Monday, July 14, 2014

First public work session leading towardspedestrian and bicycle master plan for Montpelier

Hello Local Cyclists and Advocates,

We are well underway with the bike and pedestrian master plan process for Montpelier. A public work session this Thursday will focus on identifying the existing conditions (and problems) for cycling and walking here.  More info below.

Bill Merrylees, Montpelier Bike Advisory Committee, 522-4913 

Montpelier is sponsoring the first of several public work sessions leading towards the completion of a pedestrian and bicycle master plan for the City.
July 17, 6:30 PM  City Hall
Come learn about existing walking and bicycling conditions in the City, talk about the issues and let the City know what you think the pedestrian and bicycle plan should address or include.
 To view an existing conditions report about walking and bicycling in Montpelier, please visit the Broadreach Planning & Design website: and go to Projects/Currentand then Montpelier in Motion Information will be available after July 14, 2014.

To leave comments about the project, please email Broadreach Planning & Design

Saturday, July 12, 2014

How Bicycles Bring Business

How Bicycles Bring Business
April 29, 2013

Pat Brown was just hoping to hang on in a tough economy. When she relocated her art gallery in 2008, it was the rock-bottom rent that drew her to a still struggling strip of downtown Memphis, TN. “We were just trying to survive,” she said.
Brown was betting on a small core of community members determined to transform Broad Avenue from a fast-moving thoroughfare, where traffic whizzed past boarded-up storefronts at 50 mph (80 km/h), into a bustling arts district. Little did she know that they would hit the jackpot with bicycling.
Shortly after Brown opened T Clifton Gallery, Sarah Newstok walked in. The local nonprofit Newstok led, Livable Memphis, had a vision for Broad Avenue, too. They wanted to build a protected bike lane that would pass right by Brown’s door, creating a vital connection between a popular multi-use trail and the city’s largest park. “We’re a retail business, so any time there’s a concept to bring additional traffic directly by your storefront, it’s very easy to say ‘yes,’” Brown recalled with a laugh.
In 2010, after garnering support from city officials and surrounding businesses, Livable Memphis and the Broad Avenue Arts District rolled out the idea in a dramatic way. They painted temporary bike lanes and crosswalks and invited the community to “A New Face for an Old Broad,” a celebration, complete with live music, street vendors and a kids’ bike parade down the freshly striped cycle track.
“Until then, the area had been doing art walks once a year and, at best, those were bringing in 1,000 people,” Brown said. “Our goal for this day-and-a-half event, where the street itself would be a sort of theatrical performance, was maybe 5,000 people. We had 15,000 show up. The energy level was incredible. It was a huge tipping point for us – it changed the trajectory of the revitalization efforts.”
The energy didn’t wane once the event was over and bicyclists started taking advantage of the temporary lanes. Since then, the promise of permanent facilities has drawn more than $6 million in private investment. More than 15 new businesses have opened and nearly 30 properties have been renovated. Traffic has slowed, new customers are arriving on two wheels and, suddenly the rock-bottom neighborhood is one of the hottest spots in town.
Memphis isn’t the only city where bicycling is bringing business. Increasingly leaders in the public and private sector are realizing that being bike-friendly makes good business sense, boosting the bottom line and promoting community-wide economic development. Bicycling in the United States is a $6 billion national industry and one study estimates that the spillover effects of recreational bicycling alone could be as large as $133 billion. But that’s just the beginning, barely scratching the surface of the economic impact of transportation bicycling in communities across North America.
Uncovering the Spending Power of Customers on Bicycles
Tom Birchard’s business sits at the intersection of two busy bike routes in the city that never sleeps. During the morning and evening commute, people pour past his restaurant, Veselka, in New York City, NY.
“It’s a steady stream of cyclists coming down the Second Avenue bike lane heading for the bridges to Brooklyn or downtown,” he said. “And the Ninth Street lane is the same going east-west – particularly in the morning.”
For Birchard, those bike lanes offer a tempting preview for potential customers. Passersby aren’t speeding by at 40 miles per hour; they’re traveling at a pace where they can be enticed by the sight and scent of fresh pierogies on the plates of patrons in the sidewalk café. “For me,” Birchard said, “bikes mean business.”
In the minds of many business owners, though, there’s still a direct correlation between cars and customers. Too often, the opposition to bicycle infrastructure is led by retailers who believe ample car parking space is critical to their customer base. But that belief could be depriving businesses of their best potential patrons: cyclists.
Just this summer, the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives did a travel study in Birchard’s neighborhood, the Lower East Side. They found that only a tiny fraction – just four percent – of customers arrived by car. In contrast, 23 percent arrived by bike. A study of travel patterns in the city center of Utrecht in the Netherlands showed similar results: customers on bikes significantly outnumbered those in cars (26 versus 17 percent). Even individual businesses are taking stock of how customers get to their door. The East End Food Co-Op in Vancouver, BC, conducted a survey that showed that 24 percent of its patrons usually pedaled to the store – more than the number of people who drove.
