Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Settlement Reached, with Champlain Parkway appellant, Project inches closer

From BBA

Burlington Free Press - The Champlain Parkway project has taken another big step toward becoming a reality.
The city of Burlington has crafted a settlement with a persistent critic of the proposed Champlain Parkway, removing an obstacle to the much-delayed connector between Interstate 189 and downtown Burlington.
Allan Hunt, a neighborhood activist who appealed the Parkway construction permit in state Environmental Court, agreed to drop his opposition in exchange for the city’s promise to try to reduce the impact of new traffic dumping onto the lower Maple and King Street neighborhood where he lives.
“I am very pleased with this settlement,” Hunt said in a statement issued Tuesday by City Hall. “The Mayor and his team deserve a great deal of credit for finding meaningful ways to mitigate the impacts of the Parkway on our neighborhood.”
The deal was finalized Monday and calls for the city to sponsor a proposal to remove Maple Street as a designated truck route within 90 days of when the Parkway is constructed and opened to traffic.
The city also would improve sidewalks, crosswalks and flashing beacons in the corridor and use standard red-brick crosswalk designs at the intersection of Maple and Pine streets and King and Pine streets.
The city also agreed “in concept” to signs from I-189 that might not direct drivers to downtown via the new route. “When the Champlain Parkway signage plans are being developed in detail, the City will indicate to VTrans that the City supports I-189 westbound way-finding signs for the Parkway and Shelburne Street exits that are silent as to ‘downtown,’” the agreement reads.
The city would commit to a neighborhood enhancement program for the Maple and King street area upon receipt of a petition from at least 100 residents.
Hunt, who lives on Maple Street, agreed to drop his appeal of the state environmental Act 250 permit and drop any opposition to the Parkway’s going forward.
The Parkway would connect an orphaned dead-end section of highway that has sat idle for decades as the project hit environmental issues, funding problems and opposition from neighbors who said it would just move traffic rather than reduce it.
The road is designed to better connect the interstate at the southern gateway to downtown Burlington. The new road would run from I-189 to Lakeside Avenue, then to an improved Pine Street corridor and on to Main Street in downtown, running past Maple and King, among other intersecting streets.
New sidewalks, a shared-use path on the west side of Pine and new lighting and street trees are part of the project.
“This settlement is another major step toward building the long-delayed Champlain Parkway,” Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said in a statement. “I would like to thank Allan Hunt for his efforts working with our City team to craft an amicable resolution that advances sound urban development and livable city principles to guide the future of his neighborhood.”
There’s no construction date on the Parkway because other appeals are pending, said Chris Cole, director of policy, planning and intermodal development at the Vermont Agency of Transportation. The appeals will not stop the Parkway, he predicted. “If they were successful in the appeals they would only require changes in the project, not stopping the project.”

Sunday, November 17, 2013

German town abolishes traffic lights and codes. Accidents are now almost non-existent!

In this fascinating public experiment, a German town wanted to see what would happen to traffic flow if they got rid of street signs, lights and other restrictions.  The results are intuitive, but not what you would expect!  Everything got safer and faster.  Would this model hold true for other areas of infrastructure?  Drivers must give way to the left and not drive too fast.  That's the only rule.  Even the police love the new system, and best of all, people are safer on the road.  Drivers are much more aware and use eye contact and instincts.  People WANT to stop for other people and help things move more efficiently. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Williston Invests in Walking & Biking

From Local Motion

There is a whole lot of great work going on across our region to make walking and biking the easy choice for all Vermonters. Burlington is rebuilding the lakeshore bike path.  South Burlington is adding miles of bike lanes every year.  Shelburne is building new trails to connect neighborhoods to the village.  And Williston is extending and closing gaps in an already-extensive network of sidewalks and paths.
With support and encouragement from nearly two dozen walking and biking advocates who turned out for a public meeting in October, the Williston Selectboard has endorsed or is actively considering an impressive slate of walk-bike projects, including:
  • Wide shoulders and/or a path along the length of Mountain View Road
  • Projects to close gaps in the sidewalk and path network in Tafts Corners
  • A shared-use path along Route 2 from Tafts Corners to Williston Village
These projects are part of a remarkably balanced and forward-looking set of transportation improvements that are being funded in lieu of the Circ, a long-planned but now cancelled beltline highway around the Burlington metro area.  Hats off to the Town of Williston, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commision, and VTrans for investing in a transportation system that gives people more options for how they get around!
If this is the kind of future you want, send a note of appreciation to Ken Belliveau, the Williston Town Planner, at    

