Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Wonderful World of Sustainable Transportation - Trail Finder and Shelburne Street Roundabout

Live at 5:25
February 24, 2009
CCTV Channel 17


Chittenden County Transit Authority General Manager Chris Cole, Local Motion Director Chapin Spencer, Annie Bourdon of CarShare Vermont and other transportation leaders discuss transportation issues, ideas and initiatives. This show includes two exciting aspects of local transportation: Local Motion's Trail Finder - presented by Marketing Manager Todd Taylor and Shelburne Street Roundabout with Jason Van Driesche of Residents for a One-Lane Roundabout. Hosted by Chapin Spencer, Executive Director of Local Motion.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Richmond to Consider Ferry Service

February 21, 2009

Richmond to Consider Ferry Service

Richmond, Vermont - More than 6,000 cars drive across the Richmond bridge every day. Residents say it's a lifeline for local businesses, but that lifeline is about to be severed.

The Richmond Bridge will close in March for a four month long blitz renovation project. The bridge is decaying and has long been in need of major structural repairs. "When you take away the bridge then you take away the pedestrian crossing, it's the same thing as putting a wall right down in the middle of an existing community," said Ben Bush, owner of On the Rise Bakery.

Businesses on both sides of the Winooski River are concerned. Sales at this bakery dropped 20 percent when the state closed the bridge for a month last fall. Others -- like the Chubby Robin gift shop -- were impacted even more."We were down 75 percent. A huge difference," said Lisa Littwin, a co-owner of the shop.

Area businesses did take a hit the last time the bridge was closed, but a pedestrian walkway helped soften the blow. It remained open -- but owners are worried what will happen this time around when the walkway is closed. "The Bridge Street Café is closed Mondays for now. Everyone is kind of trying to gird themselves for this one way or another," said Erik Filkorn, a member of the Richmond Select board.

Town officials are also looking for ways to lessen the impact, and are now exploring the idea of pedestrian ferry service. "We came up with several concepts, possibly a cable ferry, maybe a floating drawbridge, or just our tried and true ferry operation, which we may be settling on," said Brian Costello of Burlington based Local Motion.

"We wouldn't be looking at this if we didn't think there was some possibility of finding the money," adds Filkorn.

The Temporary ferry service would cost about $18,000, but could be paid for using federal grants. Business owners say it would keep Richmond residents shopping in town and would prevent tourists from using alternative routes.

"I would think that would actually be an attraction," said Filkorn. "I mean it's going to be a big show, so we're adding a ride to Richmond potentially like at an amusement park."

Keagan Harsha - WCAX News

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Biking, Walking to School

By Jenny Nixon Carter
Rutland Herald Correspondent
February 15, 2009

When I was a kid, I walked to school. And so did most of my friends. My route was fairly short, due to a great short-cut through the woods by my house. But I had many friends who walked a few miles. That was just the norm and none of us thought anything about it.

Unfortunately, that is no longer the case here in Rutland County and across the nation. Fewer and fewer kids are walking or biking to school these days. Inadequate sidewalks or bike lanes and busy streets, not to mention lack of supervision and concern for "stranger danger" leads to most parents driving their kids to school or sending them on the bus.

But this societal shift towards bussing or driving to school is a real loss for kids. Walking or biking to school provides a chance for kids to be outside and be active. And with the days where kids spend the afternoon running around in the yard before dinner slowly disappearing, this is another lost opportunity.

However, Safe Routes to Schools is a national program that is working to reverse this trend. This national grant program is designed to decrease traffic and pollution and increase the health of children and the community.

The program promotes walking and biking to school, through education and incentives, to show just how much fun these activities can be. The program also addresses the safety concerns of parents by encouraging greater enforcement of traffic laws, educating the public and exploring ways to create safer streets.

This federal program is coordinated at the state level by Vermont Agency of Transportation. Currently, the SR2S program is accepting applications for its next funding round. Public and private schools with students in kindergarten through eighth grade are eligible to apply.

Schools that receive funding can use it to evaluate existing conditions and attitudes, actively encourage students to walk and bike and identify infrastructure projects to make these activities safer. The schools will receive support for their programs from the Vermont SR2S coordinator.

Programs such as SR2S are important for the health of our children. Rutland County is home to one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the state of Vermont. One of the best opportunities to address this obesity epidemic is to increase regular, routine physical activity like walking or bicycling to school.

