Walk 'n Roll News Archives
Since 2003 the Alliance for Walking and Biking, the national umbrella organization for over 200 walk/bike advocacy organizations, has been tracking the progress of our movement with a biennial publication, the Benchmarking report. The report covers all 50 states and the 50 most populous cities, AND it includes a handful of small to midsized cities chosen because of the strength of the bicycling community. Thanks to lobbying efforts by Local Motion and our statewide partners, Burlington has made the cut since 2014.
Here are some highlights relevant to Vermont that we found in the report:
Embrace your inner transportation geek! The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) and VTrans will host a 2016 webinar series by the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP, http://www.apbp.org/) that is free and open to the public. You’ll be amazed at how quickly street design lingo and transportation statistics will roll off your tongue the next time you speak up for safe roads in your town.
You can participate at the CCRPC office in Winooski (directions here) or join VTrans in Room 413 of the Davis building in the National Life building (note ID needed to enter the building). on the 3rd Wednesday of each month (second Wednesday in December) from 3:00-4:00 p.m, or
2016 webinar schedule:
Jan 20: All About Guidance # 2 - Using Guidance Effectively
Feb 17: Planning for Facility Maintenance and Management Costs
Mar 16: Understanding the Funding Process
Apr 20: Shared and Separated Off-street Paths
May 18: Aspects of Equity
Jun 15: Economic Impacts of Street Design Decisions
Jul 20: Performance Measures to Evaluate new and Established Practices
Aug 17: Street Design and Planning in Suburban Contexts
Sep 21: Pedestrians and Bicyclists in a Suburban Context
Oct 19: Intersections that Work for Pedestrians and Cyclists
Nov 16: Transitions Between Bikeway Facilities
Dec 14: Tips to Demystify Traffic Analysis
Bike facilities come in many forms.
Context sensitive design is just one of the topics
in the APBP seminar series.
WANT TO UP YOUR TRANSPORTATION CREDS?
Pick a webinar and put it on your calendar today!
In early 2016, the Burlington City Council will vote on the city's first-ever "Walk-Bike Master Plan." Done right, this plan will be a blueprint for making Burlington the kind of place where anyone can bike and walk anywhere in safety and comfort. This plan has been a long time coming, and it’s time to get it done.
Even with broad support, change never comes easy. There will be pushback from people who think that our streets are only for cars. Too often, people underestimate the positive impact that investments in walking and biking have on the local economy and community.
On Town Meeting Day, Burlington voters overwhelmingly rejected an advisory question calling on the City to retain four lanes on North Avenue between the Route 127 interchange and Shore Road. The 58% to 42% vote sent a clear message to city leaders that the community supports moving ahead with the North Avenue pilot project, which will provisionally install a number of design changes intended to make North Avenue safer for everyone. Many thanks to everyone who spoke up and took part in keeping this important project on track! Here are some of the changes coming to North Avenue this spring.
Voters from the New North End and across the City shared with us some of the reasons why they voted “NO” on #2...
Others were not convinced of the benefits, but wanted a chance to see for themselves how the pilot project worked before making a decision.
Starting in just a few months, crews will begin implementing two key pilot project-related changes on North Avenue: restriping and signal changes. Restriping will start with the less complex segments, leaving the 4 to 3 conversion until the summer to coincide with school break. Changes to intersections and to signals will happen in coordination with restriping. All the changes should be in place by mid- to late summer. For the complete schedule, visit the North Ave Taskforce’s website.
Throughout installation,Burlington’s Department of Public Works (DPW) will track conditions closely to ensure that the changes work for everyone and will adjust as needed based on what they learn. Once all the changes have been implemented, then monitoring starts in earnest. DPW staff will track:
Once the pilot changes have been in place for a few months, DPW will assess the experience of users of the new North Avenue. They will be guided by the City Council resolution that launched the pilot and established the North Avenue Task Force, which specified that public opinion regarding the pilot should be assessed four months after installation as well as at the conclusion of the pilot (scheduled for spring 2017). The resolution further stated that “if public input from the New North End does not support its continuation,” the City will undo the 4-to-3-lane conversion.
