2017 was a somewhat lack-luster year for the implementation of Burlington's Walk-Bike Network. As 2018 gears up, it is with renewed energy and cautious optimism that the biking/walking community of Burlington is approaching the upcoming construction/biking/walking season.
Local Motion partnered with Richmond's Trails Committee and Climate Action Committee to document community support for making Route 2 in Richmond safer- especially through better accommodation for biking and walking. The Local Motion online petition was a huge success and has triggered action. Richmond Select Board wrote to VTrans to support the re-striping and to recognize the problems and challenges on that key section of road that serves as a key link to Richmond Park & Ride and to residences, businesses and conserved land. An email from the Planning Coordinator at VTrans informed us that the Manager of the VTrans Highway Safety and Design section has agreed to the West Main Street re-striping requests, specifically to work to "identify potential ways in which this work can be accomplished/funded this upcoming season."
Local Motion is excited to announce the selection of Karen Yacos as its new Executive Director. Yacos comes to Local Motion from Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit, where she worked with stakeholders across the country to create resilient water management strategies. She previously served as Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Keurig Green Mountain, and worked at ICLEI, the Seaside Institute, and the Orton Family Foundation, always focused on creating livable communities and healthy ecosystems.
Vermonters spend about a quarter of their income on transportation, and almost half of Vermont’s greenhouse gas pollution comes from the transportation sector. We think that is unacceptable, and we can do much better. How? Transportation for Vermonters can help get us there.
Getting from point A to point B can be expensive, confusing, and polluting in cities and urban areas, so in places like Vermont where A and B are sometimes dozens of miles apart for many people’s daily commute, it’s even more expensive, confusing, and polluting. We wish every Vermonter had the option to travel via biking, walking, or taking the bus, but we know it isn’t that easy quite yet. Fortunately, there are some incredibly intelligent and creative folks in Vermont working on improving transportation in our state, and we joined them to work together. The group is called Transportation for Vermonters (T4VT), which is a promising network of Vermont organizations, businesses, and institutions researching, planning, and advocating for solutions that will lead to more affordable, sustainable, and convenient transportation around the state.
What a winter! The weather has presented more challenges than usual. So far the extreme cold and bad road conditions have not stopped my riding except the day of a big snowfall. With fresh deep snow, my studded tires don't really make any difference. On Saturday the 14th of January I really should have just walked to my job in Burlington. I ended up pushing my bike most of the way from Winooski to Burlington and back, but I did catch a break on The Riverside Avenue bike path. I was able to follow the sidewalk plow up the hill until he reached Intervale Road. Then he crossed the street to head back down Riverside and I had to walk again.
Planning for the 2018 Vermont Bike/Walk Summit is underway! The committee is now accepting both proposals and award nominations.The themes of this year's summit are Advocacy & Education, the Built Environment, Economic Development, Safe & Healthy Communities and Mobile Workshops. Send them your best presentation ideas and the names of people doing a great job working on these topics in your community!
Earlier this month, Senator Carolyn Branagan of Franklin County introduced a bill that would require people to register bikes and pay an annual fee for the privilege. Here's a nice article from VTDigger that asks some pointed questions about what such a bill would accomplish and whether it is needed.
We've been getting lots of questions from supporters about this bill. What's the point of registering bikes? Why was this bill introduced in the first place? And most important, is the bill going anywhere? Read on for answers!
In November, I had a meeting with Mary Catherine, Education and Volunteer Manager at Local Motion to discuss a bike safety program for Driver Education students. During our meeting, she also showed me a helmet that folds up, I was immediately interested so she gave me one to try out. When I told one of my co-works about it, she was suspicious. So as any good 21st century person with access to a computer does, she did some research and found out that the specific helmet Mary Catherine lent me is French so must conform to EU safety standards. Mary Catherine also mentioned to me in a subsequent conversation that all helmets sold in the United States must also meet American safety standards.
One of Vermont’s well-known characteristics is its rural nature. A lot of us Vermonters don’t live in the City or in a downtown. Our homes are sometimes 10+ miles from a grocery store and on dirt roads, so it feels like our only option is to take the car. The good news is that things are changing so your commutes are more fun, less expensive, and healthier. Although bikes have been an excellent transportation option for generations, many people need something more accessible...something that takes less effort and goes faster than a conventional bike. That’s where e-bikes come into the picture. But not just any e-bike; one that can handle dirt, snow, mud, and pavement.
Because there is no enforcement of bike laws, we are forced to create our own rules. I used to think of us as knights errant, as warriors with a personal code of conduct, but the people in cars are the ones encased in steel, not bike riders. We need to be flexible. Honor is not as important as survival.