Mayor’s Office

Mayor Miro Weinberger Promotes Active Transportation Options and Unveils "Go for Gold" Walk-Bike Blueprint during Multi-Modal Tour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 16, 2013
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962

Mayor Miro Weinberger Promotes Active Transportation Options and Unveils “Go for Gold” Walk-Bike Blueprint during Multi-Modal Tour

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today held his “Way to Go!” multi-modal tour* during which he promoted through his own actions various active transportation options as alternatives to driving a single occupancy vehicle.  Weinberger’s modes of transportation included walking, riding the bus, cycling, and car-sharing.  Engaging in these healthier, more eco-friendly, and less expensive forms of transportation reduces our commuter carbon footprints.  At the tour’s end, Weinberger unveiled the “Go for Gold” Walk-Bike Blueprint, which offers a vision for making our community a national leader in active transportation and recreation.

“We organized today’s tour to showcase for all Burlingtonians the tremendous benefits that come with taking advantage of our great variety of active transportation options,” Weinberger said.  “By walking, riding the bus, cycling, and car-sharing, we all partner in protecting the environment, creating safer streets with fewer automobiles, and encouraging others to join us.”

Weinberger’s multi-modal tour coincided with the annual Way to Go! Statewide Commuter Challenge, which has been taking place this week of May 13-17, 2013.  During Way to Go! week, everyone who commits to walk, bike, telecommute, carpool, ride the bus, or use any other solo-driving alternatives will be entered in multiple drawings to win great prizes, including Burton snowboards, overnight stays, restaurant gift certificates, yoga passes, spa treatments, bike tune-ups, golf and ski passes and more.  To learn more about and/or register for Way to Go! week, please visit www.waytogovt.org

During last year’s Way to Go! week, more than 3,800 participants saved over 326,754 commuting miles,  reduced emissions by 284,693 pounds, and saved more than 18,135 gallons of fuel. Vermont’s long-term goal is to save the state at least 500,000 pounds of transportation pollutants.

At the conclusion of his tour, Weinberger held a news conference during which he unveiled the “Go for Gold” Walk-Bike Blueprint at Dealer.com, the premier corporate sponsor of the “Go for Gold” Campaign effort.  Weinberger encouraged community stakeholders to get involved, stating:  “Becoming an even more vibrant, walkable, and bikeable community is essential not only to Burlington’s quality of life, but also to our transportation efficiency and economic competitiveness.”

The following questions and answers illustrate key themes of the Blueprint:

  • WHAT IS THE BLUEPRINT ABOUT?
    The “Go for Gold” Walk-Bike Blueprint is a collaborative effort of the City of Burlington, the Burlington Walk-Bike Council, and Local Motion whose purpose is to lay out a shared vision for how to make Burlington a world-class city for walking and biking.  The effort is supported by the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community with funding from the Vermont Department of Health and is sponsored by Dealer.com.
  • WHY WAS THE BLUEPRINT CREATED?
    Our goal in creating the Blueprint is to chart a course for achieving gold-level recognition as a Walk-Friendly Community (WFC) and a Bicycle-Friendly Community (BFC).  Both of these certifications are national-level programs that recognize municipal efforts to become better places to walk and bike while encouraging communities to do more.
  • HOW WALK- AND BIKE-FRIENDLY ARE WE NOW?
    The Burlington Department of Public Works applied for and received silver-level BFC recognition for the City in 2011 and intends to apply for WFC recognition this year.  There are no WFC gold-level communities and only one BFC gold-level community in New England.  This is an opportunity for Burlington to be a national leader.
  • WHAT'S IN IT FOR OUR COMMUNITY?  
    Becoming an even more walkable and bikeable community is essential not only to Burlington's quality of life, but also to our transportation efficiency and our economic competitiveness.   Walkability and bikeability benefit current residents and help attract new ones, helping Burlington compete with other communities to attract high-quality growth.
  • WHERE DOES BURLINGTON NEED TO IMPROVE?  
    Burlington already has many strengths with regard to walkability and bikeability.  The biggest area of needed improvement is in infrastructure for walking and biking:  safer crosswalks, continuous bike lanes, and more.  Therefore, many of the goals in the Blueprint focus on on-the-ground improvements.
  • WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?  
    City Departments will to work with Local Motion and the Burlington Walk-Bike Council to translate the ideas in the Blueprint into specific policy recommendations.  At the same time, Local Motion will lead a campaign to build community support for the goals of the Blueprint.  

In response to the “Go for Gold” Blueprint unveiling, Dealer.com Chief Operating Officer Mike Lane said, “Dealer.com is very passionate about promoting overall wellness and an active lifestyle, and we are passionate about the quality of life in our community.  And a city that is easily walkable and bikeable is a benefit for everyone and helps to put Burlington on the map as a great place to live and work.”

Jason Van Driesche, Director of Advocacy and Education at Local Motion, stated:  “Burlington is already doing so many things right when it comes to making it safer and easier to walk and bike.  The Blueprint is about putting all the pieces together to take things to a whole new level.  We want to be a city where everyone from eight to eighty years old doesn't think twice about heading out on foot or on bike to get where they need to go.”

At a public event on Church Street earlier this month, Weinberger kicked off both Walk/Bike Month and the 2013 Vermont Bike Challenge.

*Please see itinerary (below) for details of Mayor Weinberger’s tour.

 

Mayor Miro Weinberger’s Way to Go! Multi-Modal Tour – Itinerary 
Thursday, May 16, 2013

9:00am               Mayor's Office:  head downstairs to City Hall bike parking, where Mayor picks up City bike

9:15am               Pine and Bank Streets:  bike west on Main, north on St. Paul, west on Bank, end at street grid blockage – take Devil's Alley (through the mall) to Cherry Street
Speaker:  Chapin Spencer, Local Motion Executive Director

9:25am               Hotel Vermont:  discuss bikeshare for guests, collaboration with bike business community
Speaker: Hans van Wees, Hotel Vermont manager and avid bicyclist

9:45am               Sustainability Academy:  “Bike for Life” program
Speaker:  Principal Brian Williams – 6 students and a teacher will join us on bikes until bus station

10:05am            CarShare Vermont at Horatio (name of car) on North Winooski:  CarShare staff member and “Park It Pledge” participant to give Mayor and media member ride around block
Speaker:  Alicia Taylor, CarShare Vermont “Park It Pledge” coordinator

10:25am            North Winooski and Archibald Streets:  pedestrian improvements
Speaker: Nicole Losch, DPW Transportation Planner, Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager, Environmental Planner                                            

11:00am            Cherry Street CCTA Transit Center:  talk about transit incentives (Local Motion to transport bikes of those who will be riding the bus to Dealer.com)
Speakers:  Bill Watterson, CCTA General Manager; Jen Francis, Parks & Recreation Parks Planner; Rachel Gitajn and Ali Kinney from Burton, Chad Nichols from VEIC

11:15am            Board Bus # 5/Pine Street:  Mayor, media, others board bus; bike group pedals to Dealer.com

11:18am            Pick up Jill Badolato, Dealer.com’s Corporate Social Responsibility Director

11:20am            Exit the bus at Lakeside and Pine:  highlight challenging pedestrian intersection  
Speaker:  Nicole Losch

11:25am            Walk to Dealer.com on west side of Pine Street:  discuss potential bike/pedestrian improvements on Pine Street
Speaker:  Nicole Losch

11:35am            Arrive at Dealer.com

11:40am            News Conference
Speakers:  Mayor Miro Weinberger, Dealer.com COO Mike Lane, Local Motion’s Jason Van Driesche

 

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Press Release Date: 
05/16/2013
City Department: 
Mayor's Office