Need Transportation in the Upper Valley?

This fall, Vital Communities’ Transportation Program collaborated with Go! Vermont to develop a one-page guide to transportation in the Upper Valley, with a focus on the Vermont side. 

This new resource allows you to see what transportation options you have and how to contact your local transportation providers if you need some extra assistance. 

We’ve included extensive information on these transportation options:

  • Buses
  • Vanpools
  • Carpools
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Park and Rides
  • Vetlift
  • Dial-a-Ride services
  • Uber
  • Taxis
  • Walking and Biking
  • Volunteer Drivers
  • Transit Maps

The guide also details ways to travel to places outside of the Upper Valley – as if you’d ever want to leave!

Check out the guide here. 

Still need help understanding your transportation options? Contact Vital Communities for a one-on-one travel training! We’ll help you figure out the best way to get where you need to go. 

Bethany Fleishman | Bethany@VitalCommunities.org | 802.291.9100 x111
Paige Heverly | Paige@VitalCommunities.org | 802.291.9100 x114

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Your Bus in Real-Time.

Not sure when and where to catch Advance Transit or if the bus is on time? Download the Advance Transit Real Time App or check the Where’s My Bus? function on AdvanceTransit.com.

It Works!
Read our blog post on our first experience using Advance Transit’s real-time bus app.

Get the App Now
Download the app for free from the App Store (for iPhone) or Google Play (for Android). Just search for “Advance Transit.” Check your phone for the latest version. (If you had a beta version, you may have to delete it before downloading the new.)

Advance Transit Real-Time Social Marketing Campaign
Vital Communities’ Transportation Program received a grant from the High Meadows Fund last year to partner with Advance Transit to increase bus ridership and improve rider experience by promoting the AT’s real-time bus tracking function. Ultimately, increased transit use will reduce congestion and parking demand, save commuters money, and move us toward a more livable and vibrant Upper Valley.

Get Involved
Dartmouth College, the Center for Cartoon Studies, and Dan & Whit’s are some of our workplace and community partners on this campaign to promote the real-time bus tracking system. Interested in joining them? Over the next six months we’ll work with our partners to refine marketing strategies and unfold a community-based social marketing campaign to employees, customers, and residents.

Contact Us
Bethany Fleishman | Bethany@VitalCommunities.org | 802-291-9100 x111
Paige Heverly | Paige@VitalCommunities.org | 802-291-9100 x114

Cover photo by Molly Drummond

Attention, Vermont Schools: It’s WAY TO GO! Time

This year’s statewide Way to Go! School Challenge is September 25 – October 6. It’s a great way for schools to battle carbon pollution head-on!

Sign up your school here and get tools to motivate students, staff, and teachers to take the bus, walk, bike, roll, or carpool as much as possible during this two-week event. You’ll get updates before the challenge and access to the School Success Kit.

If your school gets at least 50% participation for three days during the challenge, you can quality to win an AllEarth Renewables Solar Tracker for the school and other great prizes.

Find out more here.

Bike to Work Day at Dartmouth College

20170519_084418Bethany and I arrived bright and early at the Hop at Dartmouth College Friday, May 19, to greet employees and students who arrived that morning on two wheels instead of four. The cyclists were met with a reception of coffee, bagels, and fruit to reward their effort. While some people had never ridden their bike to work before, for others it was a daily ritual. We had a great time chatting with participants, pumping up flat tires, and sharing resources together on a beautiful May morning. About a dozen Dartmouth folks signed up for our Everyday Bicycling workshops — to be held on campus and scheduled for the summer! 20170519_084447

Aside from our hosts from Dartmouth College, we were joined by the Hanover Bike Ped Committee, the student-run Dartmouth Bikes, and Dartmouth’s bikeshare program, Zagster.

New sign-ups to Zagster received a free helmet and other “ZagSwag.” I signed up for the bikeshare, figuring it would be wonderful to have the option to bike around town rather than drive my car on the bustling streets of Hanover.

20170519_084533The process was simple and fast! I downloaded the Zagster app and signed up for an annual membership, which cost $20. The signup process took me less than 5 minutes. Soon enough, I was able to access a bike. The app shows you where there are available bikes and displays their bike number. Unlocking a bike is very easy: you enter the bike number into the app and the app gives you the unlock combination. You enter the unlock code into the keypad on the back of a Zagster bike and the bike automatically unlocks from the docking station.

