We are excited to share with you the news that Local Motion and the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition are joining forces! Interest in walking and biking is surging, and, statewide, Vermont is surpassing national trends for the number of people who choose to walk to work, and keeping pace with national trends for biking to work! It is important we keep this momentum going forward and have thus decided we can be more effective both locally and across the state by becoming one strong united organization.
Emily Boedecker, Executive Director of Local Motion and Grant Orenstein, Vermont Bike Ped Coalition Board Chair seal the deal!
"Following recent changes at the Coalition, the boards of both organizations evaluated the situation and decided to seize the opportunity to combine forces and create a single, more effective and formidable statewide organization to serve our mutual pedestrian and cycling communities," said David Ellenbogen, long-time Coalition board member. "We are confident this change promises a bright future for biking and walking throughout Vermont."
"After partnering on many initiatives over the past few years, and even sharing office space in the early years, we are excited to make it official!" said Peter Zamore, Chair of Local Motion's board of directors. "We look forward to helping more people across Vermont make their communities great places to walk and bike, and to continuing the Coalition's active voice in the Statehouse."
Local Motion and the Coalition have a long history of working together. The roots of the Coalition date back to 1991 under the Snelling administration, with a $500,000 investment in bike and pedestrian projects in Essex and Stowe. By 1994, the Coalition had officially formed as a non-profit, and in 2002 the group hired its first paid Executive Director. Nancy Schulz, hired in 2006, stepped down as Executive Director at the end of 2014 after achieving an impressive list of accomplishments, including campaigns leading to passage of the Safe Passing law of 2010 and the Drugged Driving bill of 2014, as well as the launch of the highly popular Tour de Farms in Addison County.
Local Motion was founded in 1999 with the goal of galvanizing community support to restore and extend a recreational path along the Island Line, a former rail line that began in Burlington, and, passing through Colchester and the Islands, ran 41 miles to the Canadian border. Today, riders and walkers can take this award-winning trail up into the Lake Champlain Islands via Local Motion's seasonal bike ferry service, which carried over 12,000 bikers and walkers last year across the 200-foot gap in the three-and-a-half mile causeway between Colchester and South Hero.
Since 2008, Local Motion has been expanding its work with schools and communities across Vermont to help them become great places to walk and bike. Local Motion runs "Kohls Kids Bike Smart" youth bike skills training program, which reached more than 5,000 students in 23 towns in 2014. The organization also offers free adult and family biking workshops, with more than 650 participants to date in communities across Vermont.
Local Motion works closely with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to help communities make their streets safe for everyone. The organization is already working in Brattleboro and Newport, and will expand to three other communities next year. A new training class is also in development with the Vermont Police Academy to improve knowledge and enforcement of laws for all road users.
"From the point of view of VTrans, the merger between Local Motion and the Vermont Bike and Pedestrian Coalition makes perfect sense, and it is very exciting to see the statewide advocacy organization and a very successful regional organization joining forces," commented Chris Cole, VTrans Deputy Secretary. "Local Motion has been a great regional partner for VTrans and we look forward to continuing to grow this partnership statewide. We share the goal of improving the bicycle and pedestrian experience for all Vermonters and for those that visit our State."
In addition, Local Motion has been working closely with VTrans and transportation consultants RSG and Alta Planning+Design on a new initiative to map priority bicycle corridors on state roads across Vermont, and to reach out to people who currently bike and those who would like to. In the first phase of the project more than 2,000 people responded with information on where they would like to see conditions improve for biking, and where investments should be prioritized to make Vermont's state roads safer and easier to bike.
A 2012 report looked at the economic impact of walking and biking in Vermont, evaluating a snapshot of one year, 2009. Commissioned by VTrans and developed by RSG and Local Motion, the report showed that biking and walking created at least 1,400 jobs, $41 million in personal income (wages) and $83 million in revenue. In addition, the report found that the impacts of health improvements and the increase in property values could increase the economic impact of walking and biking by more than $400 million.
As Local Motion officially takes on the statewide role, the organization is looking to connect with local leaders. "The interest and spark for change comes from within a community. The most important thing Local Motion can do is to support local groups and municipalities and connect them with the right tools and resources; together we can expand safe walking and riding opportunities for everyone," said Emily Boedecker, Executive Director of Local Motion.