Monday, November 4, 2013

Turns out: More people on foot and bikes are good for business

"The work of a transport commissioner isn't just about stop signs and traffic signals," explains Janette Sadik-Khan, who was appointed to that role in New York City in 2007. In this funny and thought-provoking talk, she details the thinking behind successful initiatives to reshape street life in the 5 boroughs, including the addition of pedestrian zones in Times Square and the arrival of Citi Bikes. Watch for the special cameo at the end of the talk.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more.
Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at

Follow TED news on Twitter:
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bike path public meeting 10/30 - 6pm

The Bicycle Advisory Committee would like you to know that  tomorrow (10/30) at 6:00 in the City Council Chambers there will be a public forum to present the preliminary plans for the Montpelier Bike Path that will extend the current path from Granite Street to Gallison Hill Road. Dubois & King, the design engineers, will be on hand to review the plans in full.  Preliminary drawing will also be posted so you can see the ideas as of today.  The city is looking for public input on this preliminary plan.

The forum will open at 6:00 with an opportunity for participants to walk around, view the plans, and talk to the designers.  The speaking program will start at about 6:15 with an introduction by the Mayor and then a full presentation by the design engineers and public comment. 

We would love to see you all there, and any help spreading the word on this is appreciated.   There is a notice for this event on the city's website:

For more info, contact Jessie Baker, Assistant City Manager,  (802) 262-6250, email

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Montpelier has been designated bronze level bike friendly city!

From the Times Argus

bike lane metro net.JPG
MONTPELIER — The Capital City has been designated a bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists.

The city has been recognized with the “bronze level” achievement after an application was submitted by the city’s bicycle advisory committee. The award recognizes Montpelier’s commitment to improving conditions for bicycling through investments in education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies. Montpelier joins Burlington as the only Vermont cities to be recognized for such a distinction.

Mayor John Hollar and city officials joined a group of cyclists in front of City Hall for a ceremony Tuesday, which was followed by a parade of cyclists pedaling down State Street and finishing at the high school.

One of the City Council’s goals is for Montpelier to become “a nationally known bike- and pedestrian-friendly city,” according to a statement from the city. Since setting that goal, Montpelier has hosted a bike summit, formed a bicycle advisory committee and secured funding to develop a bicycle master plan. Designs are being finalized to extend the bike path from one end of Montpelier to the other, and bike lanes are being marked as city streets are repaved.

"Urban Dreams" - Great things being planned for Montpelier

From the
In the following interviews, The Bridge asked a range of people—architects, planners, artists and others—to describe Montpelier as it is today, then to look beyond the present moment and share their dreams of what Vermont’s capital city could one day become.
compiled by Amy Brooks Thornton and Nat Frothingham
Top left: The City-State Commission Master Plan of 2005 adds density, relocates cars away from the river, provides garages and new parking, integrates pedestrian and bike friendly pathways, and creates riverfront parks. It won awards from the Vermont chapters of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Vermont Planners Association. See legend. Images courtesy of ORW Landscape Architects and Planners, and GBArchitecture.
Top left: The City-State Commission Master Plan of 2005 adds density, relocates cars away from the river, provides garages and new parking, integrates pedestrian and bike friendly pathways, and creates riverfront parks. It won awards from the Vermont chapters of the American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Vermont Planners Association. See legend. Images courtesy of ORW Landscape Architects and Planners, and GBArchitecture.
Irene Facciolo architect, and former member
of Montpelier Planning Commission

