Friday, March 22, 2013

City of Montpelier to establish a Pedestrian Committee

From the City of Montpelier

The Montpelier City Council will establish a standing Pedestrian Committee of up to seven people to advise the Council on all matters relating to pedestrian access and safety. This will include a) receiving concerns and suggestions; b) monitoring pedestrian infrastructure, especially sidewalks; c) researching and collecting information about pedestrian-related matters; d) promoting City Council’s goal to “become a nationally known bike and pedestrian friendly city”; e) encouraging people to walk in Montpelier for transit and recreation; f) representing pedestrians when the use of streets is being determined; and g) assisting in the creation of a pedestrian plan/complete streets plan if determined to be helpful for Montpelier. The Committee will meet on a schedule established by the members but so that decisions on key issues can be made in a timely manner. All recommendations of the Committee will be advisory and will be provided to City Council for final action. Other city officials will participate as needed. Letters of interest should be submitted to the City Manager’s Office, 39 Main Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05602, or via e-mail to, on or by Thursday, April 4th. City Council will make these appointments at their April 10th meeting; applicants will be notified and encouraged to attend. All municipal meetings are accessible to people with disabilities and are held in accordance with the public meeting and public records laws.

Essex Junction launches village walk-bike committee

From Local Motion

village of essex junction.png  640×500In a unanimous vote last night, the Essex Junction trustees approved a proposal to establish a permanent village walk-bike committee.  This is a big step, and it signals real commitment on the part of the trustees to make walking and biking a priority.  Congratulations, Essex Junction!
Setting up an official walk-bike advisory committee was one of the top recommendations of an in-depth walk-bike assessment that Local Motion helped Essex Junction with last year.  The assessment was led by a group of residents and local officials who came together with a grant from the Vermont Department of Health’s Building Healthy Communities program.  With support from Local Motion, the group laid out a series of ambitious goals for making Essex Junction a truly great place to walk and bike.
Kudos to the members and supporters of the committee — including Bridget Meyer, Darby Brazoski, Diana Ferguson, Lori Ernst, Rick Jones, Gabrielle Smith, and many others — for their hard work and persistence.   A great little community is about to get even better!

Request for Bids -- A bigger, better Bike Ferry!

From Local Motion
To relaunch and improved ferry service across the 200' cut in the Colchester-South Hero Causeway, Local Motion is requesting sealed bids from qualified Vendors to be accepted until 2:00pm, prevailing time on Friday, April 5, 2013 at 1 Steele Street, Suite 103, Burlington VT for a bicycle/pedestrian ferry vessel.  Bid opening will occur immediately after the bid submittal deadline.
This project includes construction and delivery of a vessel as described in the documents. The complete contract documents can be found at: or call Brian Costello (802) 316-6382.  Picture above is for illustration purposes only. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Take the Train, Vermont! (For $12)

From Amtrak

Explore Vermont onboard the Vermonter or Ethan Allen Express and a one-way ticket is just $12 when booked by December 30, 2013.
Take in all of the New England charm and scenic vistas of the Green Mountain State. $12 gets you a seat on the Vermonter within the state, and connects you to St. Albans, VT, as well as the country’s longest ski season.
Take advantage of this offer and pay just $12 for a ticket when you travel within Vermont.
Terms and Conditions
  • Valid for a $12.00 one-way rail fare for travel within the state of Vermont.
  • Valid for sale December 31, 2012 - December 30, 2013.
  • Valid for travel between January 1 - December 31, 2013.
  • Advance reservations are required a minimum of one (1) day prior to travel.
  • Blackouts apply on the following dates:
    - January 2, 2013
    - February 15 and 18, 2013
    - March 28 - 29, 2013
    - April 1, 2013
    - May 24, 2013
    - August 30, 2013
    - September 2, 2013
    - October 11, 2013
    - November 26 - 27 and 30, 2013
    - December 1, 20 - 22 and 28 - 29, 2013
  • Valid for travel on the Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express train services only.
  • Exclusive $12.00 fare is valid for all passengers; no additional discounts apply.
  • Valid for coach seats for travel within the state of Vermont only.
  • Seating is limited; seats may not be available on all trains at all times.
  • In addition to the discount restrictions, this offer is also subject to any restrictions, blackouts and refund rules that apply to the type of fare purchased.
  • Fares, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice.
  • Once travel has begun, no changes to the itinerary are permitted.
  • Not combinable with any other discount offer.
  • Other restrictions may apply.

'Safe is not always safe' and 'rude is not always rude'.

From IamTraffic

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting the challenges for encouraging bicycling in America.

