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Chugga Chugga, Chugga Chugga, VTEN!

The Vermont Transportation Efficiency Network (VTEN), convened semi-annually by the Vital Communities Transportation Program, met on Monday, September 18 to discuss community-driven imagejpeg_2multi-modal improvements in Brattleboro and a new statewide transportation advocacy coalition.

Eight attendees (including the VC transportation team) rode Amtrak’s Vermonter train to and from the imagejpeg_3meeting. Several other attendees took alternative forms of transportation to the meeting, including Better Bike co founder, Nevin Murray. Nevin brought the PEBL (above & right), a bio-based pedal electric vehicle, to the meeting to showcase what’s possible when the definition of transportation isn’t limited to the automobile. Dave Cohen of vBike brought several of his e-assist cargo bikes too (below).

20170918_171318The afternoon featured a panel with Dave Cohen, Larry Lewack of the Vermont Rail Action Network, and Dr. Becky Jones, a Brattleboro dermatologist and member of the Vermont Climate and Health Alliance. The three shared challenges and successes in their efforts to make Brattleboro healthier and more vibrant and multi-modal.20170918_171303

Kate McCarthy from Vermont Natural Resources Council led the group in a conversation about a new statewide coalition that aims to collate the voices of transportation stakeholders and effectively advocate for policy change at the state level.

Many thanks to all who attended last Monday! If you weren’t able to make it, you can check out the meeting takeaways and other information about VTEN here.

Blacksmith Covered Bridge, Cornish, NH

Vital Communities & VT Climate Commission

 

This summer I got a call from Montpelier asking me to serve as the transportation representative on Governor Phil Scott’s Climate Action Commission. The 21-member Commission began with an August meeting and four public scoping sessions in September and early October. The Commission will then spend the next 10 months developing recommendations aimed at reaching the State’s renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals while driving economic growth.

The Commission has an enormous task ahead, but I’m honored to be a part of the process. Please e-mail me at Bethany@VitalCommunities.org with your comments and concerns so I can bring these to Commission meetings. And please check back for reports!

Read more about the Commission, its members, and its charge. Thank you!

–  Bethany Fleishman, Transportation Program Manager

Everyday Bicycling Selfies

14141648_10157412791815437_1890692448597925636_nSome Upper Valley folks shared their new bike routines on Facebook and let us share them with you!

 

Kim: “I borrowed my neighbor’s bike and rode to work today. It wasn’t that much fun, but someone’s gotta save the planet, right? (wink)

 

Ken: “Making my first attempt at a combo Advance Transit & bike commute!”20525230_10101093064866046_8374909671323512675_n

 

Jo:”I’m going to be 21125682_10209805500711292_7271288863794946596_oable to bike to work a couple days per week (weather permitting) starting this week, and I did a dry run (no time pressure) this evening after work. I biked up all the hills!!! Huge success!! I walked down the big one on the way back, but still made it in about 30 minutes each way.”

 

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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Rail Forum Coming to White River Junction

Trains – both passenger and freight – can be an important part of an energy efficient Upper trains-019Valley. We’re lucky we already have some rail infrastructure crisscrossing our region. How can we make rail a bigger part of our future?

The Vermont Transportation Board will hold a public forum at 6 p.m. on November 16 at the Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction on transportation policy associated with trains, both passenger and freight. Topics include:

  • living with railroads as neighbors
  • passenger expansion to Montreal
  • rail-side economic development

Can’t attend? Read more about the project and submit a written comment.

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You’ve Been Asking…I-89 South Transit Study!

We’re excited to announce that the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission (UVLSRPC) and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) are evaluating the feasibility of commuter bus service along Interstate 89 connecting New London, Grantham, Enfield, Lebanon, and Hanover.

Transportation Program Manager Aaron Brown and several UVTMA members and partners are serving on the project advisory group.

Show that the community wants and needs commuter transit service along the I-89 corridor! If you missed one of the public drop-in sessions held last week and haven’t yet given input on the project, please take the survey by November 4, 2016.

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Bringing Biking Skills TO you!

Two of my friends were really excited to start biking after attending a Basic Everyday Bicycling workshop last month, but each admitted that before becoming regular riders, they needed to build confidence with the basics of starting, stopping, and riding with one hand to signal and change gears.

So last week we spent a silly but serious hour in the waning afternoon light circling the Bugbee Senior Center parking lot,
practicing “power starts,” controlled stops, and riding with one hand. We also talked about how and when to shift gears and had refresher on helmet fit. They both learned a lot in that short time, and I was super impressed with their new skills!

Do you think you could use some personalized Everyday Bicycling coaching to help you gain the confidence to start biking to work, school, and more? Contact me to set up a 30- or 60-minute one-on-one coaching as part of our Everyday Bicycling program in collaboration with Local Motion.

– Bethany Fleishman, Transportation Program Assistant
Bethany@VitalCommunities.org
802.291.9100 x113

 

 

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