By Peter Burns
I can use the map apps on my phone, but I prefer paper maps. In an unfamiliar place, the phone maps are difficult to follow. They give a micro view of where you are, but not the bigger picture. When you zoom out, street names disappear. Last summer when I ventured across the lake to ride south to Port Henry and then took the ferry back to Charlotte, I almost got lost. I used my phone and maps copied from a New York State Atlas, but I would have preferred a regional map. Sometimes I can tell where I am but I am not sure if I am heading in the right direction. There is also the option of mapping out a route using one of the map apps and then printing it out. I first learned to use maps in England, when I was walking through the countryside. I used Ordinance Survey maps which are beautifully designed. Perhaps I inherited a bit of map reading ability from my father. He was a flight navigator for B-52 airplanes, although he was never involved in any actual bombing runs.
A true train extraordinaire and bike ferry advocate.
It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of our friend, Jeff Cohn. He will be deeply missed by Local Motion staff and so many in the Local Motion family who have known him over the years.
Jeff was a longtime volunteer at Local Motion, but to us, he was part of our headquarters crew. He was a welcome presence in our office, at his desk two days a week, every week. He was always ready to lend a hand, offer up an idea, solve a problem, and light up the room with his smile and dry wit. Everything Jeff did for us was done with passion and skill, and he was always a strong ambassador for our organization and our mission along the way. He kept an eye on the newspapers, looking out for articles that we would find interesting. We would regularly receive an email from him with an article he found that invariably was relevant or useful to our work. Over the years, there hasn’t been a single Local Motion project that Jeff hasn’t been involved in, from photographer to archivist; lending a hand at the Ferry to helping a child learn how to ride a bike—Jeff did it all. And he was also a heck of a cook, so his time in the office was often marked by both diligent work and --delightfully-- delicious aromas from yet another of his culinary luncheon masterpieces.
One of the most interesting connections between Jeff and Local Motion was the train. Jeff loved trains. He knew everything about trains, the routes they traveled and the part they played in US history. His dedication to Local Motion was a perfect blend between two passions; riding his bike and his work to promote the repurposed Island Rail Line where a bike ferry now runs in place of the old railroad swing bridge. The Local Motion office was a particularly good fit for Jeff; it’s is perched right alongside the Burlington train tracks! Often a passing locomotive would bring Jeff to his feet as he admired the rumbling machine as it lumbered down the tracks. His affinity for the subject was aptly applied in his painstaking research to archive historic Island Line photos as part of telling Local Motions’ 20th Anniversary story this year. That he will not be here as we celebrate and recognize contributions made by him and others is hard to believe. We know he will be with us in spirit as he has left a lasting mark on all.
Jeff was a gift and a wonderful human being. We will miss him terribly.
By Peter Burns
In the summer I am not usually bothered by mosquitoes or ticks but I still wear bug repellent because when I stop by the side of the road for a break or go into the woods to answer the call of nature, I get swarmed by mosquitoes. I also get attacked by mosquitoes when I ride up steep hills. I climb so slowly that they can keep up with me but when I get to the top of a hill I leave them behind. On sunny days I wear sun glasses and on cloudy days I wear clear glasses. This keeps most of the insects out of my eyes. Once, many years ago, I rode into a bee and it stung me on the chest. It was startling. From time to time I spot a butterfly flitting through a field. I can identify Monarch Butterflies, Swallowtails and yellow Cabbage Butterflies. Beyond that I am clueless. In the summer I often hear the sound of crickets and cicadas. One December, a couple of years ago, it was 70 degrees just before Christmas. I went for a ride in Shelburne and as I glided through the countryside I felt strange because although the temperature felt like summertime, I did not hear any birds or insects.