That’s good news, because a growing body of research shows that people who arrive on two wheels have a bigger impact on the bottom line, too. Recent research out of Portland, OR, showed that cycling customers spent more per month ($75.66) than their car-driving counterparts ($68.56) at bars, restaurants and convenience stores. A 2009 study of Bloor Street in Toronto, ON, found that customers who arrive by foot and bicycle visit the most often and spend the most money per month.
Why do people who arrive on bicycles spend more money? Researchers in Muenster, Germany, suggest that because bicyclists buy smaller quantities and thus shop more frequently, they’re “exposed more often to temptation” – more likely to get extra items that aren’t on the shopping list. So it’s not surprising that a survey of 1,200 consumers in Bern, Switzerland, found that businesses made more profit per square meter of bike parking ($9,900 per year) than car parking ($8,800).
For Birchard getting more bike parking is more than an amenity for bicyclists – it’s a business imperative. “Across the street from me, the coffee shop put in a bike corral, and it’s always full,” he said. “We need many, many more.”
How Businesses Are Cashing In on Bicycles
Jeff Motch wasn’t trying to cater to fellow bike riders when he put a bike in the logo of his business, the Blind Lady Ale House. But as soon as he opened his restaurant in San Diego, CA, his clientele started asking: So what’s the connection to biking?
“Bicycle people were attracted to our place, even though it wasn’t intentional,” Motch said of the logo. “And when you tap into a small, core group like that, word spreads very quickly.”
Motch started offering a 10 percent discount for anyone who arrived by bike and built a large and loyal fan base faster than you can brew a batch of pale ale. On Sunday mornings, Blind Lady is the meeting spot for social rides, like the annual Growler Run, which takes participants to a local brewery. Now, on any given weekend, Motch’s place is packed – and a sizable percentage of patrons are cyclists. “I have 20 or 30 bikes outside my place on a Friday night,” he said.
Increasingly, businesses across the country are trying to tap into the spending power of cyclists. In 2008, the League of American Bicyclists launched its Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program, setting clear criteria for how employers can encourage cycling among their staff and customers and recognizing companies at the Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum level for their achievements. From small coffee shops to major corporations, a staggering 480 businesses in the US have earned a BFB designation. Hundreds more have applied.
“Even we couldn’t have expected the incredible interest and buy-in we’ve seen in just a few short years,” says Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “Some of the most iconic companies in the country – Facebook, Apple, and General Mills, to name a few – are realizing bikes can boost their bottom line.”
Standing Stone Brewery, in Ashland, OR, is just one of the hundreds of BFBs that have made small bike investments and seen big payoffs. “Working with the City of Ashland to trade a car parking space for bike parking spaces has definitely led to more business,” says manager Danielle Amarotico. “While we paid to fabricate and install the rack, it’s set the stage for customers to realize that we’re bike-friendly and have gone the extra mile to promote cycling in our community.”
Because that rack sits right in front of the restaurant, it’s become a central hub for community bike parking in all of downtown. And that external welcome is just the beginning. Standing Stone also buys a new bike for all of its employees and financially supports local cycling events. “That exposure brings large numbers of locals and visitors in our doors,” Amarotico added.
For Motch, though, it isn’t just about revenue. It’s about making his work meaningful. “What’s been so awesome for us is [being bike-friendly] brings us the kind of person we want coming through our door,” he says. “People who are active – not just active in their lifestyle, but active in their community.”
That sense of engagement has become a draw for new businesses in bicycle-friendly areas. “I never thought I’d leave San Francisco to move back to my hometown; it’s too car-centric for my taste,” said April Economides, the owner of Green Octopus Consulting. “But mine is just one of 25 businesses that have moved to, opened, or expanded in Long Beach in the past three years because of the city’s bicycling progress.”

Monday, May 19, 2014

Two more bike events coming up this Saturday, 5/24th in Montpelier

1- Family Bike Safety Clinic and Ride, this Saturday May 24th

• 10 – 11 am: Kids can ride the bike safety skills course set up in the high school parking lot.

• 11 – Noon: Group ride out the bike path west and the River Road to Three Mile Bridge, 

returning on the wide shoulder of Route 2. 

Best for kids at least 6 years and older. Sorry, no training wheels on group ride. Each rider should bring a 

helmet and bicycle in good working order. Some helmets will be available to borrow. All kids should be 

accompanied by an adult.

Heavy rain cancels event. For status of event if weather is in question, you may phone 522-4951 after 

8:30 that morning.

2 - Bike to Brunch, a guided ride for adults & families to the Maple Valley restaurant & Bakery. Departs 

Montpelier High school at 10 am.

About Montpelier’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees

Montpelier's Bicycle and Pedestrian Committees are volunteer-citizen bodies tasked by the City Council 

to raise the status of walking and biking in Montpelier by advocating for cyclist and pedestrian issues, 

engaging the community, and advising the City Council on relevant issues. 

