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Walk 'n Roll News Archives

Vermont and Burlington Highlighted in Benchmark Report for Walking & Biking

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:

  • Biking continues to grow nationally across the US, including in small cities like Burlington. In fact, of 19 small to mid-sized cities, Burlington ranked fifth for the percentage of commuters who bike to work (6.8). This bested some larger cities known for their bike culture like Denver and Minneapolis.

  • The number of women biking to work are vastly outnumbered. Women walk to work at rates much higher than they bike to work. In all of the cities studied, women bike to work at percentages lower than their distribution in the commuter population. In Vermont, women make up just 28% of all commuters who bike to work (23% in Burlington). This is 20 percentage points (26 points in Burlington) lower than the percentage of women in the overall commuter population (49% statewide and in Burlington). This contrasts with the percentage of Vermont walking commuters who are female (48%).    

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  • Seniors are disproportionately vulnerable walking and biking. Seniors aged 65 or older represent 14% of the U.S. population, compared to 16% in Vermont. Between 2005-2013, seniors in our state represented a much higher proportion of pedestrian fatalities (46%) than their percentage in the overall population (16%).  None of the biking fatalities in Vermont during that same time period were 65 or older. However, nationally, bike fatalities among seniors have been steadily increasing.

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  • Walking and biking can help improve community health. The report suggests a strong relationship between the percentage of people commuting via foot and bike and key public health indicators. For example, Vermont had some of the smallest increases in the levels of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Of the small to midsized cities included in the report, Burlington had the highest combined rate of biking and walking to work and one of the lowest rates of obesity. Active transportation and community design play a role in improving community health.   

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New Year’s Resolution to Learn Something New? Here’s Your Chance.

 

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!

 

Make Burlington Safe for Walking and Biking

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.
Burlingtonians of all ages want our city to be “Better by Bike.” We want riding on our city's streets to be just as safe as riding on our beautiful lakeshore bike path. We want to be able to send our kids off on their bikes without worry. More broadly, we want a city with a 21st century approach to mobility that puts safety and choice first.

Better by bike aarp 

Click on the image to sign the petition.

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.
Will you speak up for change? Will you speak up for vibrant streets that are safe and welcoming for everyone?
Sign this petition today! Help make change happen. Thank you.
Local Motion and AARP Vermont

 

Burlington Votes “NO” to Keeping Four Lanes on North Avenue

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...

  • ... because they want safer crosswalks for getting to school, to the supermarket, and to other important destinations

  • …because they ride on North Avenue (or would like to) and believe that continuous bike lanes on North Avenue will be safer for everyone

  • ...because their kids go to Hunt Middle School or Burlington High School, and they want them to have the opportunity to bike safely to school

  • ...because they want to see if the safety improvements typically seen with 4 to 3 lane redesigns—a 15% to 40% percent reduction in crashes—can occur on North Ave

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.

 

Avenue For Everyone Infrastructures

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:

  • The number of people who drive, walk, and bike the Avenue

  • Measures of congestion at key points along the corridor

  • Crash data to assess how changes affect safety

  • Other variables including vehicle speed and total end-to-end travel time

 

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:

https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/DPW/North-Avenue-Corridor

http://www.avenueforeveryone.com/

 

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.

Installation Dates:

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.

                                

Go to this link to sign up for a volunteer spot!

 

 

 

Island Line Update: Recent Award. New Facilities for 2016.

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. 
 
Brian Costello and Emily Boedecker receiving the Theresa S. Brungardt thanks to your support of Local Motion.
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 questions and scope of work contact  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (802) 861-2700 x104.

 

 

BTV Walk Bike Plan: How to talk with your Non-Biking Family and Friends

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.