I have an old pair of Pearl Izumi winter bike tights that have a zipper at the bottom of each leg. One of the zippers broke and this presented a problem. The tights are second hand, so I did not feel that I could return them to the manufacturer. Having a seamstress replace the zipper would be expensive and my sewing skills are not up to replacing a zipper myself. The tights are very warm and aside from the zipper, in good shape. I did not want to get rid of them. I needed a way to keep the lower part of the tights closed. I could have duct taped them shut, but that would make it hard to put them on and take them off. The most obvious solution would be to tuck the tights into my socks. This would work, but I wear long underwear under the tights and I need to tuck my long underwear into my socks so the long underwear does not ride up under the tights. I tried keeping the tights closed with rubber bands, but that left big gaps. The same thing happened when I used metal pant leg cuff clips. Then I remembered a pair of footless wool socks that I bought a couple of years ago when Eastern Mountain Sports was going out of business. They proved to be the perfect solution! First I tucked my long underwear into my socks, then I put on my tights and finally I pulled on the footless wool socks. They kept the bottom of the tights secure and also provided an extra layer of warmth. I was very pleased.
Here's the 2018 Year in Review Newsletter that was emailed on January 23, 2019.
We’re walking and rolling! 2018 was a jamming year for biking and walking in Vermont. Thanks to you, our donors, community partners, and business members, Local Motion continues to make our streets more livable, get more people biking and walking, advocate for better policy, and grow Vermont's active transportation culture. Keep your eye out for a few Local Motion newsletters each year!
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an interactive map of our statewide work!
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Welcome to the
Local Motion Walk & Roll Newsletter!
-The 2018 Year in Review Edition-
A few words from Karen:
2019 marks the 20th Anniversary of Local Motion! This organization started with a vision for a bridge across the Winooski River to connect the Island Line Trail. The bridge became a reality, and then the Bike Ferry, and then so much more over the years. This new Newsletter is for you, our Local Motion community—the partners, donors, volunteers and advocates who are always there with us, making everything we do possible. The newsletter, of which you'll see a few per year, will allow us to keep you informed about our work and aware of opportunities to engage as we continue our quest to make biking and walking a way of life in every corner of Vermont.
Karen Yacos, Executive Director
Better Streets & Connections
Pop-up Projects in the neighborhood
This is where permanent change begins! Using our custom trailer, communities can make temporary street changes in a low cost, highly visible way while building support for longer-term change. When trying out the short-term street design, the community has the chance to provide feedback on what works and what may need improvement. Here’s where we were in 2018 (click here for an interactive map!). Let us know if you'd like to plan a pop-up project with us in 2019! Email Allegra@localmotion.org for more information.
Parking that bike
Inadequate bike parking, whether it's a lack of spots, inconvenient location, or broken racks, can be a real bummer and even lead to some people not riding at all. That’s why Local Motion helps communities plan and implement better bike parking. We also sell top-notch bike racks and shelters from Dero (learn more here). Plus, Local Motion partnered with BBA and the City of Burlington to provide you with this interactive downtown Burlington bike parking map. We also helped a few other towns in Vermont get started on their own bike parking inventory!
May we park your bike?
Local Motion offered free Valet Bike Parking at more than 75 events at Burlington area venues like Waterfront Park, Burlington Farmers Market, South Burlington Night Out, Intervale Summerfest, and Arts Hop for a combined total of more than 8,000 bikes parked! Valet Bike Parking is convenient, secure, and fun! Click here to see what your neighbors have to say about it.
Streets for the people!
What happens when you open the streets only to pedestrians and bikers? You have a huge party with more than 2,000 friends! Check out this video of Burlington’s Open Streets event that Local Motion organized with the City of Burlington and dozens of volunteers. Partners are organizing Open Streets events in towns around Vermont, like White River Jct., so keep an eye out for opportunities to build more support and excitement over shifting the car culture!
Stories from the Streets
Shelburne: Bridging a gap
It all started with a log across a river. With Local Motion’s online organizing and communications support, a group of motivated Shelburners raised the funds to design and build a permanent bridge, now called LaPlatte Crossing. This bridge opens up public access to a wonderful network of trails. Plus, kids are crossing the bridge and using the trails to get to school!
Rutland: Kids rule the road
Students from Christ the King School in Rutland noticed that crossing the street to school needed to be safer, so they called up Local Motion and we worked together to make it happen! This pop-up project made crossing the street and walking in the parking lot much safer for students, parents, and teachers!
Burlington: Connecting the network
Local Motion and many Burlington residents have been helping the City of Burlington connect bike lanes and paths as quickly as it can be done. A lot was accomplished across Burlington in 2018 to create a continuous biking network, and we’ll make sure much more happens in 2019. For those walking and biking downtown, upgrades to Saint Paul Street, Main Street, and City Hall Park will help establish Complete Streets in a way Burlington has never seen before!
