobike designs have emerged in the US that are capable of hauling 400 lbs.or more. That means we can now carry the kids, laundry, and groceries - and perhaps all at the same time! It's a utilitarian cyclist's dream. If this dream sounds a little too much like a fairytale, then you've got to check out the new documentary in-the-making, Less Car, More Bike by filmmaker and cargobike aficionado., Liz Canning.
The west coast of Ireland. Paris. And (wait for it) Vermont's Island Line. These were the three featured biking destinations in a recent article on the front page (!!!) of the New York Times travel section.
(Best of all, the article was written by a Local Motion member.) You can't ask for much better company than that!
That's Ireland on the left, Paris in the middle, and Vermont on the right.
We are calling on 100 Burlington households to take the Park It Pledge this spring. The Park It Pledge is a fun city-wide challenge to drive less for all the good reasons you know about—it benefits your health, your wallet, your community, and the environment.
During this 6-month challenge, all you have to do is make a commitment to walk, bike, bus, carpool, use CarShare Vermont, telecommute, etc. instead of using your own car, and you’ll receive a FREE CarShare Vermont membership, generous monthly driving credits, CCTA bus passes, bike commuter perks and other great transportation resources to help make getting around a breeze!
Kids on bikes! Families on bikes! Communities out and riding! Sounds awesome, right? Good news! Local Motion and the Sustainability Academy are on a mission to make this awesomeness happen!
This past Monday, we officially launched the Bike for Life program with the delivery of 30 reconditioned bikes from Bike Recycle Vermont. Hamming it up like pros, our intrepid staff Dan Hock, Hannah Ohlson, interns Jonathon Weber and Daniel Crespo rolled out on four of the bikes. This news was met with a huge amount of enthusiasm (if the gasps, cheering and waving are anything to go by) from the audience of pre-schoolers to 5th graders. These bikes will be used in field trips (sweet, right?!), and in PE class. Check out this video: Bike For Life Launch, and be ready for some good smiles!
This is just the tip of the iceberg of this excellent project: we're running a school-wide bicycle incentive program, and on April 20th, we'll be kicking up the energy with a Bike Festival. Learn to bike workshops, community rides, family rides and a bike club round out this picture!
This project was made possible by generous funding from VEIC and the Vermont Community Foundation.
Help raise over $100,000 for area children by volunteering at the 5th annual Lund Ride for Children on May 11th. As part of our commitment to our community, Local Motion has co-sponsored this ride since its inception. Will you pitch in and help too?
There are many differnt volunteer opportunities available. Click here to get involved!
For more than a year, local, regional and state transportation partners have been working to create Go! Chittenden County, a significant partnership creating dozens of options for employers and commuters to save money, reduce their environmental footprint, and have some fun at the same time.
Now, you're invited to the launch party!
When: Friday, March 8 at 10:00am
Where: Champlain Mill Building, (My Web Grocer), Winooski Falls Way
Come celebrate with us, Congressman Welch, Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter, Winooski Mayor Mike O'Brien, CEDO Director Peter Owens, and more! We'll be giving away clip-on reflective patches and handy folding bags, and we'll have refreshments courtesy of Cupps Bakery.
In case of poor weather, we'll be across the street in the indoor bus stop.
Go! Chittenden County, a one-stop resource for information about transit, carpooling, vanpooling, car-sharing, bicycling, and walking. Learn more here.
Learn about the Railyard Enterprise Project on Thursday, March 7th at 7pm at Burlington City Hall.
Bring your ideas on how to improve travel and make Burlington's southern waterfront more accessible and livable.
What is the Railyard Enterprise Project? It is an ambitious planning effort that grew, in part, out of the concern that the proposed Champlain Parkway would bring more traffic into the King / Maple neighborhood. This planning process will evaluate various multi-modal improvements in the railyard area that could potentially reduce traffic in adjacent neighborhoods, spur economic development, provide more transportation options, etc.
The Study is sponsored by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) and the City of Burlington. Refreshments will be served.
While juggling the responsibilities of being a full-time professor and father of three children, Local Motion Board Member Luis Vivanco is helping propel our region's culture of active transportation.
Luis attended the National Bike Summit in Washington DC where he's represented Local Motion an an invitation-only meeting of the nation's most successful bike/pedestrian advocacy organizations. He continues to bring UVM students to this annual event so they come back to Burlington charged up to advocate.
Additionally, Luis has just published a great new book Reconsidering the Bicycle -- an anthropological exploration of the bicycle's return as part of the modern mobility movement.
Luis also serves on Local Motion's Strategy Committee and helped guide development of Local Motion's first Annual Party last fall. Thanks Luis for all you do!
Luis Vivanco (in middle) with the other Vermonters at the 2013 National Bike Summit. From L to R: Jon Lewis (Waitsfield, Saris Co.), Alexandra Smith (UVM BUG), Luis, Dana Heng (UVM BUG), Jens Pharr (UVM BUG) and Bruce Lierman (VT Bike/Pedestrian Coalition).
Further demonstrating the growing vitality of our region's active outdoor industry, Budnitz Bicycles has moved Boulder CO to Burlington!
This great high-end bicycle company moved its office and assembly operations into the JDK building near the Burlington waterfront -- literally inside bike-cultured Maglianero Cafe.
On February 26th, 50 cyclists joined Mayor Weinberger on a 'welcome ride' from City Hall to Budnitz's new facility at 47 Maple Street. Check out the pictures on Facebook here.