Irene Facciolo would like to “close State Street from Elm Street to Main Street” at least once a week to create “an eddy in the center of town. “The town is lacking a quiet center,” she said.
If State Street were closed Saturdays, she’d like to bring the farmers’ market even more into the center of town, onto the street. It’s such a vibrant experience and so well attended, she argues, it should be celebrated even more.
Facciolo is concerned about the intersection of Barre and Main streets, which she believes is only going to become more congested with the inevitable increase of development on Barre Street. She suggests taking down the beverage store and creating a road going over the bridge behind the beverage store. This would also remove traffic from the center of town.
If she were to think big, Facciolo would “bring the train back into the center of town” and put the train station back close to where it was, near Sarducci’s. “What people love about this town is that it’s walkable” Facciolo said. “The more transportation options downtown the better.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Williston Bike-Ped Facilities Improvements public meeting

Local Motion
Would you like biking to be easier, safer, and more fun in Williston? You now have an opportunity to cast your vote for dramatic improvements to bike paths and lanes community-wide. Tomorrow -- Thursday at 6 PM -- is your chance! The Town of Williston is advancing three major projects to improve infrastructure for walking and (especially) biking in town, and they need to hear from you that these projects are wanted!

WHAT: Williston Bike-Ped Facilities Improvements public meeting
WHERE: Town Hall Meeting Room, Williston
WHEN: Thursday, October 17, 6:00 PM

The meeting will focus on three major projects:

A multiuse path and wide shoulders on US 2 from Tafts Corners to Williston Village
A multiuse path and wide shoulders on Mountainview Road from VT 2A to North Williston Road
Filling gaps in the multiuse path and wide shoulders on VT 2A from US 2 to Mountainview Road

Local Motion is strongly in support of these projects and is working closely with the Town and with the Regional Planning Commission on designs for all three. We need YOU to speak up at the meeting in support of these major improvements to infrastructure for biking, thanking Williston for their leadership and asking them to do more!

So why should you make the time to be at this meeting? Three reasons:

These projects are NOT yet funded for construction. The powers that be need to hear loud and clear that bike infrastructure is a priority. There are a lot more projects on the waiting list than there is money to fund, and public support is crucial to bumping a project up the list for funding.
Plans currently call for wide shoulders -- but NOT bike lanes. The Town has committed to incorporating wider shoulders into the designs, but they have not committed (so far) to mark them as bike lanes. They need to hear that, while shoulders are great, people want the legal protections and the visibility of actual bike lanes.
Plans do not yet go the extra mile for making intersections safe for bikes. Most car-bike crashes happen at intersections or other places with cross traffic. There are many proven strategies for increasing visibility and safety for bicyclists at intersections, from bike boxes to bike signals to enhanced intersection treatments. Williston can and should be a leader in implementing these strategies in our region -- and is more likely to step up if you ask them to!

So come on out and speak up for bikes. If ever there was a time to make your voice heard, this is it.

See you there.
Jason Van Driesche
Director of Advocacy and Education
and Co-Interim Executive Director
Local Motion
1 Steele St., Burlington, VT 05401
802-861-2700 ext. 109

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bike Rally at Montpelier City Hall Will Feature Bike Announcement from Mayor

Montpelier, Vermont, October 10, 2013

Bicycle riders and community members are invited to the Montpelier City Hall plaza on Tuesday October 15 at 5:15 p.m. to hear Mayor John Hollar make an important announcement related to the city’s Bike Friendly Community efforts.  After the announcement at City Hall, there will be a community bike ride through town to Montpelier High School where The Central Vermont Food Systems Council Harvest Festival takes place from6:00 to 9:00 pm.  

The Montpelier City Council goals for 2013­-14, include Montpelier becoming “a nationally known bike and pedestrian friendly city”.  Since then a city bike summit has been held, a bicycle advisory committee has been formed, and the city has secured funding to develop a bicycle master plan.

What:  Bike rally, announcement, community bike ride

When:  Tuesday, October 15, 20135:15 p.m.

