Newsletter sent on 1/26
This year was Twenty Twenty FUN!
Last year, at this time, I was pondering whether some of the positive changes that we saw in 2020, as people’s regular routines were upended, would continue into 2021, and stick.
Would people who found refuge and connection in meeting others outside in parks, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, insist that our public resources be made more available and inviting for those on bikes and on foot? Would all of the new bike riders keep riding? Would schools consumed by Covid related challenges make room in the curriculum to encourage students to bike and walk? Would families continue to see the value of making a trip on the Bike Ferry part of their summer fun?
From our vantage point at Local Motion, the changes stuck, and then some, and it happened all over the state. That’s very exciting for all of us!
In this newsletter, as we look back on 2021, you will read about: a plethora of community projects, in small-town centers and large urban areas, designed to provide better access for people who walk, bike, and roll (whether in a wheelchair or on a skateboard); how a large number of schools are choosing to help a new generation of young people become cyclists; our record-setting season for both the Bike Ferry and Trailside Center rentals; incredible interest in our innovative E-bike Lending Library. And the list goes on. We are grateful for the generous support of our grantors, donors, and partners, who make this work possible. Things have changed in the world, for all of us, and some of those changes are healthy and inspiring, and will hopefully usher in the future we imagine—one where we slow down a bit and more people can bike, walk, and roll in Vermont, in a safe and accessible environment.
Karen Yacos, Executive Director
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In 2021, we took time to look inward at our work and consider what we can do to make walking, biking, and rolling more equitable and accessible to all Vermonters. Together we created a DEI statement and action plan to focus our commitment to effecting change in 2022 and beyond. This is a living document; we will continually evaluate and update it as we identify and act on ways to reduce barriers, create opportunities, and provide resources so that every Vermonter has equitable and safe access to biking, walking, and rolling.
You can find our DEI statement and action plan here.
Updating our Strategic Plan
We are updating Local Motion’s 5-year strategic plan and will build off the momentum coming from individuals to local leaders to legislators. This will reorient and strengthen our work to meet the needs of any community that is ready to reimagine streets that are about people, not cars. We envision a transportation system that serves all users, where the needs of those who wish to bike, walk or roll are baked into the project planning from the beginning and not an afterthought. We will be working with our Local Motion community to get there. Your ideas are welcome, so get in touch!
- February 2 - Winter Walk to School Day
January 31 - February 11 - Vermont Winter Bike/Walk Challenge
- Join Local Motion, CATMA, and GoVT! for the 2022 Vermont Winter Bike/Walk Challenge starting on Monday, January 31st and running through Friday, February 11th, concluding on International Winter Bike to Work Day. Participants who record a bike ride or walk on the GoVT! Smartphone app or Go!VT Website at least twice during the Challenge will be entered to win prizes from Vermont businesses. Download the app to start logging your trips!
- February 11 - Winter Bike to Work Day
Jump to a newsletter section:
Pop-Up Demonstration Projects
We were busy with Pop-Up Infrastructure Demonstration projects in the warm months of 2021.
Here’s what communities tried:
- Greensboro installed curb extensions and reorganized parking to make crosswalks safer, calm traffic, and keep cars off sidewalks
- Rutland High School students tried out traffic-calming elements on school property
- Waitsfield installed in-road crosswalk signs to calm traffic and increase visibility
- Ludlow created a gateway to its downtown with a Pop-Up pedestrian safety island and curb extensions
Burlington Greenway Detour Maintenance
In Burlington, work along the Waterfront section of the Greenway caused the closure of one of the busiest sections of the bike path in Burlington. We advocated for an improved detour with a two-way protected bike lane on Battery Street. Burlington installed the infrastructure, and then Local Motion volunteers maintained it for four months!
Technical Assistance and Advocacy
We helped VT communities become better places to walk and bike through a variety of services and programs.
Here’s some of what we worked on in 2021:
- Engaged in the Envision I-89 planning with the goal of directing funding away from highways and towards walking, biking, and transit
- Administered a community walk/bike survey with the Charlotte Trails and Energy Committees
- Influenced Vermont’s new e-bike regulation to make it inclusive of as many types of e-bikes as possible
- Assisted Richmond with its Walk/Bike Master Plan
- Advised Hardwick on new bike facilities to better connect the downtown to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail
- Developed a traffic calming plan with residents in Bristol, leading to the formation of a municipal walk/bike committee
- Supported the Brattleboro Coalition for Active Transportation on initiatives including municipal budgeting for bikeway improvements, advocacy for their walk/bike master plan, fundraising for covered bike parking, and more
- Worked with the Burlington Walk/Bike Council on a community survey, project input, and developed a work plan to guide the Council’s efforts
Interpretive Signs on the Colchester Causeway
Next time you’re on the South Hero side of the Causeway, you’ll notice new signs that identify the major mountain peaks to the east and west. We worked with UVM students to create the content for these signs and installed them in the fall.
Tune into our Webinars
We continued our series of Learning Network webinars, covering topics from e-bikes to edge lane roads. We’re looking forward to bringing you more of this content in 2022! View recordings of our webinars here.
