Welcoming New Staff! 🍂
Winooski students try out an adaptive bike, photo courtesy of Doug Goodman.
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We are excited to introduce Susan Grasso, Local Motion's new Complete Streets Program Associate! Susan brings a deep background in urban affairs and walk/bike advocacy. She has worked towards safer streets in multiple communities in Michigan, Delaware, and right here in Vermont. Having Susan on our Complete Streets team has strengthened the assistance we can provide to walk/bike groups across the state.
What is the Complete Streets Program?
The Complete Streets Program supports Local Motion’s mission to “make it safe, accessible, and fun for everyone to bike, walk, and roll in Vermont” by improving walking, biking, and rolling infrastructure and policy at all levels throughout the state. We use various strategies to make change at the local and state levels.
We spend a great deal of time providing technical assistance to local walk/bike groups and committees. These are volunteers in communities across the state who understand their local context and needs. We provide these groups with a range of support ranging from strategic planning to infrastructure design best practices, assistance with community surveys, event support, and more. All of these services are aimed at empowering Vermonters to improve their communities.
The work we do at the local level provides our staff with perspective on where communities are struggling in efforts to improve conditions for walking, biking, and rolling. If there is a legislative or policy fix to address these barriers, our staff works with partners and legislators to implement it. For example, we know that municipalities struggle to fund infrastructure improvements, so increasing funding for bike and pedestrian projects is one of our priorities.
Want to get involved? See if there is a local walk/bike group in your area, or request help with forming one here.
A Complete Streets project in Northfield.
School's In, and So Is Walking & Rolling to School!
We are so excited that our Safe Routes to School partners are ALL about Walking and Rolling to school! Many of our school partners are already starting Walking Wednesday events (regular weekly or monthly walking/rolling to school events), running a special Walk & Roll to School Day, and requesting our Bike Smart trailer to teach students how to be confident, competent bicycle riders, with an emphasis on roadway safety.
One of St. Albans City School’s Walking Wednesdays, photo courtesy of Mitch Craib.
Getting From Here to There by E-bike
E-bikes are a fantastic way to get out and enjoy our communities, and people across the state have been experiencing these possibilities all summer. We added two new lower cost e-bikes to our Burlington E-bike Lending Library, and established two new permanent Satellite E-bike Lending Library locations in Montpelier and Springfield. Our Traveling E-bike Lending Library visited St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville, Northfield, Waitsfield, Bristol, and Vergennes. We also held several demos at local events, including Summervale in Burlington. Borrowers are raving!
“I was able to take longer recreational rides without having to worry about tough hills or running out of energy.”
“It felt great to be out on the bike path enjoying the breeze and the lake instead of fighting through traffic and construction. I loved how nimble I felt being able to stop quickly for an errand without thinking about parking my car. I liked getting exercise while getting things done.”
Kelly Driscoll-Smith enjoyed testing out the Ride1Up E-bike in Northfield.
Caring for Your E-bike During Winter
Whether you’re putting your e-bike away until spring or riding it all winter, it’s important to take care of your bike’s battery and components. Check out this blog post for more information!
Trailside Center Bike Rentals
Long a Burlington Waterfront fixture, our Trailside Center generates revenue to support Local Motion’s programming and advocacy. Imagine how cool it is to be in a business that promotes fun. We frequently hear, “It’s been 20 years since I’ve ridden a bike and I can’t believe how much fun I’ve had today!” And just maybe, the Trailside Center has encouraged that person to dust off that old bike in the garage and keep riding.
This spring, the Trailside Center moved to its new location at the intersection of King Street and the recently reconstructed Burlington Greenway. Customers reserve bikes online, and they hop on the bike path just out our front door. We keep people rolling, and they power our advocacy.
The new Trailside Center.
The Bike Ferry
Can you believe that we boarded well over 30,000 passengers during each of the past two Bike Ferry seasons? This year, we benefited from terrific summer weather, and the ever-increasing numbers of people who love to ride bicycles. The ferry is “on the map” of Vermont destinations! Beyond being a seasonal biking and walking link between Burlington and the Hero Islands, it’s just plain fun! Many passengers enjoy a bike and ferry ride to eat lunch, creemees, go apple picking, and even sample some wine. Our ferry continues to successfully run by donation-only, and the Friends of the Ferry campaign attracted over 500 preseason donations to support our “Everyone Rides” program.
