Monday, January 12, 2009

Burlington biking, walking groups merge

By Phyl Newbeck
Free Press Correspondent
January 12, 2009

Adios to the Burlington Walking Work Group. Sayonara to the Burlington Bike Council. The good news is these two groups have merged to form a new organization. The still unnamed group will hold its first joint meeting in the form of a social event from 5 to 7 p.m. today at the Firehouse Gallery in Burlington.

The Burlington Walking Work Group was formed in 2006 to "improve Burlington's walking environment through education, activism, citizen participation and political advocacy." Wayne Senville, an alternate on the steering committee of the new group, sees the merger as a way to "provide synergy. Since we share 90 percent of the same agenda, it makes sense for us to work together," he said.

The Burlington Bike Council, whose original mission was to create a comprehensive system of bike lanes and routes, was created by the Mayor's Office in 1990 and serves as an advisory body to the Department of Public Works. "Hopefully, this will increase our membership and generate enthusiasm," Bike Council Chairman Corey Berman said.

The newly merged group plans to meet at 5:30 p.m. on the second Monday of every month at the Center for Community and Neighborhoods office on the second floor of 125 College St. It will have a steering committee but will allow anyone who attends the meetings to vote. Berman hopes the new group will work closely with the city of Burlington and provide education to motorists and bicyclists.

Local Motion of Burlington has assisted both groups for years. Executive Director Chapin Spencer is pleased with the merger. "We've been talking about having one advisory group focus on biking and walking issues in the city for nearly 10 years," he said. "It's great to see that it is finally happening."

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