Thursday, June 28, 2012

Commuter Challenge Video Burlington VT

View Video HERE

Commuter Challenge
Reporters Joel Banner Baird, Matt Sutkoski and Tim Johnson face off in a lively commuter challenge traveling from the Burlington Free Press to the University Mall during rush hour by bus, truck and bike, respectively. Produced by Emily McManamy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Looking for a sign on Vermont roads

From the Burlington Free Press
Cars take a blind turn on Vermont 12 north of Montpelier.

Heading north from Montpelier on Vermont 12, particularly after dark, it’s easy to get lost.
For the next 20 miles, the state’s Agency of Transportation has installed only one route marker. From Montpelier to Worcester, a distance of 7.2 miles, there are none. From Worcester, it’s an­other 12.8 miles until an age-dimmed sign appears: “North, Vermont 12.”
At Morrisville, a few miles farther north, a driver coming from the south on Vermont 12 is given no direction to Ver­mont 15, which cuts through town east to west (drivers from the north do have a sign).
The Transportation Agency, with its own culture of highway safety, informational signage and markings, provides inconsis­tent guidance to drivers traveling the 3,200 miles of Vermont’s two-lane state high­ways.
Two road inspections by the Burlington Free Press in late May of nearly 350 miles of state highways (not including Interstate 89) in north-central and northwest Vermont demonstrated that markings the Federal Highways Administration’s rule book, the massive Manual on Uniform Traffic Con­trol Devices, calls “essential” frequently are absent or rare on Vermont’s highways.
The manual, usually referred to as the MUTCD, sets minimum national standards for traffic-control devices.
The tours showed that painted road markings, the crucial center line (yellow) and edge lines (white) are badly worn by winter plowing, and that edge lines, partic­ularly, often were dim even in daytime.
For mile after mile on Vermont’s wind­ing mountain roads, curves are rarely warned; road shoulders are unreliable and disappear without warning; guard rails are unpredictably placed, with many fall-offs unwarned; and even speed signs, which pro­vide drivers with safety guidance, general­ly disappear beyond village limits.
In a state that depends on tourism for much of its income, the Transportation Agency typically does not provide signs that name rivers and streams state roads cross, and in some cases does not even name villages.
The agency’s director of project devel­opment, Rich Tetreault, responding to the Free Press findings, said sign placement is an issue the agency takes “very seriously.” “In terms of highway signage,” Tetreault said in a written response to Free Press questions, “VTrans follows the guidance of the MUTCD and state law. … All signage, in­cluding regulatory and warning signage … is carefully reviewed, designed and in­stalled on our highways.”

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vermont Statewide Bicycle Map available NOW!

From the VBPC

Thanks to many hours of hard work by volunteer project coordinator Lou Bresee, graphic design skills contributed by students from Champlain College and the cooperation of the state's Department of Tourism & Marketing, a long-awaited statewide bicycle map (in print form) is now reality.  The map is entitled "Vermont Bikeways:  The Vermont State Roads & Trails Bike Map."  You can obtain bulk copies of this free map by contacting   Single copies can be requested via  By the middle of this week, copies of the map should be available for pick up at the state's Info Centers.

The VBPC is grateful to Megan Smith, Commissioner of the Department of Tourism & Marketing, for the Department's contributions to this project, particularly the costs associated with printing and distribution.  Greg Gerdel and David Burnell (also from Tourism) played key roles in getting the map completed.  Thanks, too, to David Lustgarden for involving Champlain's students in this real world experience and to the volunteer bicyclists who recommended the best roads in their regions of the state.

Please note that this map is viewed as a first edition in what we anticipate will be an ever-improving series of maps.  You may wonder why certain roads were designated as bike routes and other roads were not.  Sometimes it was a result of the input we received from bicyclists who live in the area and who were asked to supply recommendations.  Space limitations played a role in certain omissions.  There were numerous other factors at play, as well.  Most important to note is the opportunity for you to supply feedback for the next edition of this map.  Please help us make future maps more accurate, more complete, and better in every way.  After reviewing the map, go to and record your thoughts.  Your suggestions will be studied in preparation for the next edition.