Seven schools in Rutland County have received funding through the SR2S program. With the funding, the schools have been able to provide walking and biking safety courses, bike rodeos, helmets and incentive prizes to encourage kids to walk or bike to school.

They can also develop innovative programs to promote walking, such as the one at Proctor Elementary School, where students and school staff meet at the town gazebo and walk together to school on Wednesdays. In addition, they have been able to evaluate what infrastructure needs the community requires to improve pedestrian safety.

If your school is interested in applying for this funding, the deadline for the application is March 13. More information on the program is available online or by contacting Aimee Pope, Vermont Safe Routes to School Coordinator at 828-5799.

(Jenny Nixon Carter is the executive director of the Rutland Physical Activity Coalition. For more information on the coalition, visit

Friday, February 13, 2009

Burlington City Council Approves Roundabout Plan

Burlington Free Press
Staff Report
February 12, 2009

The Burlington City Council this week approved a plan to convert the intersection of Shelburne, St. Paul and South Willard streets into a one-lane roundabout. The plan calls for a two-lane "footprint," to allow for future expansion of the roundabout, if traffic-flow issues make that necessary. Council President Kurt Wright, R-Ward 4, cast the only no vote.

Great Ice in Grand Isle

Burlington Free Press
Staff Report
February 13, 2009

SATURDAY (Feb. 14):

Register at 9:30 a.m. for the F-f-frozen Chosen Regatta from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Design your own human-powered machine using a bicycle. All ages, solo or in teams. $20 entry fee benefits North Hero Community Hall restoration. Regatta rules posted at or contact Bob Camp of Hero's Welcome at 372-4161.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Council to Vote on Rotary

Burlington Free Press
By John Briggs
February 9, 2009

The City Council will vote tonight on a design for the Shelburne Street rotary.The one-lane roundabout plan won the unanimous approval Friday of the City Council's Transportation Committee -- Andy Montroll, D-Ward 6, Bill Keogh, D-Ward 5, and Clarence Davis, P-Ward 3.

The committee approved a design that would narrow northbound Shelburne Street traffic into a single lane through the roundabout. Council approval would lock the city into the design, according to Public Works transportation planner Dan Bradley.

Traffic-flow studies indicate the design would back up northbound traffic during rush hours, though the vehicles, Bradley said, would "be constantly in motion."

The slowing of traffic has been an impetus for the design change. State data shows that the complicated intersection has a high accident rate.Traffic feeds there from South Willard and St. Paul streets onto Shelburne Street, with Locust Street entering from the west and Ledge Road from the east. Neighborhood residents have argued that fast-moving traffic makes the area dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The change has been questioned by the Chittenden County Transportation Authority. Chris Cole, CCTA general manager, wrote Bradley in December warning that the new design could hamper bus service.

Cole said last week that buses already have trouble getting to the Cherry Street bus station during rush hours. The anticipated backups, he said "could result in delays for all the buses."
The narrowing of the road to a single lane might also require the elimination of a bus-stop at Adams Court, just south of the roundabout, Cole said.

Keogh said he supported it because of a flood of e-mails from those supporting the one-lane roundabout."This is a compromise," he said, noting that the design approved by the Transportation Committee has a footprint that could allow the one-lane roundabout to be converted into two lanes. "I think it will create traffic queues that will be unacceptable. I hope it will not hurt our bus service to the South End."

Charlene Wallace, a neighborhood resident and a staff member at Local Motion, a nonprofit that promotes nonmotorized transportation, said Local Motion and residents believe the one-lane roundabout, by slowing traffic, will make street crossing safer.

The current configuration, she said, invites motorist confusion because it moves traffic through the area in two lanes and because of poor signage. "This is a good design because there's no question of where drivers need to be," she said.

Ward 6 resident David Porteous, a former chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, said the design is flawed and will create a bottleneck "much like the one that was at the top of the hill at UVM (on Williston Road) in the 1990s.

"Merging doesn't improve things," he said of the planned narrowing at the roundabout, "it just makes a mess."He said the pedestrian problems could be solved by better lighting and street marking.

Bradley said the $1 million project would be paid entirely with state funds. With council approval tonight, he said, construction could begin in three to five years.