Part 1: Origin & Influence of Our Stories

The stories we tell are a product of the experiences we have. Our experiences are the product of our choices and behavior. There’s a saying popular among pilots: “Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.” In bicycling, the journey to good judgment is complicated by inhibiting beliefs and social norms.

Test Your Recognition of Potential Conflict

The image below is similar to one we use in the CyclingSavvy course. It’s a participation exercise to engage students in spotting conflicts they have just learned about in a previous section on crash causes and prevention. Test yourself in Tab 1. Tab 2 shows the potential conflicts faced by the cyclist in red (practicing edge behavior). Tab 3 shows the potential conflicts faced by the cyclist in green (practicing driver behavior).
click images to enlarge
Count the conflicts faced by each of the two cyclists on the left side of the picture, then click the tabs above or below for highlighted conflicts and explanations.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Can't find Parking in Montpelier? You're not alone....

From VTDigger

Parking is a problem in Montpelier. Not only for the usual Statehouse crowd — 180 lawmakers and the 400 lobbyists and advocates who swarm the nation’s smallest state capital — but also for state employees, visitors, renters, and business owners who are trying to attract customers to their retail shops, restaurants and hotels.
State and local officials say parking has been a perennial issue in the state capital for decades, but this year things have come to a head. More people are coming to the city, in part because of the recent move of about 400 more state employees to Montpelier, and there is less room to accommodate all their vehicles.
The Department of Buildings and General Services issued a report in Januarythat shows there are about 2,600 state employees in Montpelier and about 2,000 parking spaces at the Capitol Complex and National Life, which leases office space to the Agency of Transportation and Agency of Natural Resources employees.
The state is short about 600 parking spaces for state employees at the two locations when the Legislature is not in session. During the peak Statehouse months, January through April, the total parking deficit is about 840 spaces.
On Tuesday, the Vermont State Employees Association held an hourlong hearing on the issue in the House Chamber. About 150 state workers took seats normally filled by lawmakers and listened as colleagues, business owners, the Montpelier mayor and state officials talked about how the problem has compounded.
The hearing was the culmination of an effort by the union to draw attention to Montpelier’s paucity of parking. Hundreds of state employees have weighed in on the matter.
Diane Decouteau, a supervisor at the Department of Motor Vehicles, said it’s not unusual for state workers to search “like vultures” for empty spots each morning. The difficulty of finding parking affects productivity and morale, Decouteau said.
Brian Kane, general manager of the Capitol Plaza Hotel, said the parking lot behind his building has 209 spots — all of which are full by 8:30 a.m. He doesn’t have capacity for conference and restaurant visitors, and that fact negatively impacts his ability to attract customers. Several motorcoach operators won’t come to Montpelier anymore, he said, because there are no parking spaces for tour buses in the city. About 400 a year pass through the area on the way to Morse Farm, he said, and Montpelier misses out on that business.
When a city doesn’t accommodate buses with parking spaces, he said it sends the message that “clearly we don’t want you.”
Kane said Burlington merchants demanded that that city provide parking for tour buses. There are now five spaces downtown, he said.
The first step to recovery in Kane’s view? Admission that the city has a problem. He suggested that the city and state devise a master plan to incorporate parking and transit services so that “all parties benefit.”
The city bans street parking at night in the winter season to allow road crews to clear streets of snow, and this creates a problem for renters who already have a tough time finding places to park.
State and city officials say they are working on solutions, but don’t count on a new parking garage among them.
Though a garage near the Statehouse is at the top of Mayor John Hollar’s list of solutions, neither the city, nor the state has the money to invest in a multi-million dollar facility at a time when the ultimate cost — and fate — of the Waterbury State Office Complex is still up in the air.
“I recognize this is a serious problem,” Hollar said. “You face daily hassle and stress trying to get to work on time. It also puts limits on the vitality of our city. It’s hard to shop here and go out to eat.”
Hollar said he is committed to working on the issue, and he has appointed a parking committee to address short and long term solutions. “We need to address the longterm; we need to consider building a garage,” Hollar said. But the mayor acknowledged that the state faces significant financial challenges with the state office complex over the next few years.
Michael Obuchowski, commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services, said Montpelier actually has 130 more parking spaces this year than last. In addition, the state has made a concerted effort to encourage workers to use the Department of Labor parking lot and take a short bus ride to the downtown.
The commissioner said a garage would be costly ($25,000 per parking space) and would need to be rebuilt in 15 years because of winter deterioration factors. A garage that would hold up longer, he said, would be even more expensive to build.
“The construction of a parking garage is a last choice option in my opinion,” Obuchowski said.
“We have examined a multitude of possible solutions,” he continued. “I don’t think there is one solution to the problem I think we have to employ all the ideas.”
Those ideas include encouraging state workers to walk to work, carpool and use shuttle services. The department, he said, is considering better credentialing and enforcement for parking spaces, unreserving spaces at a time certain, installing bike racks, providing incentives for state employees who use public transit or carpool.

