Citizen & School Engagement

Citizen & School Engagement

  • ISSUE:  While walking and biking are broadly recognized as healthful, enjoyable, and environmentally sustainable activities, many Addison County residents walk or bike less than they would like to due to concerns about safety or lack of access to, or knowledge of, opportunities to walk and bike.
  • GOAL: To increase rates of walking and biking across all ages, abilities and communities.  The Council is working to develop creative strategies engaging all demographics within our communities to educate and demonstrate the plethora of health, community, economic, etc. benefits of walking and biking.  We’ll identify performance measures to actively monitor the success of these strategies and the growth of active bicyclists and pedestrians within the region.

Projects & Updates

Trail-building efforts in Addison County: lessons learned

This great summary of the discussion at the June 4th, 2019 meeting of the Walk-Bike Council of Addison County was compiled by Carrie Macfarlane.

  1. Working within existing organizational and/or governmental structures helps to ensure sustainability. It also establishes eligibility for grant funding. For example, in Bristol, the Bristol Recreation Club helps care for the Bristol Trail Network because their mission is to maintain outdoor recreation space.

  2. Seeking partnerships increases community buy-in and labor supply. For example, in Bristol, the Bristol Historical Society and the Bristol Conservation Commission partnered with the Bristol Trail Network to establish a loop that brings visitors to the foundations of the Bristol Manufacturing Company.

  3. When landowners are uneasy about allowing an easement, building other segments of the trail first allows them to see how it might affect them.  Often, they come to view the trail and its supporters as friendly neighbors, and they get on board. Ultimately though, community building is more important than trail building, so if a landowner says no, alternative routes should be selected.

  4. Creating a vision statement helps with both decision-making and publicity. For example, from Bristol:
    • The mission of the Bristol Trail Network is to create and maintain trails around Bristol
    • … to promote access to and appreciation for natural, historical, and cultural resources in the vicinity & to support the recreation and education of residents and visitors alike
    • … to foster human connections within our community, tie us all more closely to our landscape, and enhance Bristol’s potential as an all-seasons destination for recreation and tourism

  5. Establishing a maintenance plan is crucial. Without one, a trail will cease to exist.
    • Who will keep each segment of the trail clear and inviting? What are the expectations?  How often will they check it? What should they do if heavy-duty maintenance is needed?
    • In Bristol, trail ambassadors post to Front Porch Forum to announce walks on their segments of the trail. This increases visibility and use.

  6. The Walk-Bike Council of Addison County and Local Motion in Burlington can provide advice and expertise. In addition, Local Motion can provide technical assistance and infrastructure for communication and fundraising.
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Alternative Transportation in Addison County: Biking & Walking

In the spring 2018 semester, Middlebury College students Connor Pisano, Hunter Joshua Cole, and Maria Celes Abragan conducted a data gathering project with three components:

  • Cyclists and Motorists Road Use Attitudes
  • Desirable Infrastructure
  • Bikeable Roads for Long Distance Cycling

Data was gathered using focus groups and an online survey. GIS (Graphic Information System) analysis was used to determine:

  • which Addison County roads are more conducive to cycling,
  • which roads are not conducive to cycling, and
  • the best cycling routes between the three major Addison County towns.
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Take the Addison County Transportation Survey

Do you walk, bike and/or drive a car in Addison County? We are interested in hearing from you! The Walk Bike Council of Addison County, in partnership with Middlebury College and Local Motion is exploring travel habits and transportation infrastructure in Addison County. Thank you for your time and input!

Take the survey

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Vermont Walk-Bike Summit 2018

On May 4th several members of the Walk-Bike Council of Addison County headed to White River Junction for the 2018 edition of the Vermont Walk-Bike Summit. Claire Tebbs, Bethany Yon, Adam Franco, and Mary Yates presented a three-part session in the "Safe and Healthy Communities" track on the formation of the Walk-Bike Council as well as the successes achieved in the Council's short lifetime.

Bethany Yon

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