Cindy Joy Pike of Bellows Falls died on July 22. She was hit by a car as she crossed the street in West Brattleboro on July 21. She was the fifth person to be killed in the last five years while walking in Brattleboro. That means that this community of 12,000 has one of the highest per-capita pedestrian fatality rates in the country: 8.3 annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000 population, or three times the rate of the most dangerous metro area in the country (Orlando, Florida). What's going on?
The League of American Bicyclists has launched a new initiative called "Bike Walk Action." This national coalition of state bike-walk groups (like Local Motion) has come together to shape federal policy related to walking and biking. Check out their latest federal bike-walk policy update webinar at this link. It is from Caron Whitaker, a national expert who has been lobbying on our behalf on Capitol Hill for years.
The past Memorial Day weekend marked the opening of the Local Motion Bike Ferry, connecting Burlington and Colchester to South Hero, via the Island Line Trail, as well as my very first time being a bike ferry passenger. For folks who have never experienced the causeway, it's an incredible ride for all abilities with plenty of gorgeous vistas for photography. All these overlooks make the 10 mile adventure feel like a breeze, but many of these go unnoticed from people focused on time and speed. If you allot enough time and enjoy stopping to observe your surroundings, then this is for you.
We had another successful Learn to Ride class this past Saturday! Almost 30 kids, ranging in ages 3 - 10, converged on Leddy Park in Burlington ready to Learn to Ride. A good number of them did just that and almost everyone improved significantly!
Our Learn to Ride classes are getting themselves a following! We had a family come back this year, because...
Do you live, work, or shop in downtown Burlington? Do you bike on the Burlington Greenway (aka the Lakeshore Bike Path)? Watch for big on-the-ground changes for better walking and biking this summer! Burlington DPW has committed to an ambitious slate of on-street improvements for biking and walking in downtown Burlington. The Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront department will rebuild the Burlington Greenway from North Beach to the Winooski River bridge. Things are in motion for putting Burlington on the map as one of the best small cities for biking and walking!
Owning a bicycle is not a static experience. As my bike riding evolves, and my needs change and so does the bicycle I ride. Most daily practices change over time, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly.
Burlington is finally set to make real progress on becoming a biking city! This year, the City has committed to an ambitious list of bike-related improvements to streets (as well as a whole lot of improvements for walking) to ensure that Burlington becomes as bike and walk friendly as possible. Local Motion has been working closely with DPW and the mayor for the last six months to shape a high-impact package of improvements that focus primarily on the "center city" area (Old North End, downtown/waterfront, hill section up to the UVM green, and south end to Howard). By the end of 2017, Burlington will have a basic connected network throughout this area!
The Vermont uniform crash report form gets tweaked just about every year in response to requests from law enforcement and others. This year, it got a significant upgrade to bike-related fields. This will begin to address a chronic problem with regard to data on bike crashes in Vermont: way too many crashes where the bike-related factors are "other" or "unknown." This is something Local Motion has been quietly but doggedly working on for the last few years. Progress!
On February 21, 2017, Governor Scott named Emily Boedecker as Commissioner of Environmental Conservation. “Emily is an inspired choice for this position,” said Eric Hart, President of the Local Motion Board of Directors. “She is enormously knowledgeable in environmental matters, manages people and finances with equal dexterity, and builds consensus and shared vision among groups with varying opinions. She has put Local Motion on a strong footing for continued growth, and I know she will serve our state well in this new role.”
We are excited to introduce Small Town and Rural Multimodal Networks, a new guide from the USDOT Federal Highway Administration Bicycle and Pedestrian Program that will help make streets and roads in Vermont towns work better and be safer for everyone! The guide is a great new resource for advocates, municipal staff and leaders in Vermont's small towns and rural communities. It applies existing national design guidelines for safer streets and roads in rural settings and highlights small town and rural case studies -- even one from Vermont's own Lyndonville!