Cyclist, bus collide in Burlington

From Burlington Free Press

A cyclist was injured when he collided with a Mountain Transit bus Tuesday morning at the intersection of Pearl and Prospect streets in Burlington, according to police.
Jason Cushner, 42, of Colchester was riding on Pearl Street, crossing Prospect Street in the crosswalk at about 6:41 a.m. Tuesday when he collided with a bus, driven by 49-year-old David Marler, as the vehicle turned onto Prospect Street, according to Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee.
“It looks like the cyclist might have been in the blind spot,” Higbee said.
Cushner was transported to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, treated and discharged.
As of Tuesday afternoon, police had not issued any traffic tickets or citations related to the crash, Higbee said.
“It remains under investigation,” he said.
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified the transit company, due to an error in a statement made by police.

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

From the Old Spokes Home

From the 1860s until the First World War is a time period historians refer to as The Fin De Siecle, which is French for, The End of the Century. Sure, it sounds like a glossed up academic term to describe, a normal change from one century to the next. But, this period was extra special, and I think deserves to be refered to in somewhat glossy terms. In Europe at this time the world changed dramatically. The Second Industrial Revolution was in full swing and this can be seen as the context for revolutions in economic, social, and gender relationships. It is at this time that Socialism, Anarchism, and, unfortuantely, fascism arose. At the same time gender roles were being tested by rebelious young women....ridng bicycles.
The Bicycle, which owes its origin to the Fin De Siecle, was a revolution in transportation. But, it was a man's hobby. Nevertheless, Women took to the wheel, as an act of defiance to Victorian-era social norms.
These "New Women", armed with fresh ideas for the way men and women coexist in society, were lampooned by male-dominated society for riding bicycles.
See, For women in this changing world, the bicycle was a transformative symbol of independence.
And, in the mid 1890's Annie Londonderry, a Jewish immigrant to the USA, became the first woman to ride a bicycle around the world
So, This International Women's Day we salute all the women of the world who are standing up for themselves, for dignity and respect in their communities and workplaces and espeically those who are doing so with the bicycle. Whether it is in the competitative arena, as mechanics and bicycle shop owners, or simply enjoying the ride through commuting and recreation. You are carrying the torch of the original "rebel girls".

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Alliance for Biking & Walking announces 2013 Advocacy Awards

From the Bicycle Times

The Alliance for Biking & Walking is the coalition of more than 200 state and local bicycle and pedestrian organizations working together to promote bicycling and walking across North America. Since 2009, the Alliance has solicited public nominations and recognized the individuals, organizations and business leaders who are propelling our People Powered Movement. This year, the Alliance has honored the following winners:

Advocacy Organization of the Year - Bike Walk Mississippi

"In a state in which previous biking and walking advocacy depended on coincidental personal interest from elected officials, Bike Walk Mississippi have ignited a movement that has commanded attention in every recent transportation-related election."
That would be high praise coming from anyone, but when a quote like that comes from the Chamber of Commerce in a state's largest city, it means just a little bit more.
"As a state with a high prevalence of obesity, Bike Walk Mississippi is making it safer and more accessible to exercise and have fun biking and walking in our community," echoed Sarah Welker from the Mississippi Economic Policy Center.  
Other highlights from the past year include receiving funding to hold their first Open Streets initiative (set for this April), advocating for the passing of the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act (which established a 3-foot minimum passing distance) and opening Jackon's first community bike shop in the Midtown neighborhood.

Advocate of the Year: Rebecca Serna, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

award goes to an individual who has shown tireless commitment to promoting bicycling and walking in his or her community.
Rebecca Serna has been Atlanta Bicycle Coalition's Executive Director for over 5 years, and a board member of Georgia Bikes. During this time she has worked with leaders and elected officials from across the region to make Atlanta a better place to bike.
The Southeast U.S. is a region that is making great strives to become more walkable and bikeable, Rebecca's work is an inspiration to those around her.
Jessica Estep, who nominated Rebecca for this award, said that Rebecca has dedicated herself to "making a city that used to be bike-unfriendly into a blossoming city for bicycles, and she does it all with an air of humility. She deserves this award more than anyone else." 