"Whether we walk or ride, by choice or need, for recreation or transportation, for health or fun, to save money or reduce our carbon output, we all share a common need," Boedecker continued. "When we have safe and inviting streets, easy trail connections, and vibrant villages and downtowns, Vermonters of all ages and all abilities will have the choice to make walking and biking a part of their daily lives."
If you are currently a paid member of the VBPC, you will automatically have your membership transfered to Local Motion and will be notified, as usual, when your membership is up. Look for more details coming soon!
History in the making! From left to right: Peter Zamore Local Motion Board President, Emily Boedecker Local Motion Executive Director,
Grant Orenstein, Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition Board President
VT Agency of Transportation statewide On-Road Bicycle Plan Announcement - Rescheduled!
Due to weather conditions, the first meeting orginally scheduled for December 9th was rescheduled to Wednesday, January 7th. Please take note, spread the word and plan to attend.
To meet the growing demand for bicycling facilities VTrans is kicking off an exciting new initiative, the VTrans On-Road Bicycle Plan. The Plan will help guide improvements along Vermont state highways to work better and be safer for all bicyclists -- families, commuters and recreational riders.
The first meeting will be on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 ( rescheduled from December 9, 2014) from 6pm to 8pm. (The meeting will be broadcasted using Vermont interactive Technologies (VIT) throughout the state. Find a location convenient to you.)
Get involved! You can contribute by identifying where you ride and where you want to ride by:
1. Attending the project public meetings. The first meeting will be on January 7th, 2015 (rescheduled from December 9, 2014) from 6pm to 8pm. The meeting will be broadcasted using Vermont interactive Technologies (VIT) throughout the state. Find a location convenient to you.
2. Adding to the VTrans On-Road Bicycle WikiMap.
3. Telling your friends and neighbors to participate. Forward this email or post it on your local Front Porch Forum or hang up a flyer.
Phase 1. Over the next six months, and with YOUR help, VTrans will:
-Collect information from the public about where they ride and where bicyclists want to ride on State roads;
-Use this information to identify several tiers of bicycle corridors ranging from most desirable for bicycling to the least desirable for bicycling; and
-Set the stage for where we should focus needed bicycle improvements.
Public input is critical to the success of this project. We thank you for helping to make the project a success by sharing your thoughts and creating project awareness by connecting others.
Visit the project website for more information: http://vtransplanning.vermont.gov/bikeplan
If you have questions or comments related to this project, please contact VTrans Planning Coordinators:
Sommer Bucossi at 802-828-3884 and Amy Bell at 802-828-2678 or email us at
Sommer Roefaro Bucossi
VT Agency of Transportation
Policy, Planning & Intermodal Development Division
Phones Down Heads Up!
Effective October 1, 2014, using a handheld cell phone while driving in Vermont is illegal.
Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,600 are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger the safety of drivers, passengers and bystanders, and cell phone use is the number one distraction behind the wheel.Talking on a cell phone while driving makes you four times as likely to crash, and texting while driving increases your chances of a crash by up to 23 times, according to the National Safety Council.
Know the law: 23 V.S.A. § 1095b
The ban takes effect October 1, 2014 and covers all portable electronic devices, including, music players, laptop computers, and cellular telephones.Hands-free use is permitted under the law, and hands-free means without the use of either hand and outside the immediate proximity of the user’s ear, by employing an internal feature—such as Bluetooth, for example—or as long as the device is in a cradle or otherwise securely mounted in the vehicle.Note that the ban is lifted when the driver needs to communicate with law enforcement or emergency service personnel under emergency circumstances.
Know the consequences:
What To Do:
- A person who violates this section commits a traffic violation and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100.00 and not more than $200.00 for a first violation, and of not less than $250.00 and not more than $500.00 for a second or subsequent violation within any two-year period.
- A person convicted of violating this section while operating within a properly designated work zone in which construction, maintenance, or utility personnel are present shall have two points assessed against his or her driving record for a first conviction and five points assessed for a second or subsequent conviction.
- A person convicted of violating this section outside a work zone in which personnel are present shall not have points assessed against his or her driving record.
The safest thing to do is to not use any device while driving. If you must, we have assembled a guide to some of the acceptable hands-free technologies. Phones down. Heads up. While you're driving please keep both eyes on the road, both hands on the wheel, and put your phone down.