Many Burlington residents use North Avenue on a regular basis, from families of middle and high school students to shoppers at the Ethan Allen Shopping Center to people visiting Leddy Park, North Beach, and other public lands. The ballot question brought this conversation to the whole City, recognizing that everyone who lives and visits here has a voice in the future of our roads - be it North Ave, Pine Street or Main Street. Local Motion is committed to working with DPW to bring forward the voices of all residents as we discuss the future of the streets that connect our neighborhoods and our community.
4 to 3 lane conversions are becoming increasingly common across the country, and there are a number of opportunities to pilot them here in Vermont. Burlington’s experience with North Avenue—and in particular, the monitoring and evaluation practices that will be developed as part of this project—will help other communities when they take on road diets of their own. Keep your eyes open for news of a 5 to 3 lane conversion slated for the Barre-Montpelier road this summer.
Get out there and experience the new North Ave this summer—ride, walk, and drive—and let your voice be heard! We’ll keep you posted on opportunities to weigh in as the pilot progresses. North Avenue is for everyone.
For more information about the pilot project, check out these two sites:
Call to Action:
Sign Local Motion’s petition calling on the Burlington City Council to make our streets safe for walking and biking! bit.ly/BTV4bikes
Volunteer For a Work Day to bring Local Motion’s Eight Bicycle Rest Areas to the Lake Champlain Scenic Byway
Bust out your work clothes and gloves because we’re building bicycle rest areas! With YOUR help, starting this summer people biking on the Lake Champlain Scenic Byway will be able to stop, rest and have a snack at any of the eight brand new bike rest areas located throughout the Lake Champlain Scenic Byway in the Champlain Islands, Colchester and Shelburne. Local Motion has been working closely with incredible local partners, VTrans and our contractor TimberHomes, to create picnic rest areas that feature covered picnic tables and informational kiosks, interpretive panels and bike racks at the sites listed below. We’ve made it 75% of the way there, but we need your help to finish the project!
Do you like working outside? How about using your muscles? If so, then you’ll love this volunteer job. Local Motion is looking for volunteers to help with the installation of tables and kiosks. No construction knowledge is necessary. There are four chances to help out! You can sign up for one day or all four. Many hands make light work, so invite your friends! We’ve got tree-planting, kiosk post-hole digging, fence building and table assembly! Each day volunteers will visit and install the necessary features at two bike rest-area locations. A full day is approximately 6-8 hours - a great chance to get those City Market volunteer hours!
SIGN UP NOW at this link to volunteer!! Pick the location that works best for you.
April 8th (Friday): Isle La Motte: Goodsell Ridge Fossil Preserve, Hall Home Place Island Ice Cider
April 9th (Saturday): Colchester: Airport Park, Shelburne: Shelburne Vineyard
April 15th (Friday): Alburgh Golf Links, Alburgh Village: Rutland Railroad Pump House
April 16th (Saturday): Grand Isle Art Works, South Hero: Snow Farm Vineyard
On top of the important work and fun of building these rest areas, volunteers who help out will also receive...
· A Local Motion Island Line Bike Ferry Season Pass
· Rest Area Bike Tour Party Invitation (Summer 2016)
· City Market Member Worker Hours
· Your name on a volunteer thank you plaque at the site you worked on!
Funding for this project was made possible thanks to Federal Scenic Byway Grants.
Award: Theresa S. Brungardt was Vermont's first Director of Recreation. Awards in her name to honor the contribution of individuals and organizations have been given out by theVermont Recreation and Parks Association
for nearly 40 years! Local Motion was honored to be this year's recipient of the organizational award for our 'Outstanding Contribution' to parks and recreation.
Many thanks for your support over the years. And for enjoying the fruits of our shared labors --the Island Line Rail Trail and the Bike Ferry -- all season long.
New Facilities: Restoration of the Island Line Rail Trail and the bike ferry connection are the signature projects that launched Local Motion back in 1999. Thousands enjoy the causeway and connection to the Islands each year, but we are not done yet! There is so much good riding to be had north, south and east of the Island Line (and yes west too with LCT ferry connections!).
On the slate for 2016 are six new bicycle rest areas in Grand Isle and Chittenden county. Want to help us build them? RFPs for this federally funded project are due by Dec. 18.
