Remembering Jeff Cohn

Jeff Cohn

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.




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2018 Year in Review

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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Better Streets & Connections  |  Advocacy  |  Education  |  Recreation & Fun

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

2018 Highlights

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 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

2018 Highlights

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

2018 Highlights

Biking smart

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 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!"
-Angela, Teacher 


Recreation & Fun

2018 Highlights

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 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! 

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2019 Transportation for Vermonters Policy Agenda

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.

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New South Union St. Safety Updates Need Your Feedback

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!

send your feedback


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