Business Advocate of the Year: Primal Wear

Primal Wear has always been known for their great cycling gear, but their recent dedication to creating better streets for biking has made the name Primal synonymous with advocacy.
Not only did Primal Wear come on as a strong sponsor of the Alliance last year, including making jackets for the 2012 Leadership Retreat, but it has been supporting local and state groups for years, including Bicycle Colorado, Bike Texas and Bike Denver.
At the national level, Primal has been a long time supporter of IMBA and Bikes Belong, and it recently revved up its efforts with the League of American Bicyclists as Titanium level sponsor of the Summit, and providing all participants with their own Primal custom jersey.

Winning Campaign of the Year: Georgia Bikes!

While many outsiders may look at the South as a region that has historically not been the most bike friendly, advocates across the region are working to change that. Nowhere was this more evident than in Georgia, where leaders from local and state biking and walking advocacy organizations worked with the state DOT to pass a Complete Streets Design Policy.
The push was led by Georgia Bikes!, which caught the attention of DOT officials during a Ride to the Capitol when the crowd started chanting "Complete the Streets!". While DOT officials thought they already had a great policy in place, the raucous advocates let them know there was more to be done, which opened up further conversations.
After countless meetings and hours of advocacy, Georgia DOT adopted a policy on September 20, 2012, that will ensure that wherever possible, road designs will properly balance the needs of all modes of transportation. And as a bonus first in the nation, Georgia became the first state to adopt the new NACTO Guide for Bikeway Facilities.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Barb Culp

Washington State has been ranked the best state for biking by the League of American Bicyclists for the past five years, and this is due in no small part to the influence and leadership of Barbara Culp. Barb has been a leader in biking advocacy for decades.
She has been executive Director of Bicycle Alliance of Washington twice, for a combined 13 years, as well as previously working for Cascade Bicycle Club as their education director and promoting bicycling and walking as commuter solutions at Seattle Children's Hospital. Her leadership has led to increased bicycle infrastructure in Washington, better education for all users of the road and increased communication between bicycle advocates and Washington DOT.
Barb also served as a board member for the Alliance and was the Vice-Chair for many of those years, where her leadership helped in the critical mission in strengthening and uniting local and state organizations.  

Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award: Renee Rivera

This award commemorates Alliance co-founder Susie Stephens, honoring her passion for biking and walking as fun and economical means of transportation.
This year, the award goes to Renee Rivera, Executive Director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. The parallels between Susie and Renee are many. Renee has tackled many challenging situations but always maintains a calm, resilient "can-do" attitude and is always a joy to work with.
"Being an Executive Director can't be an easy job, but Renee handles it with seeming ease and enthusiasm," said Dave Campbell, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition. "And she's a workhorse in handling so many aspects of our work in the East Bay, yet her positive attitude still makes everyone feel comfortable and motivated to do their best."
Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition—of which Renee previously served as interim director—agreed: "It has been wonderful to see communities throughout the SF Bay Area's East Bay become organized to be more bike-friedly, in large part thanks to Renee's strong leadership—a combination of great focus and joyful celebration of biking."

Innovation Award: Local Spokes

The Innovation Award goes to an organization that's pioneering or inventing new ways to promote biking and walking—and the Local Spokes Coalition has certainly been leading the way. Its fearless approach to creating community partnerships has created a model for cities across North America.
Comprised of nine organizations working on various issues in New York City, including Alliance members Transportation Alternatives and Recycle-A-Bicycle, Local Spokes has shown the power of starting conversations without an agenda and letting community members lead the way.
Working in New York's Lower East Side and Chinatown neighborhoods, the coalition spent several years working to "engage, understand and advocate for the community's various perspectives on cycling through multilingual outreach, public participation activities and a Youth Ambassadors program." The result was a Neighborhood Action Plan released in May of 2012, and continued resource development to aid work in other underserved communities. 

Go! Chittenden County Launch - Fri Mar 8th

From Local Motion
walking is fun
For more than a year, local, regional and state transportation partners have been working to create Go! Chittenden County, a significant partnership creating dozens of options for employers and commuters to save money, reduce their environmental footprint, and have some fun at the same time.
Now, you're invited to the launch party!
When: Friday, March 8 at 10:00am
Where: Champlain Mill Building, (My Web Grocer), Winooski Falls Way
Come celebrate with us, Congressman Welch, Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter,Winooski Mayor Mike O'Brien, CEDO Director Peter Owens, and more! We'll be giving away clip-on reflective patches and handy folding bags, and we'll have refreshments courtesy of Cupps Bakery.
In case of poor weather, we'll be across the street in the indoor bus stop.
Go! Chittenden County, a one-stop resource for information about transit, carpooling, vanpooling, car-sharing, bicycling, and walking. Learn more here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