 

  1. Streets that are safer for walking and biking are safer for everyone.  Over the last few decades, thousands of four-lane streets around the United States have undergone what is commonly called a “road diet”—an unfortunate name for a change in street design that makes a street work better for everyone.  A road diet converts a four-lane motor vehicle street to a five lane multi-modal street: a single vehicle lane in each direction, a shared center turn lane, and bike lanes on both sides of the road.  This setup not only improves safety for people on bikes; it dramatically reduces crashes for people driving too!  With turning traffic moving into a center lane fewer cars are weaving left and right to avoid them, and there is a drastic reduction in rear-end collisions.  It also makes crossing the street on foot a whole lot safer.  Here’s what the Federal Highway Administration has to say about road diets.  They really do work for everyone.

 

  1. Kids who walk or bike to school do better academically.  A number of academic studies have documented a link between regular physical exercise and academic performance.  For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated a connection between walking or biking to school and better performance on tests.  Moving their muscles before they start the school day is good for kids!  However, a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that parents are less likely to encourage children to bike or walk to school when a busy road creates a barrier or when there are no lights or crossings for their child to use.   If we want kids to start their day healthy and alert, we need to make it safe for them to walk and bike to school.

 

  1. A walk- and bike-friendly community helps businesses attract and keep the workforce they need.  Getting skilled workers to move to (or stay in) Vermont is a real challenge.  Why choose Vermont when you could just as easily get a great job in San Francisco or Seattle or Boston?  Becoming a top-tier bikeable community is a great way for Burlington (or any Vermont town) to gain an edge.  According to Tami Door, the president of the Downtown Denver Partnership, bike friendliness is a key recruitment tool for tech firms.  “The number one thing [tech firms] want is bike lanes,” she said.  “Ten years ago we never would have thought that walkability or bike lanes would be economic development tools...  We want more people biking in the normal course of the day, not just because it’s a novelty, but [because] that’s how they commute.”

 

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.


WANT TO TAKE ACTION FOR BURLINGTON?   Sign Local Motion’s petition for safe walking and biking in Burlington at http://bit.ly/BTV4bikes
.  Then share it with your Aunt Betty!

 

 

 

Bike Friendly Giving This Holiday Season

 

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. 
$40 for adults, $25 for youth 17 and under. Check out the 2016 season schedule and purchase your pass online. Questions? Contact Charlene at 802-861-2700 x103 or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
 
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.)

 

 

North Avenue: Time to Get Organized

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.

 

 

 

Launch of Safe Streets Helpline and Website!

 
This Bike Rack Safety Outreach Toolkit is one of five toolkits available to communities
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!
 

Add Your Voice to the Call for Walking and Biking!

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? 
Click on the image to sign the petition


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 BetterConnection StAlbansvibrant 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.

 

Island Line Update: Music is Everywhere

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!
BikeFerryRidersWaving

  • Local Motion’s bike ferry is now operating seven days a week, 10:00am to 6pm, transporting walkers and bikers across the 200ft-cut in the Colchester Causeway on their way to explore Burlington, Colchester and the Champlain Islands. Fortunately, those strong winds that blew through the night had dropped somewhat by morning, and thanks to the new boat and wave-attenuating docks, we were back to delivering a daily service you can rely on.
  • The highlight of our week: Albert, one of our fabulous ferry volunteers, brought a surprise with him at the start of his shift: a 75-year old accordion. Out there in the middle of the lake, this was what greeted riders of the ferry.
  • The Island Line Bike Ferry runs on love, at least partially. Our volunteers are VITAL to making sure that the Ferry run smoothly. Every day of the week, we have Dockside Ambassador volunteer slots available. Not only will you get to enjoy one of the most scenic locations in Vermont, you’ll also get two free day passes to the bike ferry! For those of you who are City Market Member/Workers, you can also get credit for your volunteer hours on the ferry. To sign-up for a volunteer shift, click here: VolunteerSpot Bike Ferry Sign Up…. and feel free to bring your favorite toy--musical instruments, hula hoops, bubble wands--your choice!
  • Finally, don’t miss out on an opportunity for a sunset ride across the Causeway! On July snowfarmwinery23rd, Local Motion’s Bike Ferry will be open till 9pm, taking riders to and from a free concert at Snow Farm Vineyard with the band Blues for Breakfast for Local Motion’s Island Line Bike Ferry Fundraiser. The Bike Ferry is just a 20 minute ride away from the Snow Farm Vineyard--the perfect family picnic destination. Take part in a raffle for fun bike prizes and a grand prize drawing for your own personal cruise on the bike ferry. All proceeds will support the Island Line Bike Ferry and the Kohl’s For Kids Bike Smart program which reaches more than 5,000 Vermont 3rd thru 6th graders every year. We’ll also have helmet decorations for kids (and big kids too!) and to build up your appetite for Pizza Papillo and the Sausage Shack, you can operate a bike-powered smoothie machine! Come and join us on Thursday, July 23rd to enjoy the bike ferry after hours, attend a free concert and have a chance to win fabulous prizes to support fun and safe biking for all the family
 

