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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
- 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.
The April meeting of the Walk Bike Council of Addison County was held on April 15, 2019 at the ACRPC. Continue below for full notes.
- Updates on the Triangle bike loop project
- 2020 Walk/Bike Summit
- Safe Routes to School Conference
- Lincoln Safety Discussions
- Upcoming Events
- Vergennes 22A Update
- Bristol Paving Update
- Next Meeting
As a walk/bike advisory council, our members would like everyone to know about the following events coming up in the month of May. Please contact Laura Asermily at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Bike Smart Training, April 15-19, Middlebury Rec Park/ Mary Hogan Kohl's bike smart trailer returns with over 30 bikes and helmets and props to hone skills and teach rules of the road. Mary Hogan students will receive training in their PE classes that week.
Walk & Roll to School Day, Wed May 1 Join in this statewide celebration of the many benefits of walking and rolling to school. Improves health. Relieves traffic congestion. Form "walking" school bus and "bike" train routes from your neighborhoods. Mary Hogan Elementary class with highest rate of participants wins the "golden shoe" and a fancy fruit plate.
Bike Swap, Fri May 3, 3-6:30 pm Cannon Park. Drop off bikes and gear you wish to give away or sell on consignment at Frog Hollow Bikes up to noon Fri May 3. Look for displays from local groups, demo rides and great deals. Proceeds benefit Middlebury Safe Routes. For more or to arrange display, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Human Powered Parade & Celebration, Sun May 11, 10-2:30 pm Bristol Rec Park. This community event launches with a professional high flying BMX show and moves through town on human powered wheels. An after party includes a community-wide party at the skate park with bands, pickleball, cargo bike test rides and bike races for kids.
Kelly Boe Memorial Bike Ride, Fri May 17, 4 pm, departs MUHS Lot A slow-paced 8-mile bike ride in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roads, including Middlebury's Kelly Boe for which the ride was started and named. Goes through Middlebury and Weybridge via Weybridge St and Hamilton Rd, escorted by police and returns to MUHS by about 5 pm. Wear helmet. Cancelled in event of heavy rain.
Vermont Gran Fondo, Sat June 29 Road cycling over Addison County mountain gaps: Appalachian, Middlebury, Lincoln. Choose from three courses. Details at http://vermontgranfondo.com.
Mountain Bike Group Rides, Saturdays 8:30 am and Tuesdays 5:30 pm, departs Frog Hollow Bikes Join Addison County Bike Club (ACBC) cyclists on Trail Around Middlebury rides. For more about group rides, trail work days, clinics and safety training for the next generation of mountain bikers, visit addisoncountybikeclub.org.
Local Motion's Everyday Biking Workshops Visit localmotion.org to see and arrange area workshops and resources designed to bring walking and biking within reach of all Vermonters.
Cargo Bikes 101 Visit vbikesolutions.org to take an online tutorial of electric-assisted cargo bikes and how they're transforming bike culture. See other mobility options like the ELF.
Middlebury Safe Routes hosts "Walk and Roll to School Day" first Wednesday of month, monitors traffic patterns and student travel behavior, plans activities to teach bike skills and rules of the road, and recommends improvements to roads, parking lots, drop offs, sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic lights, signage, bus routes, bike routes, bike racks, and more. Contact Laura Asermily at email@example.com to help or offer input.
And last but not least, if you are interested in a challenge (as well as a few prizes and recognition for your miles), you may post your miles cycled with the League of American Bicyclists here: Love to Ride USA
During 2018, three Middlebury College students created a project for their Environmental Studies Senior Seminar, and their ideas and research have resulted in a $35,000 grant to fund the development of the "Tri-Town Bike Loop". This professionally-planned route will connect the three Addison County towns of Middlebury, Bristol, and Vergennes, and supporters envision that this will be a benefit for local residents as well as a way to encourage bicycle tourism to the area.
Read the background on this project here: Tri-Town Bike Loop
You can also read about the project in our community newspaper, the Addison Independent
New Haven, VT – The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) awarded $35,000 a consortium grant to the town of New Haven and City of Vergennes to develop a Triangle Cycling Loop Master Plan. The grant came from state Municipal Planning Grant funds. A consultant will be hired to engage residents of Bristol, Ferrisburg, Middlebury, New Haven, Vergennes and Waltham in planning a dedicated bicycling route between these towns that provides a safer space for both drivers and cyclist sharing the roads. The project successfully competed against 67 municipalities and was one of 29 funded.
The application was inspired by the Walk Bike Council of Addison County. The Council worked with a group of Middlebury College students a year ago to survey motorists and cyclists. That team created preliminary cycling loop maps.
“We saw how close we are to having a safe bike loop connecting our three major towns. Only a few road sections need shoulder and signage improvements. Adequate and well-maintained shoulders rose over and over as the leading feature in determining whether a road is suitable for biking,” said Doug McKain, a Council member of the Walk-Bike Council of Addison County and co-author of an earlier survey in New Haven. A specific road map plan will be created which will include designs for street signage and plans for roadway retrofits to make this Triangle Cycling Loop a dedicated, safe cycling route around the county.
“Working towards safe, regional cycling connections between our three designated downtowns has social, environmental and economic benefits to each civic hub, and the region as a whole,” stated Shannon Haggett from the City of Vergennes Planning Commission. The region will have a year and a half to complete this project.
The Addison County Regional Planning Commission assisted with the grant application and will act as the project coordinator. “This project will bring together communities in our region and enhance recreation and transportation options. The Regional Planning Commission looks forward to working with the partners,” noted RPC Transportation Planner Mike Winslow.
“As Vermont continues to grow its economy, maintain a high quality of life and attract new people and business to the state, Municipal Planning Grants help communities accelerate local solutions, energize downtowns, remove barriers to much-needed housing,” said Vermont DHCD Commissioner Katie Buckley.
Awarded annually and administered by DHCD, the Municipal Planning Grant program supports local community revitalization and planning initiatives. Since 1998, the program provided over $12 million to 234 cities and towns across Vermont, bringing people together to adopt useful and relevant municipal plans and implementing those plans through downtown revitalization, updating regulations, improved capital budgeting and innovative projects that to prepare for the challenges they face.
Please click for more information about Municipal Planning Grants from the State of Vermont.