Advocating for Change
Building statewide coalitions
With many impressive partners from around the state, Local Motion helped launch a statewide coalition called Transportation for Vermonters. This coalition is helping achieve Vermont-scale initiatives like strong statewide road standards and an effective Complete Streets policy. Check out the 2019 policy agenda here!
"E" is for electric (and everyone)
Simply put, e-bikes open up more access to people riding bikes than any other modern technology. E-bikes are helping more people commute by bike and are motivating people, of all abilities, to ride more than they otherwise would. That's why we have been keeping a close eye on local and state e-bike policies and speaking out in support of e-bikes as a new and welcome mobility option in Vermont. As with any new technology, there can be misconceptions that come with its arrival, but we believe e-bikes will prove themselves to be a positive addition to our biking culture and we will continue to educate the public and elected officials about their benefits.
Story from the Streets
South Burlington: Making paths with pennies
A successful campaign! With Local Motion’s help, South Burlington residents passed the ballot initiative “Pennies for Paths,” which allocates new funds specifically for better walking and biking projects in South Burlington! Your town can do the same!
Educating Kids & Commuters
Through Bike Smart, 10,971 Vermont kids at 66 schools learned how to ride confidently and safely to become the next generation of climate-conscious commuters in 2018! Check out where on this interactive map.
Trade your car for an e-bike
108 people integrated e-bikes from our free lending library into their lives for a week and experienced a car-free lifestyle. Many have since purchased an e-bike for everyday commuting. Plus, 400+ people tried an e-bike at events across Vermont! In fact, we're finding that nearly 20% of the people who borrow an e-bike from our loan program (or VBike's program in Brattleboro) end up purchasing one for commuting within a year!
Preparing to bike any day
350+ people in 11 towns got geared to ride more at one of our free Everyday Biking workshops. Pictured above are folks from Brattleboro with our partner VBike getting the info they need to bike commute all winter long. Other workshop themes are bike commuting 101, on-street skills, basic bike mechanics, and biking for the aging.
A+ for active schools
Nearly 24,000 students and teachers across 65 schools are walking and biking more thanks to Way to Go! They’re skipping and rolling to win amazing prizes for their schools, like solar panels, bike racks, and more!
Safe routes round-up
2018's Safe Routes Conference had 40 people attend to learn how to achieve safer streets in their towns. Save the date for 2019's even bigger conference: Thursday, April 11, 2019 from 9-3 in Barre, VT at the Granite Museum. Everyone from across Vermont is welcome--residents, advocates, planners, school & health professionals, and more! This year will be a wider scope to include additional partners with a broader focus to amplify our work on promoting safe routes for all vulnerable road users. Email email@example.com for more info.
Stories from the Streets
Burlington: An electrified commute
Brendan wanted a better commute, so he tried out a cargo e-bike from our lending library. A few weeks later, he bought one from Old Spokes Home and commutes year-round on it with his son! Bonus: he used an e-bike rebate from our partners at Burlington Electric Dept! Keep an eye out for e-bike rebates in other parts of Vermont in 2019.
Hartland: New bikers & leaders
"We were lucky enough to get a hand cycle bike from Local Motion for a student in need. This student enjoyed every second of his riding. We also had multiple students who would come outside to help with P.E. classes who really enjoyed working with the bikes. These students took pride in helping and really stepped up to the plate! A WONDERFUL TWO WEEKS!"
Recreation & Fun
In 2018, people from all 50 states and 38 countries
rode the Bike Ferry or rented a bike from our Trailside Center!
We've got bikes to rent!
The Trailside Center provides people from all over the globe with first-class recreation opportunities and helps make our community and advocacy work possible. In 2018, we rented more than 11,000 bikes to folks from across the country and abroad from the Trailside Center! They explored the greater Burlington area and visited many businesses along the way.
A summer of "ferry" tales
14,208 visitors from around the globe rode the Bike Ferry this year! Even after missing out on the first two months from major storm damage, this is the second highest number of riders we've seen in a single season!
Take a roadside break
Did you know that Local Motion is building a growing network of bike rest areas? These covered picnic tables and kiosks are stocked with maps and local info along popular bike routes. Click here to see them on the map!
