Monday, April 30, 2012

May is Bike/Walk Month! Get on it now!

From Local Motion
Bike/Walk Month
Monday, 23 April 2012 10:03
Nationally, Bike Month started in 1956...but we do things a bit differently -- we include walking as well as cycling!
Here's a short list of some of the exciting components for Bike/Walk Month this May:

National_Bike_ChallengeSign up for the VT Bike Challenge! This fun season-long campaign challenges all of us to bike more often.  Sign up today!  It starts in May and continues through August.  Sponsored by Earls' Cyclery & Fitness.  One lucky entrant will win a free bike tour from Sojourn Bicycling & Active Vacations -- valued at over $2,500!

May 2: Walk 'n Roll to School Day! Join us in celebrating Vermont's inaugural Walk and Roll to School Day! This day is a great way to encourage positive changes in community culture, and to create environments that are more inviting for everyone, young and old.  Families and schools, click here to participate in this fun event. You can also bike to school the following Wednesday May 9th for the national Bike to School Day.

May 5: Bike Swaps! Skirack and Earl's Cyclery host their annual swaps.  It's a great chance to sell your old bike or get a new one.

Thank you to the City of Burlington for helping fund this month-long promotion!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Check out back road bike tours for Central Vermont

The quiet villages, rolling hills, and breathtaking scenery of Central Vermont could not have been better designed for the biking Vermont enthusiast.

scenic vistas
biking in Central VermontThe combination of paved and unpaved roads (bike trails) winding by historic communities and picturesque countryside provides the perfect setting for day-long Vermont backroad biking exploration. The Central Vermont bike tours are designed for the enjoyment of the recreational cyclist. However, Central Vermont is hilly, so a reasonable level of fitness is required to truly enjoy Vermont bicycle touring.
Each Vermont bike touring route is laid out to return the rider to his or her starting point. These Central Vermont bicycle trails range from 4.5 to 25.7 miles. Some have optional extensions, and creative minds can combine bike trails and Central Vermont bike paths or design their own from the Vermont bike maps provided.
From Montpelier's historic downtown and capitol district to the secluded meadows of the Mad River Valley, these Vermont biking tours provide an ever changing backdrop for your travels. They are creatively designed for you to enjoy or prepare for upcoming Vermont bike races.
Along the way, you will encounter steepled churches, country stores, and dairy farms. You'll pass forests, streams, and quiet ponds. You'll be able to stop and enjoy apple cider, maple candies, Vermont cheddar, or hand-dipped chocolates.
Use this guide for a one-day adventure, or plan a week and investigate every route, or prepare yourself for a Vermont bicycle race!
Your home base can be a deluxe motel or a country bed and breakfast. Pack sandwiches to go, or enjoy nearby restaurants of every variety.
The bike tours in this guide are unique. You will find them nowhere else. They were discovered and mapped by local residents who share your passion for wide tires and open spaces.
The residents of Central Vermont have a love of the land and natural environment that is unsurpassed. They revel in the splendor of the mountains, the rush of streams and the solitude of the fields. They are committed to preserving their heritage, and they invite you to share the wonder of the Vermont experience.
Send us an email to request a printed copy of Central Vermont Back Road Bike
Central Vermont Biking is a project of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission.
This project is supported in part by the Central Vermont Regional Marketing Program.

Bicycle Commuting Gains Traction In Cities


Many commuters living in growing urban areas are opting to ride bikes to work as an alternative to congested roads and higher gas prices.
The most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates show about 730,000 Americans bike to work as their primary means of transportation, a 50 percent increase from 2000. This shift is most prevalent in large metro areas, with Denver; Portland, Ore.; and Washington, D.C., among cities reporting the largest gains in bicyclists.
Bicycle commuting varies greatly throughout the country, typically being more common in densely populated areas. College towns, in particular, report high numbers of cyclists.
Davis, Calif., boasts the highest percentage of bicycle commuters, with cyclists accounting for 22 percent of workers. The city is home to a large University of California campus and the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame.
The following 10 cities have the largest percentages of commuters riding bicycles to work, according to the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey:
CityPopulationTotal WorkersEstimated Bike CommutersPercentageBicycle Commuters (Margin of Error)
Davis, Calif.65,74027,6896,13122.1%+/-1,891
Boulder, Colo.97,58550,0914,9739.9%+/-1,394
Eugene, Ore.156,29969,7135,7708.3%+/-1,297
Berkeley, Calif.112,82448,3233,8458.0%+/-932
Cambridge, Mass.105,33756,0753,8076.8%+/-1,013
Santa Barbara, Calif.88,57942,2532,6956.4%+/-1,046
Madison, Wis.233,777127,5667,6926.0%+/-1,522
Gainesville, Fla.124,43354,0023,2146.0%+/-1,224
Portland, Ore.585,429286,22817,0356.0%+/-2,267
Iowa City, Iowa68,02737,6162,0935.6%+/-1,062