For anyone who walks or bikes regularly (or would like to), the benefits of the BTV Walk-Bike Master Plan that is in the works are obvious. A complete network of bike lanes throughout the city? Heck yeah! Streets whose physical design makes it feel natural and comfortable to drive at - not over - the speed limit? Yes please! Intersections that put safety for people crossing the street first? Yes, oh yes!
But then there’s your Aunt Betty, who drives pretty much everywhere and can’t really see what all the fuss over bikes and crosswalks is about. What’s in it for her? Aside from the fact that she would rather not see you get flattened by a garbage truck, why should she care about making Burlington—or any community—more bike (and walk) friendly? Here are a few ideas to share over Sunday dinner next week.
A number of Vermont communities of different sizes already have walk bike plans in place like the Montpelier in Motion plan, the Essex Town and Village Walk Bike Plan and Jericho’s Bike and Pedestrian Facility Master Plan. Like Burlington a number of other Vermont communities are working on walk/bike plans either as standalone projects or as part of their transportation plan. Getting involved early in the planning process is the best way to ensure the needs of all community members are addressed.
For the rider in your life, give the gift of a summer season on the Island Line Bike Ferry. From May 27 to Oct 10 (and 7-days a week in the summer months) season pass holders can ride to and from the Islands across the 'cut' in the Colchester Causeway as many times as they like.
Looking for a way to support Local Motion but don't want a "bike-y" gift? This holiday season, while you are shopping for the child in your life, please consider supporting Bike Smart by purchasing toys and books from the Kohl's Cares rack in the South Burlington store (at the University Mall). Every dollar spent goes directly to support this bike skills program for kids.
In fact, if you're looking for a great way to multiply the impact of your giving, consider one of our steadfast supporters' strategy. Not only does she buy a large quantity of Kohl's animals and books for "emergency" presents-- unexpected birthday party invitations, or surprise baby showers -- she also buys stuffed animals and books and brings them to Toys for Tots during the holidays. What a perfect way to support Bike Smart AND provide a lovely present that lasts for a child in need! (One of our staffers' niece refuses to part with her Kohl's giraffe, and it looks as good now as it did when she first got it.)
Residents opposed to the Burlington North Avenue pilot project scored a victory this week. On Monday night, the Burlington City Council voted 9-3 on a resolution that will put an advisory question about North Avenue on the March 1 Town Meeting ballot. The question reads,
Shall the City Council, Public Works Commission, Department of Public Works, and Administration be advised to keep four lanes open to motor vehicles on North Avenue from the Route 127 access intersection north to the Shore Road intersection?
Interestingly, at the same time as they voted to put this item on the ballot, almost all the councilors said they would vote “no” on the question on Town Meeting Day—and that, between now and then, they would actively campaign to defeat the measure.
So what gives? Why did a majority of councilors vote to put something on the ballot that they actively oppose and that upwards of 50 people turned out against at Monday’s meeting? Long story short, they felt obliged to respect the fact that about 1,500 registered voters had signed a petition with more or less the same question on it. The petition had been rejected by the City Attorney for technical reasons having to do with how the group worded the question. (Read this memo from the City Attorney if you want the full story on why the citizen petition was rejected, and read this memo from the Mayor for an explanation of the rationale for Council putting the question on the ballot.)
Local Motion argued against the Council’s decision and called on them to reject the resolution to put this question on the ballot. (You can read more here about why Local Motion argued against Council putting this advisory question on the ballot.) About 20 people in attendance at the Council meeting also spoke up either against the ballot question or in favor of the North Avenue pilot project in general. But the measure passed regardless and the question above will be on the ballot on Town Meeting Day.
It’s time to get organized. An overwhelming NO vote on this ballot question will be a vote for making our streets safer for everyone: people walking, people biking, and people driving. But this won’t happen all by itself. It’ll take dozens of volunteers knocking on doors, educating their neighbors about the ballot item, and making sure they turn out to vote. There’s also a silver lining to this question being on the ballot: it spurs us to build the base of support we’ll need for a YES vote at the City Council meeting in a couple of months on the walk bike master plan (see article below). Will you be one of the volunteers who takes the movement for safer streets into the street?