The Year of the E-bike
Our E-bike Lending Libraries introduced over 900 (!) people to e-biking this season, many of whom went on to buy e-bikes of their own. These free programs have demonstrated how e-bikes make biking accessible for more people by helping them overcome barriers such as trip distance, disabilities, and cargo carrying. Here are a few of our favorite quotes from this season, which highlight these principles (shared with permission):
“I was able to ride next to my first grader while my preschooler was in the bike seat. I was able to drop off my first-grader at school (on his own bike) and then easily ride uphill to the next drop-off with my preschooler in the bike seat (and all of our gear in the pannier), and I was able to do it all in the same amount of time that I could with a car”
“No parking problems, fresh air, and exercise, no worries about hills or accelerating into traffic…. It was easy and convenient. It gave me the experience I needed to buy one- I had been intrigued”
E-bikes can be ridden all year round and are super helpful for cutting through the snow. However, like many electronics, e-bike batteries require special care when it’s cold. Follow these battery care tips to keep your e-bike’s battery healthy during cold months:
Inside Look into Bike Smart
With over 200 kids’ bikes in our Bike Smart Program, we needed a dedicated space to manage all bike repairs and maintenance. Luckily in 2021, we established a dedicated location that will allow our Head Mechanic to make timely repairs and overhaul the Bike Smart fleet throughout the Winter. Hundreds of kids’ bikes are now being cleaned, tuned-up, and safety-checked at our new bicycle storage space as part of our Bike Smart bicycle program. Every year, Local Motion sends trailers full of bikes to schools and organizations all over Vermont to provide opportunities for kids to become confident, competent, safe bicycle riders. It is essential that these bikes are well-maintained and safe so that our future bike riders have the solid bicycle foundation they need.
Be #VermontTough - Participate in Winter Walk to School Day
Cool that cabin fever with a refreshing winter walk to school! There are so many things that you can do on a walk that you can't do in a car! PLUS, it's a great way to start the day: energized, and ready to learn.
Join Vermont families and school communities on 2/2/22 for Winter Walk to School Day! All you need to do to participate is to walk to school! And there are no rules! Just find a place where you can walk—even a short distance—to school. You can park 1/4 mile away from school and walk from there! OR you can go big and walk the entire way from your house to your school.
Local Motion would love to see photos of your walk. Tag your social media photos with #VermontTough, and we'll share them on our social media!
Can't make the walk on 2/2/22? That's fine. Turns out, ALTERNATE Winter Walk to School day is any other day in February.
Island Line Trail Interactive Map
To assist visitors traveling the Island Line Trail anywhere between Burlington and the Champlain Islands, Local Motion launched an interactive map this past spring. For use on mobile phones, the web-based map tracks user progress along the trail, helping them to discover amenities like parks, beaches, restrooms, and parking lots as well as participating advertisers like restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, and campgrounds. In its first season (May to October), map participation was limited to 38 advertisers and 49 amenity locations. Exceeding our expectations, the map logged over 19,000 users. Additionally, each map allowed users to tap and visit a location’s website which resulted in over 33,000 pageviews for that same period.
All Aboard the Bike Ferry
The summer of 2021 appeared to be a robust response to a pandemic that sent recreational cyclists outside in droves. Over the course of the season, the Local Motion Bike Ferry counted a total of 33,982 passenger boardings for an average of 318 boardings each and every day. That was an 18% increase over the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and an 11% increase over 2019, the ferry’s best season ever! With the spring launch of the Friend of the Ferry loyalty campaign, a strong base of preseason funding laid the groundwork for a successful donations-only model that eliminated ticketing and allowed passengers to support the Ferry at a level they could afford.
Another Great Year at the Trailside Center
Don’t just take our word for it, our busy 2021 season was filled with lots of very happy bike rental customers, and here’s what they have to say:
"Great location, convenient to the lake and the bike trails. Friendly staff. Quality bikes, especially for rentals. Would rent from Local Motion again without hesitation."
"Very reasonable, great location, and excellent value. We rode to the other end of the causeway and back (including using the ferry). It was such a relaxing ride - flat, wide, not overly crowded (we were there on a Monday morning). The rental bikes were in fantastic shape. They looked like rentals - a scrape here, some fading there, etc - but they were mechanically perfect. I've never ridden such a finely-tuned rental bike. Kudos to the mechanics!"
"Exploring the beautiful Island rail bike trail is a must-do activity in Burlington VT, and Local Motion Bike Rentals enables that experience. They provide great service, have an easy online bike reservation system, great bike selection, and service options, and easy accessibility to the trail. Highly recommend!"
"They are the best!! Our dog bike carrier did not arrive before our trip to Burlington. Local Motion Bike Rentals saved the day so our Goldendoodle Iris could tag along on our Burlington bike excursion. The price was more than reasonable. Will rent from them again on our next trip to Burlington."
In 2021, more than 2,500 donors gave to Local Motion! Individual and family gifts ranged from $5 to $5,000 from people all over Vermont, out-of-state, and even internationally. Donor generosity is essential to keeping many of our statewide programs going! Gifts to our annual fundraising appeals, tribute and memorial gifts, monthly sustaining gifts, and more make up a big chunk of Local Motions’ annual revenue. Watch for a detailed Donor Impact Report later this year!
A love note from a Year-End Appeal Donor:
"Thank you for giving voice to cyclist/pedestrian issues and concerns within the state legislature and beyond, and for working with communities around Vermont to increase safety for all bikers and walkers. Through your work you are, indeed, making Vermont more walkable, bikeable, and -- ultimately -- liveable!"
Volunteers Get It Done!
Hooray for volunteers! Volunteers are critical to our statewide programming. In 2021, over 100 dedicated volunteers signed up, showed up, and “got it done” at 490 shifts totaling almost 2,100 volunteer hours! Many of our volunteers have been with us for years and tell us that they plan their summertime around their Local Motion volunteer commitments. How cool is that?! Plus, volunteer hours with Local Motion are eligible for City Market member worker credit! We’re excited about our new collaborations with local businesses to engage their employees in community service where they work, live, and play. Learn more at localmotion.org/volunteer.
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