Where : the front steps of Montpelier City Hall

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bike Commuting up 10% Nationwide in 2012

From the League of American Bicyclists
UPDATED: We've updated our data list for the 70 largest U.S. cities, including share of bicycle commuters and percent change.Download it here.  
This morning, the American Community Survey (ACS) confirmed what many people have felt anecdotally: More people are commuting by bike.
According to the ACS, in 2012 about .64% of commutes are made by bicycle, which represents an almost 10% increase from 2011. This is the largest year-on-year increase since 2007-2008, showing that people are choosing to use their bicycles for transportation not just in response to economic crisis, but because bicycles are leading the way to recovery. In total, there were 864,883 bike commuters in 2012.
Since 2000, ACS data shows a 61.6% increase in bicycle commuting.
Looking at the gender breakdown, the data shows the total number of women bike commuters in 2012 grew to 236,067, which is an almost 11% increase from 2011. More broadly, women commuting by bike has grown by 58.8% since 2006. What's more, the ACS data shows that the growth in bike commuting by women is outpacing that of men. Between 2011 and 2012, the growth in bike commuting by women was 10.9%, compared to 8.4% for men. (Read our 'Women on a Roll' report for more additional data).
In the coming weeks look for more reports on what this new data tells us about commuters in large cities and the demographics of biking. Check out our other commuting data for past reports and more information on the historical trends of ACS data.
The ACS is a major data source used by communities throughout the nation to plan investments and services. These figures estimate the number of commutes that take place by all modes of transportation, and do not estimate non-commute trips. TheNational Household Transportation Survey estimates what modes of transportation are used for all trips.
Stay tuned for a full analysis and report on this new data by the first week of October.
(Photo by Alan Crawford)

Tell VT Transp. Board: Walking & Biking Count!

From Local Motion
The Vermont Transportation Board holds hearings every year to get feedback from Vermonters on how to improve our state's transportation system.  Walk-bike safety and access are high on the list of priorities for the Board.  They want to hear from you about how to make our streets and roads work better for people on foot and on bike.  

Attend a hearing and tell the Transportation Board what's on your mind.  Hearings begin October 16 and continue through mid-November at sites across the state.  Click here for a list of Transportation Board hearing dates and locations.

Want to learn more about the Board and how it is working to improve walking and biking?  Check out last year's Transportation Board report, which has a hefty section on walk-bike issues and priorities.   

Burlington Gets $500K for Safer School Crossings

From Local Motion
In a couple of years, walking and biking to school will be a whole lot safer for kids in Burlington's south end.  Burlington Public Works was awarded almost half a million dollars by the Vermont Agency of Transportation for improvements in the Five Sisters and Birchcliff neighborhoods.  Go Burlington DPW!
Here's what the project will include:
  • About 365 feet of new sidewalk on the north side of Birchcliff Parkway between Cherry Lane and Bittersweet Lane.  This will have the added benefit of slowing traffic down as it comes down the hill, as the sidewalk will replace asphalt and make the street substantially narrower.
  • Improved pedestrian crossings at Birchcliff Parkway / Cherry Lane, at Locust Street / Charlotte Street, and at Locust Street / Caroline Street.  These will likely include bump-out curbs, speed tables, and other features to shorten crossing distances and discourage speeding.
Big kudos to VTrans for putting real money into the Bike-Ped grant program.  They are making active transportation a priority, and it shows.  Let Jon Kaplan, VTrans' bike-ped coordinator, know that you support Vermont's investment in walking and biking!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rising cycling star from Vt. killed in crash

A native of Jericho and rising star in cyclocross racing has died.
Amy Dombroski, 26, was training in Belgium when she was hit by a truck.
She was part of the top 'cross racing squad in Belgium.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

International Walk to School Day, Oct. 9

Chamberlin WSB   
International Walk to School Day is around the corner! With over 50 schools signed-up, we are excited to have the largest number of Vermont schools participating ever! Here are some things to help you with your last minute planning:

All of these materials and more can be found on our website:

 We love hearing about your events! Send your pictures and stories to us or post them on our Facebook page!

Way to Go Week, Oct. 14-18 coming up!

Keep your iWalk energy and momentum going by participating in Way to Go Week Oct. 14-18. This state-wide event is an opportunity to encourage and educate your students about clean commute options. 

Even better is that this year's theme is Zombies! 

