Back in April, Local Motion brought Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges to town. Why? Because, despite cold winters and lots of cars, Minneapolis is one of the best cities for biking in the country. Burlington can and should do the same. How do we get there?
As a recent transplant from Seattle, some of my most memorable cycling experiences were on a spectacular path known as the Burke-Gilman Rail-Trail. This amazing trail meandered through some of Seattle's most vibrant neighborhoods, passing parks, coffee shops, restaurants, and breweries, and beyond -- all the way into suburban enclaves dozens of miles out of town. And the best part about it? We can do the same thing, right here in Vermont!
Bike Ferry? Check. Staff and crew? Check. Fuel? Check. First Aid Kit? Check. Brochures and maps? Check AND check. Weather? Well, would you believe - it was plenty sunny and the temperature? 90 degrees, HOT, HUMID, and HAZY!
Brattleboro's Safe Streets Project—a group that formed with support from Local Motion—organized a Safer Streets Forum on May 5. Several dozen people turned out for a series of presentations and Q&A with town officials and representatives of various nonprofits. Local Motion was honored to be a part of the event. Read the news story in the Brattleboro Reformer. If you're inspired to help, sign up here as a Windham County walk-bike activist!
Over the past six months, Local Motion has invested hundreds of hours in educating lawmakers and advocating for change in Vermont's laws related to bike safety and driver responsibility. We've been working closely with Rep. Mollie Burke and Rep. Willem Jewett (huge thanks to both!) to find ways to make our roads safer for everyone.
In the 2016 session, four key measures passed the House and were sent up to the Senate:
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, paving the way for the pilot project to move forward. The pilot will test a new road design for North Ave to improve safety for people driving, walking and riding, with four vehicle lanes with no bikes lanes changing to two vehicle lanes plus a center turn lane and bike lanes in both directions.
Burlington is the smallest US city included in the Alliance for Biking and Walking's 2016 Benchmarking Report, a survey of the status of walking and biking across the country. The report covers all 50 states and the 50 most populous cities in the country, plus a handful of small to midsized cities chosen because of the strength of the bicycling movement in that community. Thanks to the efforts of Local Motion and our statewide partners, Burlington has made the cut since 2014! Read on to learn more about what this national report has to say about walking and biking in Burlington and across Vermont...