For more information, call 262-6273

Friday, May 16, 2014

May is Bike Month - Upcoming events from the Montpelier Bicycle Advisory Committee

On Saturday, May 17th, Join Mayor Hollar and members of the bike advisory committee for a mellow-paced ride to the Post Office Cafe in Worcester, said to be “One of Vermont’s hidden little secrets”.
Ride departs from Montpelier High School at 10 AM. All participants must provide their own bicycle and helmet in good working order.  Hard rain cancels.
Other Bike to Brunch Events:                               
May 24th -Bike to Brunch, group ride to Maple Valley in Plainfield
May 31st –Bike to Brunch, ride to On the Rise Café in Richmond
Also on Saturday May 24: Family Bike Safety Clinic and Ride, at MHS.
10 – 11 am:  Kids can ride the bike safety skills course set up in the high school parking lot.
11 – Noon:  Group ride out the bike path west and the River Road to Three Mile Bridge, returning on the wide shoulder of Route 2.
Best for kids at least 6 years and older. Sorry, no training wheels on group ride. Each rider should bring a helmet and bicycle in good working order.  Some helmets will be available to borrow. All kids should be accompanied by an adult.
All rides departs from Montpelier High School at 10 AM. All participants must provide their own bicycle and helmet in good working order. 
About Montpelier’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees
Montpelier's Bicycle and Pedestrian Committees are volunteer-citizen bodies tasked by the City Council to raise the status of walking and biking in Montpelier by advocating for cyclist and pedestrian issues, engaging the community, and advising the City Council on relevant issues.
For more information, call 262-6273

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 21: Join Lt. Gov. Phil Scott at Ride of Silence


On Wednesday, May 21st all are encouraged to come to the statehouse steps in Montpelier at 5.30pm and join Lt. Gov. Phil Scott in the 2014 Ride of Silence.  The annual Ride of Silence is a worldwide event that's held to remember bicyclists who have been injured or killed in crashes with motor vehicles.  It's organized in Vermont every year by the VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition.  The goal of the ride is to draw attention to the need for safer roads for all, including the most vulnerable roadway users.

Bicyclists who gather in Montpelier will sign in and then receive black and red arm bands.   Each arm band is labeled with the name of a bicyclist who was injured or killed.  Our group will bike single file, in silence and at a respectful pace, along Route 2 to the Middlesex General Store.  There, we will form a circle for the reading of the names of those injured or killed.  After a period of silence, we will return in the same fashion to Montpelier.  The ride is 12 miles round trip.  Participants are required to wear helmets and to have bicycles that are in good mechanical condition.  Heavy rain cancels; rain date is Thursday, May 22.

If you wish to have the name of someone read aloud, please reply to this message with the individual's full name and whether the individual was injured or killed. 

Please note that there will be a Ride of Silence in Northfield on May 21.  Participants will gather at Bicycle Express on Depot Square at 5:30.  The rain date is Friday, May 23.  For more info about the Northfield ride, please contact Tim Swartz via

With longer, warmer days, more and more bicyclists and pedestrians are enjoying Vermont's roads.  Whether we are bicycling, walking, running, riding a horse, or driving, let's remember to behave legally and respectfully toward one another.  Thank you.

Public Informational Meeting - Barre Bike Path Wednesday May 21, 5:00 p.m

Public Informational Meeting - Barre Bike Path 

 Sponsored By: 

Barre City & Town Bicycle Path Committees 

 Wednesday May 21, 5:00 p.m.—Barre Granite Museum 

 Do you like to bicycle or walk to your destinations but found there was a lack of a safe, fun and 

convenient route? Come join both the Barre City and Town Bicycle Path Committees as they report 

on developing local Barre businessman, Charlie Semprebon’s dream of creating a regional path that 

would connect both communities, report on the Central Vermont Pathway, and report on bike path 

segments in Barre City and Barre Town. 

We welcome interested community members to attend this informational meeting at the Granite 

Museum. The City would create a path with destination points along the way, offering 

introductions to the arts, stone craft, Granite Museum, access to the river and other recreational 


Two segments of the City bike path have planned construction dates in the spring of 2015 with the 

rest of the path segments nearing design completion. Two outstanding features of the paths which 

will be highlighted at the meeting are the planned interpretive signage and a sculpture garden 

incorporating the bike path in its design located at the Granite Museum. 

Come join representatives from the Barre City and Barre Town Bike Path Committees as we share 

in our progress! The City is close to having its first “shovel in the ground” and is eager to share its 

progress with you! Pizza, dessert and beverage will be served compliments of DuBois & King, Inc. 

Pat McDonald, Barre City Bike Path Chair Jeff Tucker, Barre Town Chair 

(802) 371-7080 (802) 479-9331 Ext. 1261 through