In order to prevent Zombification students are encouraged to walk, bike, scooter, skateboard, bus or carpool to school! Use this Zombie-themed poster to promote your school's event! 

Score an iPad mini, Bash Badge ski pass, or
some great outdoor gear! Zombies hate prizes.

Help us stop 250,000 lbs of carbon pollution
in one week! You can make it happen.

Join other businesses, schools, and
organizations to make a big difference.

Vermont Transportation Board seeks public input

This fall, the Vermont Transportation Board will hold six public hearings at various locations around the state for the purpose of gathering public comment about transportation-related issues that face the State of Vermont.
Working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) as well as the state's 11 Regional Planning Commissions, the Board identified six transportation topics on which it would like public input:
  • Transportation Revenues and Energy
  • Bike & Pedestrian Issues
  • The Future of Both Freight and Passenger Rail Services
  • Park & Ride Expansion
  • Roadway Safety
  • Public Transit - Intercity Service and Service for the Elderly
At each hearing, the Board will present background information regarding each topic to set the stage for discussion and comment. Following the hearings, the Board will submit a written report to both VTrans and the Vermont Legislature. The Board also will post the report on its website.
All public hearings will be held at 6:00 PM on the following dates:
  1. Oct. 16 in Springfield at the Springfield Town Hall, Third Floor Selectman's Meeting Room, 96 Main Street, Springfield, VT.
  2. Oct. 22 in Bennington at the Bennington Fire House, Second Floor Meeting Room, 130 River Street, Bennington, VT.
  3. Oct. 23 in Morristown in the Community Meeting Room at the Morrisville Town Office Building, 43 Portland Street, Morrisville, VT.
  4. Oct. 30 in Newport at the Gateway Center, 84 Fyfe Drive in Newport, VT.
  5. Nov. 14 in St. Albans at the Green Mountain Room of the LaQuinta Inn & Suites, 813 Fairfax Road, St. Albans, VT.
  6. Nov. 20 in Middlebury at the Addison County Regional Planning Commission Offices at 14 Seminary Street in Middlebury, VT.
People who cannot attend a hearing can submit written comment by visiting the Board's website at
For more information, contact the Board's Executive Secretary John Zicconi at or by calling 802-828-2942

Monday, September 16, 2013

Drunk driver hits three cyclist in the Tour de Farms

SHOREHAM, Vt. - A Shoreham man will be arraigned from his hospital bed Monday in connection with an alleged drunk driving crash that also injured three bicyclists.
The incident happened around 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Police say Brian Miller, 54, crossed the center line on Route 74 and struck a group of cyclists. They were participating in "Tour De Farm," an organized 30 mile ride.  Police say Martin Veit, a 35 year-old cyclist from Moretown suffered head and internal injuries after he went through the windshield.  A 15 year-old girl from Williamstown, Massachusetts suffered a fractured pelvis.

State Police say there was already a warrant out for Miller after he failed to appear for an unrelated DUI charge. Police say an immediate response from other riders may have saved a life.

"It was determined that there were also three doctors that were in the area, either at the Douglas Orchards behind me, or riding their bikes -- that applied immediate first aid and potentially saved the lives of the critically injured people," said Vermont State Police Trooper Justin Busby.

Martin Veit and the juvenile cyclist were both transported to Fletcher Allen for further care. The third rider received minor injuries. Miller was also hospitalized.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Take the Survey for a Statewide Walk/Bike Summit in the Spring 2014

The VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition, Local Motion, VTrans, the City of Burlington and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, will be co-sponsoring a statewide Walk/Bike Summit in the spring of 2014.  In order to plan an engaging and useful event, we're asking members of the bike/ped community in VT to take a few minutes to respond to this survey by Friday, September 13:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Route 2 in Islands: Better Shoulders, No Rumble