From there, you can ride for an hour straight (on the weekdays) or for three hours straight on the weekends. The bikes are equipped with locks so you can use the bikes for errands around town without worry. Return the bike within the allotted time and you pay nothing above the cost of the annual membership. For the rest of the month of May, the Dartmouth Zagster bikeshare has a free trial day promotion. Enter promo code: dartmouthbikemonth for a free day trial!

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Even veteran bike commuter Dave Dostal joined Zagster at the event. “I’m 6’2″ and these bikes worked for me!” Though he lives just a half mile from campus, he would still recommend joining the program. “It’s much faster to bike to CVS from the Hop than to walk–even including sign-up time.” Dave thinks the bikeshare would also be useful for people who have to drive into town, because parking can be such an issue. “I only want to have to park once,” and the bikeshare allows him the flexibility to do just that.

Interested in joining Dartmouth’s bikeshare, Zagster? Check out their website.

Interested in hosting a bike workshop at your school or workplace? Contact Bethany at 802.291.9100 x111 or Bethany@VitalCommunities.Org for more information.

 

–Paige Heverly
Energy & Transportation Project Coordinator at Vital Communities

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Dirty Hands, Clean Bikes

Maintenance Haven Lisa GI had a lot of fun teaching a Basic Bike Maintenance workshop at the Upper Valley Haven on April 29, ably assisted by Lisa from the Haven!

A dozen community members and Haven staff gathered for hands-on instruction about common bike issues:

  • removing wheels
  • changing a tire
  • troubleshooting shifting problems
  • adjusting brakes
  • cleaning & greasing the chain (and putting it back on when it comes off!)

Though plenty of bike riders never learn these skills, those who do feel empowered and confident! In the words of workshop participants:

“Keep this class coming!”

“I already bike a lot, but this gives me more confidence to fix mechanical issues if they arise.”

“I would probably not repair a flat tire, but if I HAD to, I think I could manage.” 

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Interested in joining a workshop or hosting your own? Check out our earlier post about our Everyday Bicycling workshops. Or contact me at 802.291.9100 x111 or Bethany@VitalCommunities.Org for more info.

We’re able to run these workshops thanks to generous support from Local Motion and Go! Vermont.

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Spring Into Bike Riding Season…

…with practical skills training to get you riding more!

What is Everyday Bicycling?

It’s using your bike for those everyday trips that we all make — grocery shopping, getting to work, or even picking up the kids from school. It’s about making the choice to leave your car behind when you can, in favor of getting outside, exercising, and saving gas!

How can I get involved?

Vital Communities offers a range of bike skills trainings for groups of adults (and mature teens). We can hold one workshop or a whole series at your workplace, community center, or town park.

What kinds of workshops are offered?Pumping tire

Basic Everyday Bicycling (practical tips on everyday bicycling) 60 minutes long (indoors)
On-Street Bike Skills (build your street riding skills) 60-90 minutes long (outside, with your bike!)
Basic Maintenance (tire change, basic adjustments and troubleshooting) 60-90 minutes long (inside or outside, with your bike!)

What does a workshop provide?

• Practical tips from experienced Everyday Bicyclists on incorporating bike travel into any lifestyle
• Expert advice and guidance
• Low-cost gear: bells, lights, helmets, reflective vests, and more!
• Free informational resources

tom-bikeWhat is the time investment?

• We strive to make hosting a workshop very easy for you.
• We offer highly flexible scheduling.
• We provide all of the marketing and promotional materials that you need.

How much does it cost?

• FREE for Upper Valley Transportation Management Association (UVTMA) members. (If you’re not a UVTMA member, give us a call!)

• FREE for Vermont communities and workplaces, thanks to support from Local Motion and Go! Vermont.

How do I get started?