Planning an event this summer?
Join us, we have all the essential ingredients. How about a waterfront ride and bike ferry crossing where you’ll enjoy spectacular lake and mountain views and breathe that clean fresh Vermont air. Tom will help you plan a great outing for your wedding party, office staff, or other groups of people! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Stories from the Streets (and sea)
Burlington: Just married!
This happy couple celebrated their new marriage with 30 friends by renting bikes from Local Motion! They cruised up and down the Island Line Trail and later told us "it's a memory we will cherish forever." Click here to start planning your group event with our Trailside Center bike rentals!
South Hero: Making days & saving lives
Local Motion's Bike Ferry inspires thousands of smiles every year, and this past July, the Ferry team went above and beyond their typical daily work to rescue seven girls from a nearby camp whose catamaran capsized in rough waves! Watch the full story here.
Thank you for making 2018 a great year!
We are looking forward to an even more amazing 2019!
Stay tuned for more newsletters coming to your inbox this year. We will keep you updated on all our actions and plans! If you would like to get involved with Local Motion - check out this link for more information!
Want to receive future newsletters like this in your inbox?
By Karen Yacos, Local Motion Executive Director
Curt McCormack is the new Chair of the House Transportation Committee in Vermont, and he doesn’t own a car! We love how this guy gets to work (watch how here) by walking to a regional bus for his Burlington to Montpelier (and back) commute to the Statehouse. Everyday. He, and all the folks who are opting to use their feet, a bike or transit rather than a car, will help infuse some new thinking and ideas into the transportation discussion in Vermont, and at the perfect time. Although Vermont has made progress creating safe space for bikers and pedestrians on some roadways, and continues to work on the initial stages of a network of transit and other options that make travel without a car possible in such a rural state, local and state transportation policy, plans, and projects are still substantially about the car first and foremost. This will change because it has to. We all can see more and more people out, in all weather, waiting for a bus, biking, jumping in a carshare or on a share bike trying to get where they need to be WITHOUT A CAR. Our state policies, and expenditures, need to support this shift in the biggest way possible because the result will be healthier people and planet, more livable communities, and a better quality of life for Vermonters.
As part of Transportation for Vermonters (T4VT), a coalition of likeminded partners who support a vision for a sustainable and accessible transportation system for Vermont, Local Motion helped develop a shared 2019 Policy Agenda which was sent to Vermont legislators last week to welcome them to their job and reinforce the importance of bringing forward-thinking and new ideas about our transportation system with them. The T4VT agenda calls for, among other things, increased funding for infrastructure for walking, biking, carpooling and other choices, and the public transit that knits it all together. See the full agenda below or by clicking here.
Elements of Bike Riding, Part 7
Recreational Winter Riding
The elements have to be just right for a fun winter road ride. The roads have to be clear of snow and dry, because the bike I ride for pleasure has no fenders. The temperature has to be above 35 degrees with no rain, I have to have time to ride and it has to be well before dark. In December, when the sun is setting at around 4, just finding enough daylight is a challenge. On December 21st, all the elements came together and I was able to take my first fun ride in quite some time. I have been riding daily for practical purposes and I am in good enough shape to ride for two hours without any difficulty. I went on my usual short ride route -- from Winooski through the Intervale to Mallets Bay, then the Colchester Bike Path to 2A where I stopped at the Burnham Library to use the bathroom and get some water. I went on Depot Road, Sand Road and Gentes Road which took me back to 2A. I circled back to Suzie Wilson Road and then rode through Fort Ethan Allen and Saint Michael's to get back to Winooski. There was a moment, on the Colchester Bike Path, overlooking Mallets Bay, when I felt that opening up of the mind and body that is one reason I ride. It is a feeling of spaciousness and joy, a sense of freedom difficult for me to achieve in other areas of my life. One of the pleasures of riding in the winter is that you can look through the woods and see things that are blocked by the leaves in the summertime. I see houses and sheds that are invisible during the warmer months. Last summer I photographed wild flowers. This spring I will start photographing abandoned sheds and barns. I saw two good sheds on my ride. Even on warmer winter rides, I don't take photographs because my hands get cold easily, even with gloves liners on. That is why my photography project will start in the spring.