From LocalMotion
We've heard from a number of folks expressing concern about the Route 2 repaving project from Colchester out into the Islands.  People asked whether the shoulders would become narrower or get rumble strips as part of the project. We did some investigating, and are happy to report that the Route 2 project is being designed specifically to improve conditions for bicycling!
Here's what we learned from our contact at VTrans:
  • The road will have 11 foot lanes and 4 foot shoulders throughout
  • A portion will be paved this fall, with the remainder to be paved in the spring
  • Temporary striping will go down this fall, with the same lane widths (4'-11'-11'-4') as the permanent striping
  • Rumble strips will be installed ONLY in the  centerline, NOT on the shoulders
  • Even then, rumble strips will go in primarily where there is a history of crashes, and will specifically NOT be installed at intersections, in densely developed village/commercial areas, in areas where the speed limit is below 45 mph, or in places where there is a lot of turning traffic
Thank you, VTrans, for using bicycle-friendly design on the repaving of this key route!  If you like to bike in the Islands, send a quick note of thanks to Erik Filkorn, VTrans' public outreach manager, at   

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Amtrak Releases Results of Carry-On Bike Tests

Photo courtesy of Christopher Parker of Vermont Rail Action Network,

In July, Amtrak conducted a series of bicycle tests on its passenger trains in New York and Vermont.  The VT Bike/Ped Coalition was asked by Amtrak to recruit bicyclists to participate in tests on the Vermonter and Ethan Allen train routes.  Each volunteer bicyclist was asked to board at a particular stop with a carry-on bicycle and detrain at the next stop.  Over 40 bicyclists were recruited by the VBPC to participate in these tests.  Unfortunately, the Vermonter test took place during the hottest week of the summer.  Multiple days of extreme heat caused a heat kink in the track, which resulted in the need for a repair crew and a four-hour delay in the train schedule.  This huge delay forced many of the volunteer testers to drop out, so only a limited number of survey responses were collected on the Vermonter.

To see the summaries of what bicyclists had to say about their experiences, you can click on individual links for the Vermonter test, the Ethan Allen test, the Northeast Region test and/or the Adirondack and Niagara Falls test.  Please go to the VBPC home page and scroll down to the second item to see the Amtrak survey results.

The VBPC will be meeting with Amtrak officials in September to discuss the next steps to implement carry-on bicycle service in Vermont.  Please support the VBPC as we work to enhance train access for bicyclists by becoming a new member or by renewing your membership if it has lapsed.  Thank you.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Intersections Scoping Study for Burlington

From Burlington Bike Path
The Intersections Scoping Study involves alternatives analysis for twelve (12) at-grade roadway crossings with the Burlington Bike Path. These crossings are being examined for potential improvements to enhance user safety and wayfinding. The findings from this study will be presented in a Scoping Report with short and long term crossing improvements. Short term improvements will be implemented as soon as possible after the completion of the study whereas alignment and larger scale solutions will be recommended for incorporation in the Rehabilitation Project.
Bike Path Intersections Scoping Report

Project Objective

The objective of this project is to increase user safety and wayfinding at the crossings along the Burlington Bike Path.


Adobe PDF fileYield Sign Analysis (Adobe PDF, 0.5 MB)
At the City’s request VHB analyzed ten intersections to determine whether a yield sign may be appropriate on the path rather than a stop sign as currently exists in the locations today. Using sight distance triangles and typical cyclist speeds on the path it was determined that only a couple locations may be feasible for yield signs on the path. It is still undetermined whether or not this will be recommended as this will be further evaluated under the Bike Path Rehabilitation Project. The memorandum and PowerPoint presentation below describe this analysis in more detail.

Adobe PDF file8/20/13 Alternatives Presentation (Adobe PDF, 14.2 MB)Adobe PDF file8/20/13 Presentation Support - Board 1 (Adobe PDF, 2.2 MB)Adobe PDF file8/20/13 Presentation Support - Board 2 (Adobe PDF, 2.2 MB)Adobe PDF file8/20/13 Presentation Support - Board 3 (Adobe PDF, 2.2 MB)
Adobe PDF fileDraft Intersection Improvements Plans (Adobe PDF, 3.7 MB)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Long-awaited Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) Groundbreaking Fri July 19th 2013!

Wild blue yonder.