Contact Bethany Fleishman at 802.291.9100 x111 or Bethany@VitalCommunities.Org

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Survey Says: Parking and Transportation in White River Junction Are…

Thank you to the more than 500 downtown White River Junction residents, employees, business owners, and visitors who took our survey about parking! We’ve learned much about your transportation and parking needs in this vibrant downtown. You can see full survey results here. Our findings include:

  • White River Junction has a lot going on! Of our 551 survey respondents, 60% enjoy the downtown’s restaurants, half work here, more than a third are Northern Stage patrons, and 40% go to other arts and cultural activities.
  • Nearly 20% of survey respondents said they feel unsafe parking in certain areas of downtown, mainly due to poor lighting. Good news: The town plans to upgrade street lighting near the courthouse, along South Main Street, and in the lot behind the former American Legion.
  • The town is investigating how to best reach residents about parking bans during snowstorms and other emergencies. Our work confirmed the vast majority (75%) would prefer a simple text message.

Didn’t take the survey but have something to say? Please e-mail us to share your opinions on how the town can manage parking and transportation options as development rapidly occurs in the historic downtown.

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Start a Vanpool in Woodstock!

Looking for a better way to get to work? If you have at least 5  people who share a similar commute and schedule, you can create a vanpool!

Vanpool groups in Vermont can use a van provided by Go! Vermont and their partner vRide. Each rider in the vanpool pays a low monthly fee, which covers all the costs—gas, insurance, repairs—everything! No loan or down payment is needed. Plus, the state offers a $700 monthly subsidy to each vanpool!

Sustainable Woodstock, Vital Communities, and Go! Vermont will host a vanpool information session and demo at the Norman Williams Library in Woodstock on Wednesday, October 26, at 6 pm. A light dinner will be served. Please RSVP if you plan to join us.

Learn more about the state program here.
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Everyday Bicycling Workshop is a Success

Last month, we led two successful Everyday Bicycling workshops at the Windsor Public Library in collaboration with Burlington-based Local Motion. The first workshop – over pizza in the library’s backyard – went over basic biking safety, what to wear, and how to prepare for “everyday” bike trips to work, school, social events, and more. The second workshop was an on-road practice ride through town. We started the ride with basic bike safety checks, helmet fitting, tire pumping and a little maintenance work on the fly. Several participants hadn’t been on a bike in years, and one said she would have never gotten back on her bike without this workshop! The group hopes to get together for regular rides and maybe even start a Windsor women’s bike club!

To learn more or schedule an Everyday Bicycling Workshop (including basic bike maintenance) in your community or at your workplace, please e-mail Bethany@VitalCommunities.org.
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Planning the Parking Future of White River Junction

Hartford Awards Grant for White River Junction Parking and Transportation Plan; Vital Communities and RSG to Lead Project

Vital Communities and neighbor RSG have been selected by the Town of Hartford to develop a Downtown White River Junction Parking Management Plan. Using a combination of Town funds and a Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development Municipal Planning Grant, the study will examine ways to improve current parking conditions and to manage future demands for parking in the historic downtown.

Over the past 15 years, downtown White River Junction has experienced a significant economic revival and now finds itself a vibrant arts and business center. With the downtown’s resurgence, there is concern that the existing supply of public and private parking could eventually hinder revitalization efforts or result in demolition of historic buildings to increase the supply of parking. In response to this concern, Hartford’s parking plan will evaluate ways to maximize existing parking resources, make parking more user-friendly, and encourage the use of non-personal vehicle travel to the downtown.

“We are excited to take on this project and develop long-term solutions to the parking and transportation challenges facing the village where we work. It’s a great opportunity to combine the expertise of Vital Communities and RSG with our daily experience using parking and transportation options in White River Junction,” said Aaron Brown, transportation program manager. The project will analyze current town regulations and actual parking use, but will also rely heavily on input from local businesses and residents in crafting solutions for White River Junction’s needs.

“We take pride in researching and designing transportation plans to support vibrant downtowns across the US,” said RSG’s Dr. Erica Wygonik, Senior Engineer. “However, this project is particularly important to us because our headquarters are located in downtown White River Junction. We are honored to contribute to the planning process.”

The White River Junction-based nonprofit Vital Communities, which focuses on catalyzing solutions to regional issues, has advocated for sustainable transportation options since 2002. RSG has specialized in the planning, analysis, and design of transportation systems since its founding in 1986.

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