CALL TO ACTION:
Sign Local Motion’s petition at bit.ly/BTV4bikes calling on the City Council to make Burlington safe for walking and biking. We’ll be organizing a volunteer training in the next week or two, and our petition signers will all be invited.
Are you concerned about walk/bike safety in your community? Are kids not able to walk home safely from school? Are people walking and biking at night and are hard to see? Are drivers driving too fast through your town?
Distilling the experience and honing the tools that we've developed over the years, we've developed a suite of toolkits and resources for you. With the help of VTrans, we are able to make them accessible to more communities. These are the first of many tools that we are working on to help communities across the state make their streets safer for people walking and biking in their neighborhoods.
Leave a message for us at:802-851-ROAD (7623) or go to our website: http://www.safestreets.vt.gov/ to order print resources, to ask questions of our experts, and to download safety toolkits. We've got toolkits for bike light outreach, safety message sidewalk stenciling, safety messaging to slow down motorists, and more.
Let us help you make your community safer!
Once the work trucks turn up on our street we are way past the point when we can influence a road project. Making our voice heard way early in the process -- while it requires a certain zen appreciation for the multi-year planning timeframe -- is the best way to make an impact.
Add Your Name to the Call: Safe Walking & Biking in Burlington Now!
You know your bike gives you love. (So do your walking shoes.) Time to give some back! Will you sign Local Motion's petition calling on the Burlington City Council to enthusiastically support making Burlington a regional leader for walking and biking?
Why now? Because Burlington is drafting its first-ever walk-bike master plan, and in early 2016, City Council votes on it. The City Council needs to hear that you want Burlington to be a better city for walking and biking. We've set a goal of getting 1000 signatures by the end of the year. Will you be one of them?
VTrans and ACCD announce $200k in planning funds to increase transportation options that build vibrant community centers
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) are pleased to announce the second round of the Strong Communities, Better Connections (SCBC) Grant Program, aimed at supporting vibrant community centers and increasing town and regional transportation options. Annually, the program grants approximately $200,000 in planning funds to help cities and towns (outside of Chittenden County) build more livable, walkable and strong communities. Grant Applications are due January 15, 2016 with all applicants required to participate in a pre-application meeting with SCBC Program Managers prior to December 18, 2015.
“We know how critical transportation is to the economic vitality and overall health of our communities,” said Transportation Secretary Chris Cole. “By providing resources to communities to better plan their public infrastructure that also supports economic development at the community level, we are empowering communities to imagine and build their own future.”
“This exciting agency partnership is helping our transportation system serve the needs of more people while fostering economic vitality for our businesses and communities,” said Housing and Community Development Commissioner Noelle MacKay.
Last year’s pilot round of the SCBC Grant Program funded three projects that are in progress: Mad River Valley Towns (Warren, Waitsfield) are developing a multi-town plan for walking, biking and active recreation in the valley; the Towns of Rutland and West Rutland are developing a plan to create and enhance opportunities to bike, walk, live and work along the US Route 4 corridor; and the City of Vergennes is developing a master plan to improve the biking and walking connections between the downtown and Basin Harbor.
For more information, contact Jackie Cassino, at 802-272-2368 or Richard Amore at 802-828-5229 and visit the grant website http://vtransplanning.vermont.gov/programs/scbc.
Each week, stories come back to us from ‘The Cut’ about the people who are riding the bike ferry. Whether locals or visitors, a ride across the causeway is a day to remember. Just this week: 48 mph winds, a 75-year old accordion and ferrying this year’s 1,500th passenger!
I have a confession to make. I started working at Local Motion with a "tree hugging" background. I loved riding my bicycle, but it was mainly an excellent excuse to get outside, smell the fresh air and see nifty things. I was not a "bicyclist." I just love my bike. But, ever since I started working at Local Motion, I've been learning something amazing about how riding our bikes can change the world nearly every day.
Last year, I attended a Safe Routes to School conference and heard a compelling presentation by Dave Cohen of VBike. He reminded us that while our streets are currently designed to optimize car travel, they were not always like this, and showed us a great video of people in cars, on bikes, on foot, on trolleys, and on buses equally using this public space. Here is a very similar video In fact, did you know that our well-paved and smooth roads came about through lobbying by cycling groups? It wasn't until later that automobile groups joined the lobby.
