Lend Your Voice to Local/National Commute Survey

The commutes of many Upper Valley residents have changed significantly due to COVID-19, with many shifting to telecommuting. Now that workplaces are starting to open back up, transportation planners are interested in understanding the potential changes in work travel.

Transportation partners across Vermont and the nation invite you to provide feedback on how COVID-19 may impact your commutes to work. Results from the survey will provide important information to transportation providers, policy makers, and employers on how to meet the needs of commuters and help ensure your return to the work site is safe and reliable.

Complete the survey online (takes about 5 minutes) at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ACTcovidCATMA 

The survey is open until July 3, 2020, and as an incentive all submissions received by June 26, 2020 will qualify for a drawing for one of five (5) $100 Amazon gift cards. The survey can be completed by all individuals currently working or planning to return to work in the coming months.

The survey was developed by the Association for Commuter Transportation and Center for Transportation Demand Management, with results being shared with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, Vermont’s regional planning commissions, Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association, and Upper Valley Transportation Management Association. Thanks in advance for your participation.

(photo: Abigail Feldman Photography)

Y’all Curbed the Car!

On Friday, May 18, the Upper Valley celebrated its newest holiday: Curb the Car Day.20180518_080014-PH

Riffing off National Bike to Work Day, Curb the Car Day embraces all forms of non-drive-alone commutes: biking, walking, taking transit, telecommuting, carpooling, vanpooling, and more. 

Seven workplaces participated in the event, with participants receiving free breakfast snacks, coffee, and swag. See some event photos below! 

One organizer-participant — Erin from the Upper Valley Haven — penned this poem to rouse interest among her coworkers and other commuters traveling by the Haven’s Curb the Car Day station on Route 5 in Wilder:

Curb Your Car Day is tomorrow,
Ride your bike and you won’t feel sorrow.

Take the bus, walk or carpool,
Trust me, you will be SO cool!
A light breakfast will be served on site,
So come have a little bite.
Afterwards you can take a shower
And bask in all your power.

IMG_0214

Bus-Bike-Car Race Finish

DSC_0030

20180518_080603-PH

IMG_20180518_083408880-Linda Gray

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

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!

20170519_085603

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

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.” 

049

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.

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

More Bus Service for the Bradford Area and I-91

Exciting new bus service improvements from our partner, Stagecoach Transportation Services!
  • Expanded RIVER ROUTE (Wells River-Newbury-Bradford-Fairlee-Thetford TO Hanover-Lebanon-White River Junction)
    • More consistent timing
    • Better connectivity with Advance Transit
    • Late morning and mid-day trips
    • Service to Centerra Business Park, the new State complex in WRJ, and destinations along Rte. 5 including the Haven and King Arthur Flour
    • Reverse commute service – morning northbound and evening southbound trips
    • Eight daily trips to VA Medical Center
    • FARE FREE UNTIL DECEMBER 1, 2015
  • New CIRCULATOR bus provides service around Bradford, Newbury, Wells River, and Woodsville!
    • Runs Mon.-Fri. 8:30 am-4:30 pm
    • Provides access to grocery stores, pharmacy, senior center, Upper Valley Services, and more
    • FARE FREE UNTIL JANUARY 31, 2016

Find SCHEDULES and more info here.

office bike share

Office Bike Share

When Vital Communities staff expressed interest in cutting down on car trips to meetings, Transportation Program Manager Aaron Brown found a way to help. He donated an old bike that was taking up space at home and set up an office bike share.

We added rear baskets large enough to fit a laptop and other supplies. Staff can reserve the bike through an online calendar and leave their cars parked for local trips.

Interested in setting up your own workplace bike share? Contact us to learn more.

Your Input Needed – Stagecoach Bus River Route

Do you ride Stagecoach’s River Route? Or would you like to?

Stagecoach is improving efficiency and increasing options on the River Route Bus Service from Wells River, Newbury, Bradford, Fairlee, and Thetford to Hanover, White River Junction, and Lebanon.

Share your input at a public meeting on the proposed changes to the River Route. 

Tuesday, September 1
    – DHMC in Auditorium G from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
    – VA Hospital in B-44 Room 103B from 1:30 to 2:30 pm
    – Bugbee Senior Center in White River Junction from 6:30 to 7:30 pm

OR

Wednesday, September 2
      – Bradford Academy Building6 to 7 pm 

For more information, please call Stagecoach at 802.728.3773 or email Info@Stagecoach-Rides.org.

Gear Up for Everyday Bicycling

Do you want to bike more? Ready to take the next step, but not quite sure where to start?  Vital Communities can help! In just one short hour, participants in our Everyday Bicycling workshop learn practical tips to stay safe and active on the road:

  • What gear you need (and don’t need) to stay safe and comfortable
  • How to make sure your bike is in good shape for getting to work, school, the grocery store, etc.
  • How to map out a route that fits with your time and comfort level
  • How to “read” the street and ride safely under a range of conditions

These workshops are free thanks to support from Go! Vermont. In addition to these workshops—available to workplaces and community groups—we also help schools organize Bike & Walk to School daysContact us to discuss scheduling a biking event for your group.

1 2