In the winter, when I get home from riding, I bring my bike into the front porch so that it can dry off from the snow or rain. Later I bring the bike into the house. There are many advantages to having an inside bike. It is easy to put more air in the tires or lubricate the chain. The bike and the bike lock dry throughly every night. Last year when I kept my bikes out in a shed, my lock got wet in the rain and then froze overnight. It was really hard to get open in the morning, and from then on, when it got really cold, the lock was hard to use. The biggest advantage in the winter is that you can leave the house with both you and the bike warm. In single digit temperatures, even with glove liners on, my hands quickly get cold if I have to unlock my bike and put my lock in my pannier then close the pannier. It also takes some time to put on my bike helmet and switch on my lights. Once my hands get cold, they don't warm up again until I am inside.
When I teach winter bike classes I tell participants about the importance of the indoor bike, and I suggest that if necessary, they may have to get rid of a roommate or a spouse to make room for the bicycle. It it just a matter of getting ones priorities straight.
Other Bike Riders
Cars present the real danger for bike riders but It can be annoying when too many pedestrians and bike riders are using the same recreation path. Last year, in early October, on the holiday weekend, I took the Colchester Causeway to the bike ferry. It was a cool gray day and I thought that the weather might keep others away, but the Causeway was crowded with riders and walkers of all ages. I don't go very fast, but I do go faster than most causal riders, so I passed others bike riders. People coming the opposite way often drifted into my lane and only looked up at the last minute. Riders and pedestrians going my way did not stay over on the right hand side. It was no fun. If we suddenly had as many bike riders as we have car drivers, chaos would result and it would be frustrating to ride a bike. There will be more riders as time goes on and infrastructure and bike riding culture will have to keep pace.
I see other bike riders most days. There are still few enough of us to stand out among pedestrians and cars. I know a handful of people to wave to, the rest are strangers. Some riders are slower than me, some faster. There is one particular man who seems in a great hurry and he is always passing me in town. It is usually when I am on my commuter bike, loaded down with stuff. Also, in the city, I see no need to ride fast. Sometimes he passes me on Riverside Avenue. I confess that I fantasize about seeing him when I am on my road bike. Then I would leave him in the dust! This is unlikely to happen because I rarely ride my road bike in town.
By being involved with Local Motion and Old Spokes Home, as well as online groups, I have come to feel that I am part of the bike community here in Burlington. It is a good feeling. Many of the things I love to do are solitary pursuits. I usually ride, swim, do yoga, read, and meditate alone. I try to add some group element to each of those activities, so I don't feel isolated. Teaching bike classes and going on occasional group bike rides keeps me in direct contact with other bike riders.
As the weather gets colder, I see fewer bike riders. Many people stop when the roads get icy. In the late fall the Church Street Marketplace and City Market remove some of their bike racks, which makes things just a little bit harder. That said, during the first real snow storm of the year, in late November, I saw four other bike riders on my way to work. This would not have happened every a few years ago. We are making progress!
There are more and more electric bikes on the roads. They are great for people who would not ordinarily get out on a bicycle. For people with disabilities they are a godsend. I prefer to ride a regular bike. I find it very satisfying to utilize only human power. I can't imagine engaging in any sports activity in which I did not provide the power myself. The question is whether electric bikes should go everywhere that regular bikes go. I am leaning toward use on the road and recreation paths but maybe not on single track trails. In early November I saw a man standing by his electric bike on a trail in the Intervale. There had been rain the day before and the trail was muddy. The man had skidded on his bike and now the fender was rubbing. He had just fixed it with a dime embedded in a stick. Very creative. I offered to help but he was fine. I wondered if having an electric bike made it too easy to go fast on a slippery trail.