We Are So Excited About VSECU Bike Loans

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.2011 Bike to Work Fuel Up 021 sm

 

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!

 

In Response: What Can We Do?

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 Srgt Aimee Nolan Emily Boedecker at Middlebury Wellness Fair smaller 062715range 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
- Write to your newspaper. Write to your Representative and to your Senator; you can find their contact details here.
- And have those difficult conversations with your family and friends. As a starting point, here is just one of many blog postings that have had the courage to tackle this difficult question.  

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.

Emily Boedecker

Executive Director, Local Motion

 

Bicycling as Meditation

by Peter Burns

Every morning I get up at five and after eating breakfast I meditate for 20 minutes, sitting with
my hands on my knees and focusing on my breath. When thoughts arise I label them 'thinking'
and return to my breath. It is a challenging practice, most of the time my mind wanders . After
meditation I usually ride to the Woolen Mill in Winooski and swim for half an hour. I bring mindfulness to the swimming and try to keep it with me on my bike ride to work. I want to arrive
with a calm mind because sometimes my job is stressful and chaotic. When I ride I keep some
part of my mind on cars and road conditions. It would be too ironic to get hit by a car when riding Cyclist looking across cutmindfully.

When I ride mindfully I begin by focusing on my posture. In my morning meditation I sit with a
straight back, relaxed abdomen and shoulders. Good bike posture is similar. After all, both
meditation and riding involve sitting down. When I ride I keep my back straight, my shoulders
relaxed and my chest open. I balance my weight between my feet, hands and butt. Proper
seat and handlebar adjustment is important. I see many riders who look very uncomfortable
because their seat is either too high or too low. Bike shops are happy to help with seat and
handlebar fitting and some shops offer a more formal service that includes measuring you and
your bike.

Once my body is aligned properly, I can turn my attention to one or more aspects of the ride.
Focus on the breath is the most basic meditation technique. Breathing is intimately connected
with how I ride and makes a good object for meditation. Most of the time breathing is automatic
but it is also something I can control. As I ride up a hill, I deepen and slow my breath so I am
not out of breath when I reach the top. When I get into the flow of a ride I can feel the easy
movement of breath in and out of my lungs. My mind is clear and I feel calm.

I can also put my attention on pedaling and changing gears for maximum efficiency. For every
road condition there is an ideal gear and pedaling cadence that enables me to ride with
maximum speed and minimum effort. The ideal is to ride with as much ease as possible. This
takes concentration on pedaling, on maintaining a steady cadence and on keeping my legs as relaxed as possible. When I achieve this flow I become completely absorbed in the ride.

Sometimes I attend to my senses as I ride. I ask myself, what do I see, hear and smell as I ride
along? How does the wind feel as it touches the exposed parts of my body? Riding is a great
way to experience the visual world. I go fast enough to cover a lot of territory but slow enough to
observe specific landmarks along the way -- a favorite house, flower garden or stand of trees.