GREAT NEWS: Cyclists Do Not Emit More Carbon Than Cars, State Legislator Admits

From NPR

Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt has apologized for saying  "the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider," after an email with a bike shop owner sparked criticism. Here, a cyclist rides in Seattle last year.Enlarge image
Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt has apologized for saying "the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider," after an email with a bike shop owner sparked criticism. Here, a cyclist rides in Seattle last year.
Elaine Thompson/APDays after angering cyclists with his contention that people who ride bikes don't help pay for roads — and stating that "the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider," Washington State Rep. Ed Orcutt has apologized for his words, and any confusion they created.Bike shop owner Dale Carlson had written to Orcutt, who's on the House Transportation Committee, to say that a proposed $25 bike tax on many models was misguided and would harm bicycle stores that must compete with Internet merchants."People who choose to ride a bicycle instead of driving a car actively reduce congestion, save wear and tear on our roads and bridges, and reduce the state labor needed to patrol our highways," Carlson wrote. "Additionally, bicyclists produce fewer emissions and reduce healthcare costs through increased physical fitness."Orcutt replied, "Since CO2 is deemed a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride." He noted that cyclists' heart rate and respiration go up significantly.Within a week, his email was posted on the Cascade Bicycle Club site. Local cycling blogspicked up the issue; so did national media.The Republican representative has now apologized for his remarks, saying that his take on cyclists' carbon emissions "was over the top" and shouldn't be part of the conversation.But while Orcutt apologized, he also reiterated his view that cyclists should help pay for the infrastructure — bike paths, etc. — that they're seeking. To that end, he said he sees merit in Democratic legislators' "proposed $25.00 tax on the purchase of any bicycle $500.00 or more."In the current legislative season, Orcutt has fought against plans to raise Washington's 37.5 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax. He has also moved to end the practice of periodically replacing car license plates, calling it "nothing more than an excuse for state government to get more money from the public."

Highlights from the National Women's Bicycling Forum

From BikePortland

After a successful debut last year, the League of American Bicyclists brought back theNational Women's Bicycling Forum. While the 2012 event consisted of just a panel discussion (albeit a great one), this year the League stepped things up. Yesterday 325 advocates —well over 90% of which were women — enjoyed an entire day of panel discussions, workshops, networking, top-notch speakers, and more. The improvements to the event, and the resources spent on it from the League, are emblematic of the organization's rising effort to "change the face of bicycling."
Below are some photos and thoughts on how it went…
Women's Bicycling Forum-24
These are not the faces the bike movement is known for. Yet.
Women's Bicycling Forum-23
From left to right: Adonia Lugo, Co-founder of City of Lights and CicLAVia and blogger atUrban Adonia; Jenna Burton, founder of Red, Bike and Green; and Megan Odette, founder ofKidical Mass DC at a panel discussion titled, "Community-based advocacy: Building the movement from the ground up."

Your Voice Needed to Pass Bike/Ped Bills

From the   VBPC
Please send an email message this week to Fran Cerulli (, the legislative staffer for the House Transportation Committee, in support of the following two bike/ped-friendly bills:  (Please "cc" your own representatives on your messages.)

H.209 and H.306

Here's the reason for this request:

H.209 is a bill which builds on the Safe Passing law of 2010.  H.209 has been introduced by main sponsor Rep. Jim McCullough after much leg work by citizen advocate Bruce Cunningham.  It mandates that a motorist pass a bicyclist (or other vulnerable roadway user) with a minimum of 3-feet clearance and with additional clearance as vehicle speed increases.  This bill will provide enhanced safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vulnerable roadway users.  Here's a link to the full text of H.209.  Click on "Original Version."

H.306 is a bill which doubles the fine for motorists who speed in the immediate vicinity of a school.  The bill calls for the monies collected from fines to be dedicated to VT's Safe Routes to School program.  Currently, fines are doubled in construction work zones.  VT's children (and all others who use roads near schools) deserve the same level of protection.  This bill has been introduced by main sponsor, Rep. Mollie Burke, at the request of the VBPC.  Here's a link to the text of H.306.  Click on "Original Version."

In other legislative matters:  Many bicyclists are expressing concern about S.136, a bill introduced on the Senate side that requires bikes to be registered.  The VBPC's recommendation is to take no action as this bill is very unlikely to advance.  Instead, please focus your time and energy on helping to get H.209 and H.306 voted out of the House Trans Committee.  That's the critical next step.  There's lots of competition and your voice is needed to demonstrate to lawmakers that Vermonters care about bike/ped safety.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Seattle gets it.

Here's an 'infographic' from the Alliance of Walking and Biking about how people in Seattle see changes in the city's infrastructure and how bikes are viewed as a mode of transportation.
Click on the image for Hi-res.