We recognize the Ferry would not be what it is without these committed staff and volunteers:
Captains: Richard Schattman, John McHugh, Ed Champagne, and Tom Peterson
Deckhands: Frank Malaki, Philip Jones, Pat Nagy, Larry Kupferman
Dockside Ambassadors: Kevin Barry, Aly McHugh
Volunteers: Almost 100 dedicated people who worked over a combined 800 hours to welcome our passengers, answer questions, and talk about Local Motion's mission.
Shown below is our ferry crew and the Lake Champlain Sea Grant staff. Over the course of the summer the Sea Grant folks engaged Causeway goers with education about the lake ecosystem and biodiversity.
Bike Ferry crew and Sea Grant staff.
Valet Bike Parking
Did you use Valet Bike Parking this summer? Over 4,500 people did! As summer events returned to the scene, we were inundated with calls to provide our services. We parked bikes all summer on the Burlington waterfront, at Leddy Park Beach Bites, Summervale, South Burlington Nite Out, the Burlington Farmers Market, Friday Night Food Trucks, and Art Hop, to name just a few.
Our service enables bike riders to attend events and not worry about finding safe bike parking. All of this is made possible by our outstanding volunteers who do a great job keeping this program running smoothly!
Valet Bike Parking at Summervale.
Local Motion relies on volunteers like you! This summer we had around 100 volunteers donate almost 2,000 hours helping with a multitude of projects. Volunteers helped with Bike Ferry operations, Valet Bike Parking at events, Cone Keeping along the temporary bike path, and advocacy and office projects. Many volunteers donated hours of their time. A huge thank you to everyone who helped this season: we couldn’t have done it without you! If you are interested in volunteering with Local Motion, visit here for more info, or reach out to [email protected].
We’re all part of the Local Motion community! A huge thank you to everyone who donated to Local Motion in 2022. We rely on the generosity of donors like you to continue working towards communities that are safe, accessible, and fun to walk, bike, or roll. We have many options for giving, so choose what works for you: from sustaining monthly gifts, to employer matched giving, from business sponsorship, to remembering Local Motion in your will. For more information, visit this page. Keep an eye out for our year-end appeal headed your way soon! Thanks again!
Bike parade in Bristol.
Many people don’t realize that Local Motion owns a lot of bicycles and they get a lot of use. Our Trailside Center alone has 135 bikes, each rented on average of 170 times a season. Bike Smart’s 200 bikes are ridden by hundreds of Vermont school children every year, and keeping all of our bikes in good shape is Wylie Dulmage’s responsibility. Wylie joined us a year ago as Bike Fleet Coordinator and Lead Mechanic. You can look forward to hearing from Wylie in future Local Motion communications as he’ll be giving folks some pointers on basic bike fixes and maintenance.
We are excited to welcome four new staff members:
Susan Grasso, Complete Streets Program Associate - With a background in civil and environmental engineering, public policy and public administration, I approach reform of our transportation system for better walking and biking from a holistic "complete communities" perspective. I have worked on active transportation projects that encompass the many "Es" of advocacy—engineering, education, encouragement, evaluation and equity—in communities in Vermont, Delaware and Michigan, and am thrilled to be supporting Local Motion's Complete Streets program.
Jessica Poulin, Program Coordinator - It’s only recently that I’ve begun taking my bike off the recreation path and onto the streets, combining my love of biking for fun with my desire to commute in a more sustainable way. Local Motion has been a fantastic place to build my confidence to do so, through the interactions I’ve had with community members at e-bike demo events, with folks who check out an e-bike through our E-bike Lending Libraries, and from our generous and passionate staff. It’s been really exciting to be working with people and communities who view walking, biking, and rolling as a way to make our communities stronger, safer, and more accessible.
Kristin Lawson, Operations Coordinator - Riding a bike and walking is fun—and I want to support folks in having as much fun as possible! I’m excited to join the team at Local Motion where “fun” is in our mission statement, and we’re working to make the world a better place. As the Operations Coordinator, I support and coordinate volunteers, support seasonal staff at the Trailside Center and Bike Ferry, and help with Bike Smart and many other projects. I’m a positive “people person” and my favorite activities are hanging out with my family, exploring new places and seeking new experiences, cooking and sharing food with friends, and being outside.
Grace Pfeil, Communications Coordinator - I am a lifelong Vermonter and I love being outside and enjoying all of the beauty Vermont has to offer. As Communications Coordinator, I support Local Motion’s amazing programs and tell our story through our online presence. When I'm not at Local Motion you can find me gardening in the Intervale, swimming in the Huntington river and taking walks in my neighborhood.
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