During his presentation, Dave spoke about using bicycles as transportation, sharing with us the great new innovations in electric-assist and cargo bicycles, which allow families to travel together with more ease, and to provide a viable active transportation choice in mountainous Vermont. I even rode on the back of Dave's e-assist cargo bike, as he pedaled up a steep Brattleboro hill. Seeing Dave pedaling up that insane hill, with only a minimum of additional exertion, was revelatory for me. If someone could haul a grown woman (and her extremely heavy briefcase), up a hill that most people would have to walk their bicycles up, then this cargo bike and e-assist thing is a life-changer. I had visions of a healthier, car-light lifestyle, where even my rural home could be bicycle-accessible, and my guilt at adding more carbon to the atmosphere with each trip would evaporate out of the proverbial window. Added bonus - getting out of the car is so good for you.
The enthusiasm in the crowd was growing as Dave showed us beautiful photo after beautiful photo of people having fun in the fresh air, their bodies propelling them through the world. Then, someone asked Dave about the cost of a good cargo bike or e-bike, and the price tag wiped the smiles off of our faces. $3,000 is the average cost of an e-assist bicycle. Cargo bicycles run around $2,000. Still much less than your typical car, but a significant amount for most Vermonters. Enter Vermont State Employees' Credit Union (VSECU)! Yes, VSECU is now offering bicycle loans!
If you're wanting to try out a cargo bike before taking out a loan, you'll be able to try one out for free here at Local Motion sometime in early July. Or, you can get in touch with Dave Cohen at V-Bike, and learn more about his loaner program. Either way, once you fall in love with cargo bicycles, VSECU's revolutionary new loans can make your dream come true!
For all of us, it has been a tough spring. Three people out riding bikes have lost their lives in avoidable crashes due to excess speed, driving under the influence, and driving with a suspended license. We are experiencing a range of emotions: shock, grief, anger, remorse and fear. We are reacting in different ways: riding more, riding less, slowing down until it is safe to pass a person on a bike, winding down our windows so we can hurl insults. I am deliberate in using the inclusive pronoun, “we.” The question, ‘are we safe out there?’ is being raised by all of us who use our roads in any shape or form, not just by those of us who ride bikes or walk.
Last year, there were a total of 17 fatalities from crashes on the roads in Vermont. As of June 18th of this year, we have already reached 17 fatalities. This is our shared concern, not just for people on bikes, not just for other road users described as ‘vulnerable,’ for all of us.
What if the driver of the car that crossed the yellow line and struck Kelly Boe in Weybridge had hit your sister in her car as she was driving the kids home from soccer practice?
What if the teenage driver leaving Hinesburg at excessive speed had, instead of killing Richard Tom, hit and killed a school friend jogging down the road?
What if Dr. Kenneth Najarian had instead been an elderly couple walking across the street to their mailbox and taking a short stroll on the usually calm Greenbush Road?
Had the other vehicle been a car rather than a bike the result may not have been deadly, but would still have been traumatic. It would have left the victim with injuries that linger for a lifetime. The witnesses to the crash would still have violent images in their mind. The drivers who survived would still live with the guilt for the rest of their lives.
How we conduct ourselves on the road, whether we are driving a car, riding a bike, delivering the mail, running the kids to school, or taking a short stroll to see the fireflies in the meadow, is of concern to all of us.
Within our own community, Local Motion is talking with bike shops, bike clubs, touring companies and others to ask, “what can we do together?” Our state agencies are asking the question, “how do we respond?” Our state and local police are saying, “how do we keep people safe?” Human services professionals are asking, “how can we help repeat offenders break the destructive cycle?”
How will we all respond? It will no doubt involve paying closer attention to offenders and enforcing laws already on the books. It will include a focus on education for car drivers and bike riders. It will likely include a call for legislation, and policy, and rides, and rallies.
How effective will these responses be? In large part that depends on you and me. Will we take care of each other on the road? Will we give and get respect? Or will reaching for that cup of coffee distract our attention at a critical moment, or will leaving the house a little later than we planned, tempt us to forget safety in favor of arriving on time?
Wondering “what can I do?” Here are some important ways that you can help:
- Share your thoughts in this Local Motion survey about what should be done to improve safety
Your actions to keep attention on this issue will help fuel our collective push for change.