Although I have not experienced extreme road rage recently, I still get angry every couple of days. I just don't chase car drivers down so I can yell at them. I have done that in the past. Recently a white truck cut me off on Riverside Avenue by taking a right onto Intervale Road. The driver turned into a driveway on Intervale Road and I resisted the impulse to follow him and have a little discussion. I also worked on not spending the next fifteen minutes on revenge fantasies. On a regular basis cars come too close or start moving at a stop sign before I have finished crossing. Riverside Avenue heading into Burlington is a challenge in the morning. At the top of the hill I turn left onto either Hyde Street or North Winooski Avenue. If it is after 7 AM, traffic gets heavy and it is hard to get into the left lane to make my turn. I often have to stop on the right side of the road and look back until all the cars have passed. Then I can get into the correct lane. This is not pleasant, especially when there is snow on the right side of the road and I have less space than usual. Given a choice, I prefer to ride on car-free roads. This happens less and less frequently in Chittenden County. New homes and businesses are going up all the time, and there is more traffic than ever. The infrastructure for bikes is still patchy.
I am glad I do not own a car. Once in a while I use a Car Share vehicle but mostly I ride, take the bus or walk. When I do get behind the wheel of a car, I find myself instantly returning to car consciousness. Recently I was driving in town when I saw two people approaching a crosswalk. Instead of slowing down I sped up to get through the crosswalk so I would not have to stop. It was automatic, I didn't even think about it. We change who we are when we change from rider to driver .
By Peter Burns
Join Local Motion (and Peter) at a winter biking workshop near you this December! These fun events are free and include food and prizes. Find the schedule at www.localmotion.org/events
When I started riding through the winter 35 years ago, there were only a handful of us. Each year more and more folks are riding though the winter. The technology for cold weather riding is constantly improving. Even more important is the change in consciousness. Many people see winter riding as not only possible, but desirable. If you can ski, you can bike in the winter!
From May to October of this year I was able to take a long ride almost every week. I am lucky to be able to have these adventures, and I have been thinking about the things that make them possible.
I am blessed with the ability to ride for a long time. Years of biking, swimming and yoga have kept me fit and strong. I do not have any nagging injuries that make riding difficult, although I do have aches and pains that come and go. My vision and hearing are fine.
I also have the temperament for endurance. I enjoy long books, longs swims and long bike rides. These are things I look forward to. Even when I have to get up early to ride, and it is dark and chilly outside, I seldom hesitate about going. I am interested in how the mind and body work under duress. That said, I am not interested in seeking out pain. Riding, swimming and reading are pleasures.
Although I have a full time job, it is flexible enough to afford me the time I need to ride. My work schedule is from Saturday to Wednesday. My vacation time is generous, and last summer I took every other Sunday off. I was able to ride on most of those Sundays. My children are grown up, so I don't have to do childcare anymore. This leaves me free for other activities.
After many years of living from paycheck to paycheck, I have managed to attain a modicum of financial stability. This means I do not have to work seven days a week, as I felt obligated to do in the past.
Because of the infrastructure in Chittenden County, including CarShare and the bus system, I can live without owning a car. Instead, I have three bicycles, one for my daily commuting, one for dirt road riding, and one for on road riding. I can use some of the money I save from not owning a car to help me maintain my mini-fleet of bikes.
Last but not least, I live in Vermont. Ten minutes from home and I am out in the countryside. I am so lucky to be able to ride in a truly beautiful place.
This month, Local Motion partnered with parents and administrators from the Edmunds Schools to install a pop-up demonstration project to improve safety along South Union Street. School drop-off and pick-up along this stretch has long been a challenge, with buses, cars and bicyclists all vying for space. Pop-up projects like this one serve as temporary, low-cost ways to collect feedback about street design before significant resources are invested on permanent improvements.
This two-week, parent-led project seeks to test out a design for a protected bike lane which is specifically called for in PlanBTV Walk Bike, a document widely vetted by the broader community and adopted by the City Council.
As with any street changes, there is a period of adjustment as drivers learn and adapt to new traffic patterns. The benefit of a pop-up is that there are relatively easy ways to make adjustments to the design if issues arise. The city has already responded to concerns by adding signage to clarify the new one-way traffic pattern on South Union.
The traffic analysis conducted by a local engineering firm in advance of the pop-up did not find that the removal of the right turn lane onto Main Street would cause significant traffic delays. However, given the construction underway on other downtown roadways (ie Saint Paul Street, Pine Street, etc), there may be some back-up until drivers find more favorable commuting routes.
Your feedback on these changes is invaluable as the City continues to implement PlanBTV Walk Bike. Please weigh in by taking this brief survey. Your input will inform future improvements and help make the street safer for all users!