Thursday, October 16, 2014

Don't whine and cluck, ORGANIZE!

Bring biking councilors to City Hall, send message that we will bring bike culture to city streets and out The Avenue!

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Putting in bike lanes or reducing parking can be a politically dangerousmove, especially in New York. But for the past year and a half, political action committee StreetsPAC has been fighting for pro-pedestrian, pro-biking and pro-transit candidates in NYC and Albany — and gaining ground.
In the 2013 city elections, 13 of StreetsPAC’s 18 endorsed candidates won in competitive primary elections (including Mayor Bill de Blasio). In state primaries last month, three out of five StreetsPAC-backed candidates won.

Friday, October 10, 2014

North Ave Safe Bike Lanes and Crossings

To get involved in ongoing effort to create safe multi-modal options on North Avenue, please join Bikable Burlington now.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

90 minutes testimony from residents, 90% opposed to amendments

Read this and weep, then get angry, determined to turn this around!  Run for City Council in March, defeat councilors who don't represent YOU.  


#btvcc Resolution on North Ave passes with 4 amendments, 14/0. Progress made, with some minor setbacks.

#BTVCC Tonight's vote on North Ave summed up pretty well by @bfp_news…

#btvcc meeting & North Ave proposed changes who wants to get more involved, please join…

#BTVCC sets precedent: #BTV voters will be allowed to veto city projects after 6 months, see South End Connector, Moran.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The FACTS about sabotage of Corridor recommendations

From: Erik Brown Brotz <>
Date: Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 7:02 PM
Subject: [BWBC] North Ave. amendments must be stopped!

Hi all,

Tomorrow night (Monday, Oct. 6) the City Council will be voting on the resolution to adopt the North Ave. recommendations, as described below.  The actual resolution is linked here:$file/DPW%20-%20North%20Avenue%20Corridor%20Plan%3B%20Create%20North%20Avenue%20Task%20Force.docx

There have been two amendments proposed by Councilors Kurt Wright and Tom Ayres that should be specifically addressed in public comments.

The amendment proposed by Councilor Ayres, linked here:$file/Amendment%20per%20Councilor%20Ayres%20North%20Avenue%20Corridor.docx

It basically switches the language from removing all parking to "no parking at least on one side of North Avenue", removes the protected bike lane pilot with flex posts between Institute Road and VT 127, and removes the buffered bike lane between Shore Road and Plattsburg Avenue.  So we would still have parking on one side of the road, and the bike lanes in these two sections would be unprotected/unbuffered on both sides and in the door zone on one side.  This seriously weakens the short-term benefits of the project.  We especially want to preserve the pilot of the protected bike lane between Institute Road and VT 127 (although honestly I think it makes more sense between Washington St. and Institute Rd.).  This proposed amendment should be rejected entirely by the City Council.

The amendment proposed by Councilor Wright is linked here:$file/Amendment%20per%20Councilor%20Wright%20North%20Avenue%20Corridor.docx

Part of it adds more representatives to the North Avenue Task Force charged with helping DPW implement the plan, which on the face of it does not seem terrible, but it does unnecessarily weigh down an already large committee that already has representatives from the public.  The other part is quoted in full here: “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that metrics and community input will begin to be collected at the onset of the pilot project, to be fully reviewed and presented with staff recommendations 4 months into the pilot and again at the conclusion of the 4 - 3 lane pilot study. By its nature as a pilot study, if public input from the New North End does not support its continuation, the City will restore the 4 -3 lane pilot area to its current configuration; and” (emphasis added).  I understand the need for evaluation of a pilot project, but it should not be entirely based on some vague assessment of "public input".  I believe that DPW has its own process for evaluation of pilots, including public input, and that this should be relied upon for this project.  This proposed amendment too should be rejected by the City Council.

Let's show up in force to support adoption of the resolution with no amendments.  I do not know if more amendments may be proposed in the meeting, so it is still important to address the other issues listed below.

See you there!


On 10/3/2014 8:19 AM, Erik Brown Brotz wrote:
Come out and support important changes for walking and biking on North Avenue!

Who: Burlington City Council, plus you and a lot of other supporters of walking and biking
What: Discussion and voting on recommended changes for North Avenue
When: This coming Monday, Oct. 6, 7 pm.
Where: City Hall, Burlington
The City Council will be discussing the recommendations from the North Avenue Advisory Committee this coming Monday, Oct. 6 in City Hall.  The meeting starts at 7 pm with minor business and an annual report from CCPRC.  Public Comment period begins at 7:30 pm.  This is when we can make our thoughts on the North Ave. recommendations known.  Following that will be some other business and then presentation of the North Avenue Corridor Study and the recommendations, and then the City Council is scheduled to vote on adoption.  There are likely to be amendments proposed to the resolution before the final vote.  Here's a link to the short version of the proposal that was provided to City Council members as part of the agenda:$file/CC-NorthAveCorridor_memo_final.pdf

More complete documentation can be found on the CCRPC website:
Please come out and show your support for the recommended plan!  The long term vision includesprotected cycle track along the entire length of North Ave. and significantly improved intersections and crosswalks, including roundabouts in key locations.  Details of that long range plan are certainly subject to revision over time with further study and public comment, but now is the time to establish the vision of a complete street on this critical city corridor. 