Overall, only a small share of Americans – less than 1 percent – bike to work.
The survey only measures the primary means of commuting to work for those age 16 and older. Survey participants are asked to record a single response based on the longest commute distance, so those riding bikes to subways would count only as public transportation commuters.
Darren Flusche, policy director for the League of American Bicyclists, said commutes to work do not account for most bicycle trips. Recreational use and making short trips to nearby shops and restaurants are more common, he said.
A few cities near the top of the list for cyclists defy conventional wisdom. Despite its harsh winters, an estimated 3.5 percent of Minneapolis workers ride bikes. Flusche said he was also surprised San Francisco, with its hilly landscape, ranked high with similar counts.
“Any community can do it. It’s just a question of making the investment,” he said.
Flusche cited Tucson, Ariz., as one city benefiting from constructing more bicycle lanes.
“They’re doing a lot to become a destination and a real bicycle-friendly place,” he said.
The League of American Bicycles advocates communities become more bike-friendly, offering multiple steps to encourage cycling. Flusche said constructing streets accommodating cyclists and setting lower speed limits are key. He also recommends outreach efforts and involvement of public officials to raise the profile of cycling.
Alternative Means of Transportation Map
Governing compiled 2010 American Community Survey estimates for means of transportation to work for more than 400 U.S. cities, towns and other census-designated places.
Larger icons represent higher total percentages of workers who either walk, bike, use public transportation or another alternate means of commuting to work.
View Map here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Help make the Rail Trail a real Trail - Across Vermont!

Introducing the LVRT

While the old Lamoille Valley Rail Road is now just a part of Vermont history, its footprint is a very exciting part of the state’s future. The railway served as a vital east-west transportation corridor from 1877 till its closing in 1994. By the new millennium, after an extensive review process, the state determined that a proposal from VAST to convert the railway into a 4-season recreational trail was the best use of this important asset – and the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail was born. Currently a partnership of VTrans and VAST, managed by the LVRTC, is focused on the trail’s rehabilitation and realization.
Watch the video at
When completed, the new LVRT will be an unparalleled experience, spanning the breadth of Vermont from St. Johnsbury to Swanton, and crossing eighteen communities along the route. Nearly 100 miles long, the LVRT will be the longest rail trail in New England, offering spectacular vistas and local hospitality and services for hikers, bikers, equestrians, snowmobilers, snowshoers, dog mushers and cross-country skiers and a host of other users and organizations.
*This website is just a precursor to the experience you’ll find when the trail is completed. Currently, the Trail Guide features only the two short sections of trail that have been completed to date. We encourage you to visit these sections and get a sense of what the LVRT will be like, hopefully in the near future. At that time, among many other things, the site will feature an Adventure Planner that will detail lodging, dining, shops and services that will help you to plan your East-West Adventure right on the site.

Help us Make the Rail Trail a Real Trail

In addition to its recreational and cultural value, the LVRT has very real economic implications for Vermont and the communities along the trail. The year-round influx of visitors using the trail for single and multi-day recreation promises to be a long term boon to tourism. And the estimated two year construction of the LVRT will bring a welcome boost to the regional economy in the near term. Unfortunately, despite over 12 years of planning, development and review, and the tireless efforts of so many volunteers; the LVRT has been put on hold, and its future is at risk.
After a lengthy process, the LVRT had cleared its final regulatory hurdle and construction was about to begin in the spring of 2010. But a last minute legal appeal seeking to overturn the trail’s Act 250 exemption has halted the project and forced the committee to file an Act 250 application.
What can you do to help? Get on the phone, send an email or write a letter to your local and state representatives and tell them you want the rail trail to become a real trail! Let them know that you support this important project and ask them to be vocal in their support. You can also write letters to the editor of your local and regional newspapers. In the best Vermont tradition, the LVRT project is supported by a coalition that spans a wide spectrum of pursuits and interests. It’s an historic, economic and recreational asset for all Vermonters, and we need your support to make it rail.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Way To Go VT - Commuter Challenge is coming back May 14-18 - Sign up now


