Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Final Meeting for the VTrans On-Road Bike Plan - 12/1

From Local Motion
Displaying On Tuesday, December 1st from 6pm to 8pm, join the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) for a final public meeting about the VTrans On-Road Bike Plan (Phase 1). We will be there and hope you will will too! 
The goal of the plan is to identify opportunities to enhance bicycle conditions on state roads designated as high-use priority bicycle corridors with the intent of making Vermont roads work better and be safer for everyone -- families, commuters and recreational riders. Phase 1 categorized state roads into high-, moderate- and low-use corridors based on their current and potential use.

 At the public meeting you will be able to:
  • See results of phase 1 of the project: the VTrans Bicycle Corridor Priority map, which thousands of people from around the state participated in crafting.
  • Learn more about the next phases of the project: VTrans' assessment of safety and other deficiencies and identification of projects to address those gaps along high priority corridors. 
The meeting will use Vermont Interactive Technologies (VIT) to broadcast to locations around the state. You can attend the meeting at a VIT site to participate in the meeting in real time or participate via webcast at home. Look for emails from Local Motion and check the VTrans On-Road Bike Plan website in the near future for

Monday, November 16, 2015

Shifting Gears to Cycling Would be Big Climate Boost


Something green is happening in larger cities throughout the U.S. — green-colored bike lanes are spreading like bubble tea shops throughout Manhattan. Salt Lake City just installed America’s first urban street intersectiondesigned to protect cyclists. Motor vehicle lanes are shrinking in Los Angeles to accommodate more bike commuters.
The climate would benefit in a big way if urban commuters worldwide would leave their cars at home and use those dedicated bike lanes to cycle to work, and if more cities would prioritize bike commuting in their urban planning, according to a University of California-Davis report published Thursday.
A bike lane in Florida. Credit: Daniel Oines/flickr
Greenhouse gas emissions coming from motor vehicles in big cities worldwide would dive about 11 percent, saving society $24 trillion in infrastructure and other costs between today and 2050 if city dwellers would use bicycles and electric bikes for about 10 percent of their urban trips instead of using motor vehicles, the report says.
The study was commissioned by three pro-bicycle groups — the European Cyclists’ Federation, the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and the Union Cycliste Internationale — but researchers and scientists not associated with those groups by and large supported the findings.
Today, 6 percent of all trips in cities globally are on bikes. In the U.S., bikes account for 1 percent of all urban travel.
If global annual carbon dioxide emissions from urban transportation continue on their current trajectory, they stand to increase from 2.3 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in 2015 to 4.3 gigatonnes in 2050. But if people adopt cycling in cities to the extent the study envisions, it says that carbon dioxide emissions from urban transportation could be reduced to today’s levels in 2050.
“This is the first report that quantifies the potential carbon dioxide and cost savings associated with a worldwide shift toward much greater use of cycling in urban areas,” co-author Lewis Fulton, director of the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways program at UC-Davis, said. “The estimated impacts surprised me because they are so large. The costs saved in lower energy use and reducing the need for car travel, new roads and parking lots through 2050 are substantial.”
Both cycling and mass transit will need to account for a large share of travel in urban areas in the future if cities are to become less dependent on cars, he said, and electric bikes, or e-bikes,  are a huge part of that.
E-bikes are challenging because even in bike-friendly cities, infrastructure and public policies do not always accommodate the safe use of e-bikes, which use electric motors to assist in pedaling and can often travel faster than traditional bicycles. For example, e-bikes are banned in New York City, even though they are commonly seen on the streets there.
For cities to achieve the drop in greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage people to shift from cars to bikes, cities need to develop cycling and e-bike infrastructure quickly, implement bike-share programs, encourage the development of mass transit to accommodate non-motorized transportation options that can be combined with cycling and repeal policies that subsidize motorized vehicle use.
In other words, Fulton said, cities worldwide should follow the lead of Copenhagen, where about 40 percent of the city’s trips are on bikes.
“They had relatively low cycling levels as recently as the 1960s,” he said. “They just started putting in infrastructure and they just kept doing that through the 60s, 70s and 80s. The last 30 years is when they went to the 40 percent level. It’s a great example of a city that shows how you can make it happen and how you can change the culture.”
But changing a city’s culture to accommodate cycling is something the report doesn’t address adequately, and it could be a major barrier to achieving such a broad global shift toward cycling in urban areas, said Kevin Krizek, director of the University of Colorado-Boulder’s Environmental Design Building program, who is unaffiliated with the report.
“Going down the path of the high-shift cycling scenario beckons a larger call toward culture, funding and societal characteristics,” Krizek said. “Bicycling has widely varying social connotations in some cultures and painting it as a silver bullet that is irrespective of these cultures leaves a lot of distance to cover there.”
Protected bike lanes in Seattle. Credit: SDOT/flickr
Fulton said that’s a fair point, and it’s especially applicable to some African cities, where cycling is seen by some as being primarily for low-income people, and it carries a stigma.
In Africa, “it’s about getting off the bike and showing that you have some other way to get around,” Fulton said. “That’s just simply another example of where governments and other stakeholders need to get together to change that culture.”
Krizek said the report is valuable because it shows how cycling — especially e-bikes — can benefit both society and the environment, but its emissions reduction calculations may be overly “aggressive.” And, because the report was commissioned by advocacy groups, its findings should be taken with a “grain of salt.”
Fulton said the report was “pretty independent,” and his greenhouse gas emissions figures were not influenced by the sponsors. However, he said, he did collaborate with the sponsors on determining the feasibility of cycling one day accounting for 10 percent or more of urban commutes globally.
Other scientists unaffiliated with the report said its methods are solid and shows what role bicycles can play in a warming world.
“The conclusions that if we could increase cycling for more urban travel we could reduce carbon dioxide is intuitively true,” Elliott Sclar, professor of urban planning at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, said. “The importance of the report is that it begins to put numbers on the order of magnitude concerning what such a shift could mean if it came to pass. The degree this can succeed depends upon the degree to which the political climate will permit us to move away from the present BAU (business as usual).”
Sclar said he is not concerned about any effect the sponsors may have had on the study because its methods are sound.
Ralph Buehler, associate professor of urban affairs at Virginia Tech, called the report “daring” because it comes up with big-picture estimates of global bike use at a time when data on global cycling trends are poor, particularly for developing countries.
“The nice thing is, it gives us a look into what’s possible,” Buehler said. “They estimate that bike trips will replace more carbon-intensive trips, and that’s where the carbon dioxide emissions savings will come from. I think the estimates sound reasonable to me.”
Susan Shaheen, director of Innovative Mobility Research at University of California-Berkeley, said the feasibility for a broad urban shift toward cycling depends on the city.
“Increased investment in infrastructure that promotes safety and separation from automobiles would likely make scenarios envisioned in this report more plausible,” she said.
“The argument for bicycles is a pretty clean one. If you increase bicycling, emissions will generally drop.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How Vermont's hands-free law is taking effect