The short term recommendations are, I suspect, more vulnerable to revision and watering down, and thus it is especially important to show support for some of the details.  Most of these proposed short-term changes could be done in the next year or two at only modest expense, and are also reversible.  They would result in immediate benefits in improved safety, consistency, and community connection. 
Specific issues include:
  • Converting from 4 to 3 lanes of traffic between Rt. 127 and Shore Rd. - This is critical to allow enough room for bike lanes of any kind on this section, to allow continuity and protection from ttraffic for bikes on this busy section.  There is plenty of capacity for car traffic with 2 lanes plus a turn lane, and it will reduce confusion, lane-switching, and speeding, increasing safety for all travelers, whether by car, bus, bike, or foot.
  • Removing parking on both sides from Institute Rd. to Rt 127, and from Shore Rd. to Plattsburgh Ave.- This too is critical to allow room for buffered bike lanes, without the danger of being doored.  Parking on these sections is not used much, but there is likely to be considerable opposition.  I support a compromise that would allow parking in the bike lane by church-goersSunday mornings near Shore Rd.
  • Buffered bike lanes on both sides between Washington St. and Plattsburgh Ave.  -Buffered bike lanes aren't cycle track or protected bike lanes, but they are a lot better than the current state and are possible in the short term, but only if we get the changes above.
  • Pilot project for protected bike lanes between Institute Rd. and Rt 127 - The proposal is for putting in removable posts between the car and bike lanes (to be taken out in winter).  This too is possible onlyif parking is removed from both sides.  It would allow us to see how it really works, and would help  students travel more safely from the NNE to thehigh school.
  • Intersection and crosswalk improvements throughout - Most of these are not as controversial but are important to mention because they are so critical to improved safety for cars, bikes, and especially pedestrians.  The intersection at Rt 127 is apparently the most controversial because of the proposed removal of the high-speed slip lanes.  Leaving these in place as is makes biking and walking through this intersection difficult and dangerous.  In any case, there needs to be accommodation of bike lanes coming from North and South, and a way to stop traffic (especially exiting from 127) to allow pedestrians to cross safely.  Local Motion has proposed a compromise, and although I would much prefer to see the slip lanes removed entirely the compromise would be better than the current state.
  • Speed limit reduction to 25 throughout - This is the only part of the original recommendations that was amended away before it got to the City Council, so it is not part of the proposal currently.  It is unlikely to get added back in, but it is worth mentioning anyway.  The most critical way to reduce speed and improve safety is through design changes, but a reduced legal speed limit is also an important factor. 
    I've also attached a copy of the letter we sent to the City Council a couple weeks ago.  
See you there!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I am emailing you as a Burlington supporter of Local Motion who wants to see our city become a truly great place for people-powered transportation.  Next week -- on Monday, October 6 -- we have the opportunity to take a huge step forward for walking and biking in Burlington, and we need your help.  Read on for details, and click here to RSVP.  

Over the last year or so, Local Motion has been intensively involved in a project to chart a new future for North Avenue, Burlington's longest street and the backbone of the New North End.  With strong leadership from New North End residents, a consensus has emerged around a series of commonsense changes that will make North Avenue safe and accessible for everyone, whether you are walking, biking, taking the bus, or driving.  

On Monday, October 6 at 7 PM, the Burlington City Council will decide whether to approve these important changes to North Avenue.  They need to hear from you!  Click here to join the movement to make North Avenue safe for everyone.  There is a small but vocal minority of residents who do not want any change on North Avenue at all.  The City Council needs to know that support for change is broad and deep.

Will you commit to speaking out at Monday's City Council meeting for a walkable, bikeable, liveable future for North Avenue and for our city as a whole?  Click here to let us know that we can count on you to be there on Monday.  See below for FAQs, talking points, and resources.

Together, we will make North Avenue -- and Burlington as a whole -- the kind of place where everyone feels safe walking or biking anywhere.  

Jason Van Driesche 
Director of Advocacy and Education

New to the North Avenue project?  Need more info?  Here are answers to some FAQs.

I don't live in the New North End.  Why should I care?

Great question!  There are two reasons why the vote on North Avenue matters for the city as a whole.  