Vermonters are putting a dent in carbon pollution during the weeklong 
Way To Go! Commuter Challenge. Last year we reduced over 350,000 
pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. So sign up and help us achieve 
our statewide goal of 500K lbs of CO2 emissions savings!   Leave your 
car at home and join the fun. Individuals, businesses, schools, organizations
 - everyone is welcome. Last year we walked, biked, carpooled and rode 
the bus all the way to our goal. Join us for this year's commuter challenge 
and enjoy the benefits. It's healthy, fun and saves serious money and gas. 
Plus you'll be entered to win this years great prizes. Win a Burton
 snowboard, an ipod or go all the way and win the prestigious 
CARBON CUP! So let's GO. Together we can make a big impact 
on carbon pollution 

Authority seeks Burlington transit mall site

From Burlington Free Press

Aerial view from southwest shows an architectural rendering of a  transit mall  and bus terminal on St. Paul Street between Pearl and Cherry streets. The site is one of nine under consideration by the Chittenden County Transportation Authority.
A proposed “transit mall” on St. Paul Street between Pearl and Cherry streets in Burlington has emerged as a favored replacement for the downtown bus terminal, officials say.

An enclosed structure, sited within the short stretch of roadway, is a “quite promising” option among a list of nine possible sites, Chittenden County Transportation Authority Assistant GeneralManager Aaron Frank said Thursday.

The site has drawn support in part because it would not take property off the city’s tax rolls, as would some of the alternative locations.

“It would use public space for a public purpose,” Frank said.

Furthermore, that stretch of St. Paul Street hardly qualifies as a crowded thoroughfare — it T-bones into Cherry and Pearl — “It’s a short segment that doesn’t connect with any longer segments,” he said.

Frank emphasized that the search remains open, and will remain open to public input until June, when the CCTA board is expected to announce its choice.

The public can join the proceedings May 8 at back-to-back meetings. The first, a meeting of the CCTA Transit Center Advisory Committee, takes place at 3:30 p.m. at Fletcher Free Library. It will be followed at 6 p.m. with a forum hosted by the committee at Contois Auditorium.

The CCTA website documents dozens of previous informational and deliberative meetings. A funding source, secure through the summer, has quickened the vetting process for a final site.

Frank estimates the project’s cost at $9.8 million, of which 83 percent has been secured through Federal Transit Administration grants; the remainder from a combination of state and local funding.

Is bigger better?

The downtown transit center is a separate project from another transportation-related project in the works — the park-and-shuttle facility proposed at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in South Burlington.

While both aim to reduce regional congestion, the downtown Burlington terminal is designed exclusively for CCTA buses.

A replacement to the open-air terminal on Cherry Street, which opened in 1981, has been under discussion for many years.

Ridership on the CCTA has increased by more than 60 percent since 1985, Frank said. That boom came at a cost. Chief among them is the buses’ interruption to pedestrian traffic at Church and Cherry Street streets.

The current search retains much of the original, underlying premise: To be successful in reducing regional car trips and congestion, a transit hub must be located within a critical mass of jobs, shops, homes and other attractions, all within walking distance of a bus stop.

What about cars?

In studies by Boston-based consultants Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, each of the nine finalists for the new terminal exhibits downsides.

Building a transit mall on northern St. Paul Street would result in the net loss of 19 parking spaces, for instance.

That loss shouldn’t discourage proponents of the site, wrote Burlington Director of Planning and Zoning David E. White in an April 2 letter to the city’s Public Works Commission.

“Given that current on-street parking in this part of the downtown is operating at only 41-57% occupancy, we see no negative impacts associated with a potential net loss of on-street parking associated with several of the proposals,” White wrote.

White’s assessment resonates in the business community.

The trade-off in parking spots at St. Paul Street is “well worth the sacrifice,” states a letter written Wednesday from the Church Street Marketplace Commission to the Public Works Commission.

Late last month, Marketplace Commission Chairman Jeff Nick wrote a letter of endorsement for the St. Paul Street plan, stating that it “represents a good balance between the use of public space and supporting the essential public service that CCTA bus service represents.”

CCTA board of directors approval for that site — or any of the nine finalists — will constitute a major step in a long process.

It won’t be the last one, cautioned Public Works Director Steve Goodkind in an email Thursday afternoon.

“There are a number of issues that need to be resolved such as traffic impacts and impacts on neighbors,” he wrote.

More information about the proposed downtown transit center can be found at the CCTA website:

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 660-1843 orjoelbaird@burlingtonfreepress.comRead his blog at and follow him on Twitter