Thanks for Another Successful Tour de Farms!
Full sunshine and temperatures in the high 70s greeted the hundreds of bicyclists who participated in the 7th Annual Tour de Farms on September 21. The Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition is grateful to the Tour's sponsors (listed below) who made the 2014 Tour possible. You can click on the sponsor logos below to learn more about these businesses and organizations. Please support the businesses that support the Tour!
(Click on logo to visit sponsors' websites):
2014 Walk Bike Summit a Success
Caroline Sampanaro addressing Summit attendees. (Photo: Kathy Davidow)
Attendees at the summit (Photo: Dave Cain)
An enthusiastic group of 250 attended the Walk/Bike Summit in Burlington this past Saturday. Those who journeyed to the Hilton enjoyed delicious breakfast and lunch foods, an array of 10 workshops, inspiring words from Transportation Alternatives' Caroline Sampanaro, input from a panel of VT leaders, plenty of table displays, networking opportunities, and late afternoon options to walk and bike a bit.
(If you attended the Summit, you'll soon be asked for your feedback so that future events of this kind can be made even better.)
Limited Edition Ed Koren Print
You can receive an autographed, limited edition print of the above drawing. The drawing was done for the VT Bike/Ped Coalition by Ed Koren, an artist and VBPC member. You may be familiar with Ed's work through The New Yorker magazine or perhaps through Onion River Sports in Montpelier which used Ed's characters in its promotional material for many years.
To obtain a copy of the print, simply give the gift of a VBPC membership to a friend (who is not currently a member) and notify the Coalition whether you would prefer to receive an autographed print on cream or white paper. Please check out our membership options by clicking on the green "Contribute" square to the left of this message.
Thanks for your support of the Coalition's important work.
Montpelier Awarded Bicycle-friendly Community "Bronze"
by League of American Bicyclists
Montpelier Mayor John Hollar announces that Montpelier has been awarded the bicycle-friendly community "bronze" level by the League of American Bicyclists, a national advocacy group. Recent efforts in Montpelier include organizing a bike summit and a bicycle advisory committee, installing more bike racks, finalizing details to complete the city's bike path, and obtaining funding to develop a bicycle master plan. (Photo courtesy of Anne Ferguson)
VISTAs who work for the city of Montpelier, Hannah Recklow and Alex Prolman, pose with one of the signs designating Montpelier as a bicycle-friendly community. (Photo courtesy of Gwen Hallsmith)
l to r: Nancy Schulz, Josh Wilson, and Tim Blagden (Photo courtesy of David Cain)
VT, NY, and NH Advocates Gather
The VBPC's executive director, Nancy Schulz, met recently with her counterparts in neighboring states. Josh Wilson, the executive director of the New York Bicycling Coalition, and Tim Blagden, the executive director of the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire came to Montpelier to discuss a range of issues including funding, legislative priorities, board recruitment, rails to trails, and lobbying. It was helpful to all three organizations to make this connection and to discover that we share many of the same challenges.
(The VBPC is grateful to Christopher Parker of Vermont Rail Action Network (VRAN) for permission to use the photo above.
Amtrak Releases Results of Carry-On Bike Tests
In July of 2013, Amtrak conducted a series of bicycle tests on 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. The VBPC will be meeting with Amtrak officials in September to discuss the next steps to implement carry-on bicycle service in Vermont. Thanks for your support of the VBPC as we work to enhance train access for bicyclists.
Board Nominations Welcome
Bruce Lierman, President of the Board of Directors of the VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition, welcomes nominations of potential board candidates. Ideal candidates are committed to advancing bike/ped advocacy and are willing to work to bring about necessary changes within Vermont. The board of directors meets quarterly and keeps in touch via email between meetings. The VBPC's goal is to have a board which includes individuals from throughout the state of Vermont who bring skills that will advance the Coaliton's mission. For more information, please contact Bruce Lierman via (802) 447-2553 or
Please help the VBPC keep the good bike/ped news coming by clicking here. All contributions are tax deductible. Thank you.
The mission of the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition is to promote bicycling and walking in Vermont, emphasizing access, safety, and education. The VBPC is a member-supported organization. Please join us, and share the word!