First, many of Burlington's most important institutions and destinations are in the New North End, including the high school and one of our two middle schools, three of our four regional-scale parks, and more.  So chances are you or your kids travel to or through the New North End regularly, and making North Avenue safer for walking, biking, and driving would give you more options and some peace of mind.  

Second, North Avenue is the first major corridor that has undergone an in-depth study of this kind since Mayor Weinberger came into office.  This means that the City's decision about North Avenue will send a strong signal about how serious this administration is about improving conditions for walking and biking city-wide.  So if you want Winooski Avenue or Pearl Street or Shelburne Street or anyplace else in Burlington to get a real makeover in the near future, you need to speak out for the same on North Avenue.

I don't know enough about what the recommended changes are.  Where can I learn more?

Here is a very brief overview of the proposed near-term improvements (which means in the next one to three years) as recommended by the Transportation, Energy, and Utilities Committee (TEUC) of the City Council, with a summary of the benefits of each improvement:

  • 4-TO-3 LANE CONVERSION:  With a center turn lane, commuter traffic will flow more smoothly and crashes will be fewer, with the new center turn lane from 127 to Shore Road allowing people who need to make a turn to get out of the travel lane
  • SAFER INTERSECTIONS:  Crash risk will decline at intersections as turning lanes are redesigned to discourage high-speed right turns (particularly at Ethan Allen Parkway and Plattsburgh Avenue)
  • IMPROVED CROSSWALKS:  People will feel more comfortable crossing North Avenue with exclusive pedestrian phases, blinking lights at new mid-block crosswalks, and many other upgrades
  • CONTINUOUS BIKE LANES:  People riding in the new bike lanes along almost the entire length of North Avenue (Washington Street to Plattsburgh Avenue) will have fewer conflicts with motorists, resulting in lower blood pressure and improved safety all around
  • A BUFFER FOR PEDESTRIANS:  People walking to the store or to school will breathe easier as cars are seven or eight feet away from the curb instead of just two -- and as bikes ride in the bike lane instead of on the sidewalk
  • MORE SPACE FOR BUSES:  Buses will integrate more smoothly into traffic with consistent 10.5 foot lanes plus a buffer on either side, which give them a little more room to maneuver than the current 10 foot lanes in the four-lane section
Click here for the full text of the minutes from the final Advisory Committee meeting (where these recommendations were finalized for consideration by the TEUC).

How can I get involved in making other Burlington streets better for walking and biking?

First, join Local Motion if you aren't a member already!  You can join at  Our members fuel our work to make Burlington -- and Vermont as a whole -- a great place to get around under your own power.

Second, sign up to be an advocate for a walkable and bikeable Burlington!  While Local Motion is the hub for making Burlington a great place to walk and bike, you are the spokes -- and the wheel, and the rest of the bike.  Reply to this email to get periodic alerts on opportunities to make a difference for a walkable, bikeable city.

Third, get out on the streets and make yourself heard!  There's a fantastic new group calledBikeable Burlington Now that is organizing rides and other events to highlight the demand for a more bikeable city.  Join in the conversation, and stand up with them for better biking!

Friday, September 19, 2014

New Date for City Council Hearing/Action on North Avenue Corridor Plan: Monday, October 6

Members of the North Avenue Corridor Study Advisory Committee and public meeting attendees were notified on Sept. 18 that the City Council Hearing and Action on the draft corridor plan (scheduled for Sept 22) was RESCHEDULED for  Monday, October 6. Contois Auditorium. Public Forum, 7pm.

At the council transportation committee (TEUC), 19 people advocated for the plan. One person spoke against it, and asked for a delay. We're told the delay was because the Mayor, TEUC, and the City Attorney could not get a resolution written in time for the Sept 22 meeting.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Full City Council Considers Approving North Avenue Corridor Plan Sept. 22 after Council Committee Approval Sept 10

The North Avenue Corridor Plan draft approved by the study Advisory Committee advanced with one minor change to the City Council following a unanimous vote by the Council’s Transportation, Energy and Utilities Committee (TEUC) September 10.

The Burlington City Council will consider adoption of the plan at their Monday, September 22nd meeting.

The TEUC, chaired by Max Tracy, Ward 2, vote took place after 19 residents spoke in favor of the Advisory Plan and one resident questioned the need to move the plan which took 15 months to prepare so quickly to adoption.  About 40 residents attended the meeting.  The hearing and vote was held at the Police Department meeting room and is available on CCTV.

Some amendments were considered by the Committee but eventually withdrawn.  The two-and-a-half hour generally quiet meeting and thoughtfully presented comments limited to two minutes each was broken following the Council approval vote by a burst of applause.  The one change to the draft plan was to retain a 30 mph speed limit between VT 127 and the Shore Rd./Heineberg Rd. intersection.