First it was horrified screams, and then a victim's message that proved texting on the road can ruin a life. Since Vermont's hands-free law went into effect last year, Vermont State Police have issued nearly a dozen tickets or warnings a day to people behind the wheel. 
In just a few seconds, you can go from on the road to in a hospital, needing resuscitation for life-threatening injuries from a car crash caused by distracted driving. 
"When you are texting and driving, you are 23 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident," said Dr. Mario Trabulsy from the UVM Medical Center. 
Sixty high school students and parents got that message Tuesday night at UVM.
CVU sophomore Jonah Breen drove for three minutes in a texting and driving simulator; three times he was too close to other cars, another time he went off the road.
"I thought before, if you do it for maybe a few seconds, it wouldn't make that big of a difference, but you can move so far off the road in just two to three seconds," said Breen.
When Debbie Drewniak was hit, the driver didn't even leave the road, but a few distracted seconds for reading a text changed this Essex resident's life forever. 
"She has to live with what she chose to do. It was her choice and her responsibility. This was no accident," said Drewniak.
Drewniak was nearly killed in 2011 as she was walking her dog. Her medical bills now eclipse $1 million. 
"I was by my mailbox, by my house when she hit me," said Drewniak.
In 2013, 31,000 people died in accidents caused by distracted driving.
Since Vermont's hands-free law took effect, the Vermont State Police have handed out 2,000 tickets for texting and driving. They've warned another 2,000. 
A warning from a woman whose voice is another reminder of a life altered by texting and driving. 
Twenty-four percent of the audience said they see their friend's text and drive all the time, but the National Safety Council reports that the number of serious crashes due to distracted driving has fallen since its peak in 2013.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Bikes vs. Cars

Maybe a little dramatic title, but interesting looking for sure. Anyway, good point: "The reality is that there is not one single city in the world that has solved the issue of mobility through the private car."

Check out the trailer for this new movie right here.

Bikes vs Cars 2

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rally for safer roadways in Vermont

From WCAX:
WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

They came on foot, under pedal power and via both kinds of horsepower. Users of Vermont's roadways rallied in Montpelier Friday night to keep their shared space safe.
"So we're coming together as users of the road in so many different ways, and we're coming together to say that we can make a difference today, the very next time that we sit on a bike, the very next time that we turn the key in the ignition, we can make a difference for the safety of everyone on the road," said Emily Boedecker, the executive director of Local Motion.
This year, Vermont's roadways have been the scene of 10 fatal motorbike crashes, an additional two with pedestrians, and another four involving bicycles-- that's the driving force behind the rally for road safety. For perspective, the state saw only one fatal crash involving a bike in the previous 10 years, according to bike safety advocates.
"It's the fatalities that make headlines, but the story is much larger than that. It's about the serious injuries, the minor accidents, the near misses, the stories that so many people have," Boedecker said.
VTrans spokesperson Kevin Marshia says Vermont lost 690 people to crashes in the last 10 years, while 3,873 suffered temporary or permanent physical injury over the same period.
"That's like the population of Waterville or St. George being lost to highway fatalities in a 10-year period, or the population of Bristol or Brandon being, suffering incapacitating injuries in a 10-year period. This is a serious issue," Marshia said.
Those organizing the event say they hope to convince those on the roads of the importance of knowing the rules, respecting others and sharing that knowledge with others. They say spreading knowledge like this on the Statehouse lawn can be more powerful than any law passed up the hill.
It's unclear if legislation will come out of the event, but those in attendance Friday evening said if they hear good ideas, they'll share them with lawmakers, too.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pop-up bike lanes and Sharrows happening in Montpelier

For tomorrows Bike Safety Rally in Montpelier from the State House at 5.30pm there is a bunch of new Sharrows and a pop-up separated bike lane being installed today and tomorrow! Thanks for the volunteer help and DPW for cooperating this. Hopefully see lots of folks tomorrow.

Safe Roads Rally for Vermont! Fri 9/25 5.30pm Montpelier State House

Meet up and ride to the event. 
Parking available in DOL Park and Ride on Green Mountain Drive, and in DMV parking opposite the State House.

Join us by car or on foot, by bike or motorbike, on horse or by tractor. If you use Vermont's road, this event is for you!

Come out and hear Lt. Gov Phil Scott, legislative leaders, representatives of AAA, Vermont State Police, Local Motion and many others talk about how we can make our roads safe and welcoming for everyone. You'll have a chance to talk to your elected officials and share your ideas for making our roads a safer place. At the event we'll be launching a new PSA, and the Vermont Road User Pledge…