In the meantime, please use this new map to explore more of Vermont--safely by bike.  Thank you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Advocacy Alert: Support local control over biking, walking projects

From Bicycle Times

Left to right: Angela Fox (Crystal City BID), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Andy Clarke (League of American Bicyclists) (Photo by Chris Eichler - America Bikes)
More than 70 national organizations, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors and American Heart Association, have united to urge members of Congress to preserve local control over biking and walking projects in the federal transportation bill.
In a new sign-on letter to transportation bill conferees, the diverse coalition — representing millions of Americans — asked members of Congress to preserve the Cardin-Cochran agreement, a bipartisan compromise that would allow local governments and school systems to access a small amount of federal transportation funds for projects like sidewalks, bikeways and other small–scale transportation projects.
While members of Congress may be debating the issue, Americans outside the beltway overwhelming support these popular projects. A Princeton survey recently found that 83 percent of Americans want Congress to increase or maintain federal funding for sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways, including 80 percent of surveyed Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats.
“This letter and the March 2012 polling data show broad support for federal funding for biking and walking across the country,” said Caron Whitaker, campaign director of America Bikes. “The Cardin-Cochran amendment gives communities the ability to apply for limited federal funds for small-scale, local transportation projects that help make downtowns economically competitive, improve street safety, and encourage healthy and active transportation. Americans clearly want this small, but vital, investment in biking and walking to continue."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Walk / Bike Funding in Jeopardy. Again.

From LocalMotion

CapitolAct Now to Save Safe Routes to School, Bicycling and Walking Funds
It’s come down a fight for local control. Negotiations on the federal transportation bill are at a critical point and twenty years of gains on bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School are at risk.
Cities and counties all over the country need transportation funding to build sidewalks and bike paths to make streets safer, get local economies moving, and encourage active living. The Senate heard from you how important this was and acted accordingly. But the House is again proposing to eliminate local access to these federal funds.
Will you ask your members of Congress to protect local access to funds for Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking projects?
Selected members of the House and Senate are negotiating right now to produce a final transportation bill. The Senate’s first offer to the House included the bipartisan Cardin-Cochran agreement, which would allow local governments to access federal funds for bicycling and walking projects.
But the House continues to insist on getting rid of Safe Routes to School, bicycling and walking funding.
In their counter-offer, the House proposed allowing states to ‘opt out’ of this funding pot completely, eliminating the Cardin-Cochran agreement, and taking away local governments’ ability to access federal funds for small transportation projects.
Local elected officials across the country want and need federal funding to build sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks. If the House of Representatives gets its way, Vermont won’t have access to funds to build Safe Routes to School improvements that make streets safer for all of us.
We can’t let Congress eliminate local control. Please contact Rep. Peter Welch, Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Bernie Sanders today and ask them to rethink the House’s offer and save the Cardin-Cochran agreement!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

'Green lanes' mean 'go' for more cities' cyclists

From Burlington Free Press
A man pedals a BIXI (bike-share) bicycle in a car-free lane on Rue Rachel in Montreal in this 2010 file photo. Bike-friendly infrastructure is credited with popularizing BIXI.

To boost transit options, U.S. cities are revving up plans for something that’s long been popular in Europe — bike lanes protected from traffic.
Separated by curbs, planters, posts or parked cars, these “green lanes” are tak­ing off in — among other cities — Austin, Chicago, Memphis, San Francisco, Port­land, Ore., and Washington, D.C.
“We are seeing an explosion of inter­est in making bicycling stress-free on busy city streets,” says Martha Roskow­ski of Bikes Belong Foundation, a non­profit touting the paths via its Green Lane Project. She says U.S. cities have had standard bike lanes for decades, but many riders don’t see them as safe enough.
Burlington is among communities that have been adding bike lanes, part of a push to promote more two-wheeled transportation in a city where traffic congestion is common.
“We’re promoting a more active life­style,” says Federal Highway Adminis­trator Victor Mendez, adding many green lanes are receiving federal funds. In Chicago on Thursday, he joined of­ficials from several cities to spotlight ef­forts:
» Texas’ Austin, which installed or up­graded 20 to 30 miles of bike lanes in each of the past four years, plans 50 miles this year.
» Memphis, dubbed one of the worst cities for riding by Bicycling magazine in 2008, finished 25 miles of on-street bike trails last year and plans 30 more miles -- some of them green lanes -- this year.
» Portland, Ore., has built 5 miles of protected bikeways since 2009 and is now working on 4 more miles.
» Chicago, which installed its first protected bike lane last spring on Kinzie Street, has budgeted $40 million to build 100 miles of green lanes by May 2015.
In New York City, some green lanes have drawn opposition, because they cut space for driving and parking.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Update 6/1/12: Vermont still leading National Bike Challenge

Last checked, Vermont is still leading the National Bike Challenge. Nebraska took second place from Wisconsin.
The problem is still that Vermont has too many people signed up, per capita, compared to other - bigger - states. I suppose part of the 'challenge' is to get people signed up in the first place, so Way to Go Vermont! A deserved first place in that, for sure.

Check for Updates and more Results HERE.