Construction is starting on the long-awaited Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT), a four season multi-use recreation trail.  The groundbreaking will take place on Friday, July 19 at 5 p.m. at the site of the soon to be constructed bridge on Mt Vernon Street in St. Johnsbury.  Senator Bernie Sanders, a major force behind the realization of the LVRT has been invited, as well as many other dignitaries who see this rail trail as an economic and recreational engine for the area. The public is urged to attend this celebratory event and see how enthusiasm, patience and hard work has made the trail a reality.
                  The LVRT is a partnership of VTrans and the Vermont Association of Snow Traveler (VAST).  The LVRT will eventually cross the state of Vermont, over 90 miles, from St. Johnsbury to Swanton.   After a lengthy process, VAST received an Act 250 permit for phase 1 of the 3 phased project and is now poised to begin the construction phase.  Once complete, the LVRT will be the longest rail trail in New England.
Construction on Phase 1a, approximately 13.5 miles from St. Johnsbury to W. Danville, will begin this summer with the building of the bridges on Mt Vernon Street and the over the “Cahoon washout” in Danville.  Blow and Cote, Inc. from Morrisville, VT was awarded the contract for the Phase 1a bridges. Dufresne Group will serve as inspectors on the job.
The public is invited to come see what’s happening, what’s planned and to learn the  benefits from this trail, as well as how to help make it a truly first class recreation facility.
 There is limited parking on Mt. Vernon Street, as well as parking at the Park and Ride on Rt 2 and the vacant lot across from the Fairbanks Motor inn. Parking is also available at the Three Rivers Recreation Path trailhead off of South Main St in St. Johnsbury, reaching the site of the groundbreaking by walking one mile along the Three Rivers Path.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

SDOT makes guerrilla-installed protected bike lane permanent

Remember when an anonymous bike safety group calling themselves “Reasonably Polite Seattleites” installed a series of plastic pylons on Cherry Street to demonstrate how easy it would be for the city to turn a regular bike lane into a protected one?
Well, the city took their advice and not only reinstalled a more resilient style of reflective pylons, but also extended the bike lane to connect downtown to First Hill via 7th Ave and Marion:
To recap, the anonymous group installed the pylons under the cover of night this spring. They then sent an email to Seattle Bike Blog and SDOT explaining why they did it and pointing out the fact that they used a simple adhesive to make them easy to remove should SDOT choose to do so.
In many other cities, such acts are met with scorn and threats of legal action from city officials. But Seattle’s Traffic Engineer Dongho Chang did not. Instead, he wrote an equally polite email back apologizing for the fact that they needed to remove the pylons, but thanking the group for making a statement about road safety.
Well, now Chang and the city have gone a step further. They have installed permenent pylons with safe clearance space for bike handlebars and extra buffer space on the roadway. They also completed a safer connection to First Hill by installing a bike lane on 7th Ave between Cherry St and Marion, which is a signed bike route across First Hill that will soon connect to the Broadway Bikeway when it is completed.
Here’s Chang’s email to the group and Seattle Bike Blog:
Hello reasonably polite Seattleites,
I have good news to share.  SDOT worked with WSDOT to reinstall your thoughtful protector treatment on Cherry Street.  SDOT and WSDOT agreed to monitor the installation to determine if additional changes need to be made.  We also took this unique opportunity to make additional improvements.  We installed a two stage left turn box on 7th Avenue for left turning bicycle riders who may not feel comfortable riding with car traffic, new bicycle lanes on 7th Avenue between Cherry and Marion, and bicycle lane on Marion Street between 7th and 8th Avenue.  Additional information on the two stage left turn box can be found at:  Thank you, again, for your suggestion.
Now THAT is how you respond to guerrilla road safety activists! Tacoma, are you taking notes?
Here’s the city’s full fact sheet:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Randonneurs Are In It For The Ride, Not The Race

From NPR
Michael Bingle of Vancouver, Wash., rides through Grand Ronde, Ore., during a 400-kilometer randonnée in May.