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
of birdsong, airplanes and sirens. I am extra alert to the sounds of cars that are coming up
behind me. Smells come and go. There are coffee roasting zones in Burlington, and manure
territory out in the countryside. I love the smell of freshly cut grass. Burning leaves bring me
right back to autumn in my childhood. Sometimes the lack of smell is noteworthy. On a winter
day when the temperature unexpectedly climbs into the 70's, I can ride in shorts and a t-shirt but I feel strange because the smells of warm weather are not present.

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
used to. Last week I was in the correct lane for a left turn on Shelburne Road when a driver behind me started honking his horn. He gave me the finger as he passed. I didn't feel anger but
I did have an urge to catch up with him so I could smile and wave sarcastically. I am not a saint.

Sometimes I just let my mind wander when I ride. If I have a problem to mull over, taking a ride
is useful. Maria Konnikova in "Mastermind, How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes," writes,
"A change in activity, to something seemingly unrelated to the problem in question, is one of the
elements that is most conducive to creating the requisite distance for the imagination to take
hold. Indeed it is a tactic that Holmes employs often and to good effect. He smokes his pipe, but
he also plays the violin, visits the opera, and listens to music; these are his preferred distancing
mechanisms." If he had a bike, I am sure that riding would also be a good way for Holmes to let
his imagination take hold of a problem.

 

Walk, Bike and Win! Breakfast; Better by Bike & Vermont Bike/Walk Challenge


Breakfast Better by Bike smaller imageThis Friday is looking to be glorious!  If you’re looking for an excuse to ride your bike, we’ve got one for you! This Friday, May 15th is the Breakfast: Better by Bike Day, and Local Motion has partnered with restaurants across the state to bring you nourishment on your trek.  Share Facebook pictures of your ride on Friday with the hashtag: #BreakfastBetterByBike, and you’re automatically eligible for some
great prizes, including gift cards to your favorite shops, bus passes, and more! Join us Friday, and let’s bike together!

 

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
High Five color LARGER VBWCVermont Bike Walk Challenge (VBWC), and compete with friends, family, and neighbors to see how many trips you can rack up every time you walk, bike, or run somewhere!

  

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:

  • Smart Card Bike Locker ($20 value)

  • CCTA pass with 10 free rides

  • $30 credit for CarShare (either for new membership or existing membership).

 

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!


Speaking of winning, remember that Xtraycle Contest for the EdgeRunner Cargo Bike? Thanks to your help, we’ve won it! It’ll soon be home at Local Motion and available for folks to take home for free and experiment living the Cargo Bike lifestyle. We'll be following up with more information about how to request the bike to try out in May's Walk and Roll News.
 Thank you, and congratulations to all of us!

 

 

Safety Matters

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 SLM parkedcarsadvocacy 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?

 

Read more...

 

A Life of Inspiring Others to Walk the Walk, Bill Hauke, Jr. 1936 - 2015

By Brian Costello, Island Line Coordinator

 

Bill  and Carol in Person on ferryIt 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.

 

Read more...

 

New Bike Lockers in Winooski, Burlington First in Northeast

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.

bike locker 1

 

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.

 

Read more...

 

Helping Make Vermont Roads Work Better for Everyone!

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.

PHASES  1 2 3

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.

 

Read more...

 
More Articles...

Upcoming Events

   Sat Apr 30th
Middlebury Bike Swap
9:00am - 3:00pm
   Sat Apr 30th
Earl's Bike Swap
9:00am - 5:00pm
   Sat Apr 30th
Ski Rack Bike Swap
9:00am - 7:00pm
   Sun May 1st
Earl's Bike Swap
9:00am - 5:00pm
   Sun May 1st
Ski Rack Bike Swap
9:00am - 7:00pm
   Mon May 2nd
Social Ride! Bike Bingo
4:30am - 7:00pm
   Mon May 2nd
Bike Breakfast! Bike Bingo
6:30am - 9:30am
   Mon May 2nd
Kelly Boe Memorial Ride
4:00pm -
   Wed May 4th
Intergenerational Walk & Roll to School Day
8:00am - 5:00pm
   Wed May 4th
Bike Safety Fair--Middlebury
3:00pm - 4:00pm
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