For my part, I am riding. I am walking. I am running. I am driving. And in each and every moment, I am trying to keep present in my mind the fact that I am using a shared and public space, knowing that I hold the lives of others, in so many ways, in my hands. In the end this is about all of us.
Executive Director, Local Motion
by Peter Burns
Every morning I get up at five and after eating breakfast I meditate for 20 minutes, sitting with
When I ride mindfully I begin by focusing on my posture. In my morning meditation I sit with a
Once my body is aligned properly, I can turn my attention to one or more aspects of the ride.
I can also put my attention on pedaling and changing gears for maximum efficiency. For every
Sometimes I attend to my senses as I ride. I ask myself, what do I see, hear and smell as I ride
Once in a while I see something exceptional -- a rainbow, hundreds of geese flying overhead, a single orange lying in the road. The sonic environment also rewards attention. I listen to the mix
Riding meditatively helps me control road rage. Drivers do discourteous and dangerous things but recently I have been able to remain calm. I do not have the automatic anger reaction that I
Sometimes I just let my mind wander when I ride. If I have a problem to mull over, taking a ride
Looking for a list of participating shops? Go here: Breakfast: Better by Bike Participating Shops
Friday’s not your only day to win big by using your bike. Join the upcoming
If you live, work or play in Chittenden County, you have access to Go! Stations, and we've got great prizes for the electronic bike lockers, transit and CarShare pods that are located at the Go! Stations:
Don’t live or work in Chittenden County? You can still win big with either a Katherine Monstream performance shirt or awesome Local Motion socks. Whether you join for your health, for the challenge, or to commune with friends, there are plenty of opportunities to win!
By Emily Boedecker, Executive Director
There is no doubt that interest in walking and biking, and interest from communities to become more walkable and bikeable, is growing significantly. People for Bikes, a national advocacy group, recently surveyed 16,000 Americans aged 3 and above, and found that 32% of us have ridden a bike for recreation in the last year and 15% have ridden for transportation. Of course it makes sense, whether we care about health, the money in our pockets, the carbon we emit - or simply because smiles have been proven to be 20% wider when riding a bicycle.
If the data shows that more and more people are riding, if 54% think biking is convenient, and if 53% would like to ride more often, what is holding us back?
By Brian Costello, Island Line Coordinator
It was with great sadness that we learned of Bill Hauke's passing on April 1, 2015. Bill was Local Motion's earliest supporter, even before the organization officially existed. From the mid-1990s, when others called the idea “outrageous” and “impossible,” Bill shared our vision of extending the Burlington Bike Path across the Winooski River to Colchester, over the abandoned railroad causeway to "The Cut," and across that 200' cut to South Hero and the Champlain Islands beyond.
By Katelin Brewer-Colie, Complete Streets Project Manager
This April, going from bike to bus to carsharing to foot just got a whole lot easier. Go! Stations in Winooski and Burlington are the first in the northeast to be equipped with BikeLink™ card accessed bike lockers. Check out Channel Five news coverage of the bike locker launch here.
Go! Chittenden County, a collaboration of the region's best transportation organizations, in partnership with Burlington Town Center and the City of Winooski,launched two new Go! Stations in Winooski and Burlington. Other towns have already expressed interest in incorporating bike lockers into Park and Ride and other municipal sites.
By Katelin Brewer-Colie, Complete Streets Project Manager
Vermont bikers: you are nothing less than amazing! Since January, more than 2,100 of you shared your thoughts with VTrans about where you ride now and where you would like to see conditions improve on state highways and Class I town highways! Local Motion works closely with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) through a variety of programs to help make Vermont roads work better and be safer for all bicyclists -- families, commuters and recreational riders alike.
Local Motion has been assisting VTrans, and consultants RSG and Alta Planning+Design, on the VTrans On-Road Bicycle Plan. The objective of the plan is to develop a comprehensive improvement plan to enhance bicycle accommodations on the highest-ranked bicycle corridors on the state highway system.
Phase 1 of the project is expected to wrap up this summer, and project leaders are ready to present the draft map of priority bicycle corridors on state highways across Vermont, helping to identify where investments should be prioritized to make Vermont’s state roads safer and easier to bike.