For many of us, a single cycling event — the Tour de France — defines athleticism on two wheels. The epic race was first organized by a French newspaper editor named Henri Desgrange in 1903. But Desgrange also had a hand in the creation of a very different style of cycling: the randonnée, a long distance-ride that prizes camaraderie and self-sufficiency over flat-out speed.
There's no direct translation for randonnée (pronounced ran-don-NAY) — it can mean a long outing or trip, or a ramble in the countryside. For its practitioners, called randonneurs, it's easier to define the event by what it isn't: a race. There are time limits, which means riders can't go too slowly — but they also can't go too quickly.
I speak to cyclist Michael Wolfe during a 400-kilometer randonnée that loops from a town south of Portland, Ore., out to the coast and back. He's in the lead, but he slows down so I can ride beside him. He's on a recumbent — sitting low to the ground, pedaling with his legs out in front of him — so he even offers to hold my recorder. Definitely not a race.
Today's ride started, without fanfare, at 4 a.m. At this point it's 7:30, and Wolfe has already covered his first 100 kilometers, or 62 miles. He's fast — but he says racing turns him into a nervous wreck. And that's why he likes randonneuring.
"I think at its heart it is very cooperative," Wolfe says. "Although, when it comes down to it, you are alone on the course. It's like life in that way. It's a sort of shared struggle. And somebody else doing well does not diminish your own accomplishment, you know?"
Jan Heine, editor of Bicycle Quarterly, a Seattle-based magazine about the history, technology and culture of biking, says a German friend once defined randonneuring as "the search for the complete cyclist."
Heine says that in randonneuring, you have to be prepared for anything. "It's not like in racing, where it starts raining and somebody hands you a jacket out of a car window," he says.
Riders carry everything themselves: tools, food, lights — and if they get support anywhere but the official checkpoints, they're disqualified. This may sound like hell on two wheels, but the challenge was what tantalized the first randonneurs.
At the turn of the 20th century there were riders from two camps in cycling culture. The French camp was led by a healthy-living guru nicknamed Vélocio who touted the benefits of long-distance rides, fresh air and vegetarianism. In Italy, a style of group riding called Audax — Latin for audacious — became popular and was later imported to France by Henri Desgrange. Both styles attracted amateur cyclists, cyclo-tourists, as they were called, who did not get along with professional racers.
"There was a lot of animosity in France, actually, between the tourists and the racers," Heine explains. "Because the tourists said, 'We are going in the mountains, and we are a participatory sport.' " Participatory meaning that women could ride alongside men — and people could ride basically whatever they wanted. This drove innovations in bicycle technology that today are widespread: If you've ever ridden a bike with a derailleur, thank the randonneurs.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the racers and the randonneurs was socioeconomic. Racing was a working-class sport — prize money was a way out of the coal mines or factories. "You don't have the liberty to say, 'Well, the other guy deserves to win' if your living depends on it," Heine says.
Randonneuring was more of a refined hobby. "If you're doing this for fun, suddenly the distinction between winner and second becomes meaningless," says Heine.
The pinnacle of randonneuring today is a ride called Paris-Brest-Paris. (You can probably guess the route.) It's held every four years: 1,200 kilometers in 90 hours, nonstop.
Americans can participate by completing a series of qualifying rides here, called brevets, organized by Randonneurs USA. "It's maybe the best time you'll ever have on a bike, but a lot of people don't want to make that trip to France," says Randonneurs USA President Michael Dayton.
Hence the 1,200Ks now held here in the U.S. — there are seven scheduled for this season.Randonneurs USA has 3,200 members this year, up 260 percent from a decade ago. Dayton says there are clubs popping up in almost every state, and manufacturers have started to sell bikes and equipment specific to the sport.
"You know, when the industry sits up and takes notice, you can tell something's happening," Dayton says.
At mile 168 of the Oregon ride, Lesli Larson and Michal Young, both from Eugene, cruise on an empty road in Kings Valley. Mount Hood, glowing white, anchors the far horizon. The ride has been nothing but sun, and Larson is pleased.
"Usually we sort of do this under rainy conditions, hovering in Safeways and getting hypothermia at mile 100," Larson says.
Then again, it seems like these two would be having a good time no matter what.
"Who could carry stress with them for 200-plus miles?" Young asks. "You just have to leave it behind."
And with that, they ride around the next bend.