Way to Go! Commuter Challenge—Kick-off this Friday, May 1, 11:00 a.m.

REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN, until May 8th close of business to sign-up for the sixth annual Way to Go! Commuter Challenge, May 4-8. This event encourages the use of cheaper, healthier, and more earth-friendly transportation alternatives to driving alone. Everyone who commits to walk, bike, telecommute, carpool, take the bus or use an alternative to driving alone will receive free giveaways and be entered in a drawing to win great prizes—iPods, Neuton battery powered mowers, Burton snowboards, overnight stays, yoga passes, golf and ski passes and more. Online registration is fast and easy at www.waytgovt.org.

Please join Governor Douglas, Senator Sanders (invited), Mayors and other political and business leaders from across Vermont at a press event on Friday, May 1st at 11:15 a.m. at Christ Church Pocket Park in Montpelier to kick-off this year’s Challenge. Way to Go! Montpelier and its partners will be hosting the festivities, including music, giveaways and fun beginning at 11:00 a.m.

New this year is the “2009 Community Challenge” encouraging Vermont cities and towns to compete for highest Way to Go! participation rate. Thanks to our corporate sponsor Merchants Bank, the top place winning community will win a commemorative bike rack with a plaque to proudly display their accomplishment. On June 5th, businesses, schools and the top city or town will be recognized at a special awards ceremony at ECHO on the Waterfront in Burlington at 3:00 p.m.

Last year nearly 3,000 Way to Go! participants saved an estimated 237,000 commuting miles, 206,000 pounds of CO2, and $49,000 in transportation expenses. Organizers have set this year’s goal to save at least 500,000 pounds of CO2.

Visit the Way to Go! Commuter Challenge website (www.waytogovt.org) for more information and to sign-up online. Both kids and adults are encouraged to join in. Improve your health—and the health of the environment—by choosing an alternative to driving alone when traveling to work, school, or play during May 4-8th. Contact Steve Gladczuk, 229-0389, gladczuk@cvregion.com for more information.

Access Management

To: Town Staff & Representatives
From: Steve Gladczuk, Senior Transportation Planner
Date: 4/29/09
Re: Access Management

VTrans has developed a Access Management Outreach Program to educate town officials, developers, businesses, and the general public on the benefits of Access Management. These benefits include improving safety, preserving highway capacity, and integrating land use adjacent to State and Class 1 Highways.

As part of this program, a number of educational materials were developed. This includes an Access Management Resource Book, which contains national materials, Vermont case studies, Vermont’s best practices, sample regulations, the VTrans Policy & Permitting Process, and other references. An interactive slide show was created that can be tailored in content and length to address the needs of a particular audience. The slideshow can explain some of the principals of Access Management, illustrate good and bad examples, explain the benefits, and identify VTrans Policy Guidelines. The length can be a brief 20 minute overview, to a 2 hour workshop with hands on exercises, or something in between. A copy of the Resource Book will be provided to each town. In addition, a website was created as a resource to all of these materials – www.vtaccessmanagement.info

CVRPC would like to present or distribute these materials to your City/Town or Organization. Please contact staff if you would like more information or to schedule a presentation.

DFIRM maps June 15, 2009!

It appears that we are now back on track for a Revised Preliminary Washington County Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM). FEMA is now anticipating a release of the maps on 6/15/09, followed by Community Coordination Meetings on Tuesday 6/30/09.

The Revised Preliminary DFIRM will incorporate three key changes:

Stevens Branch in Barre Town, Barre City, and Berlin, will be redelineated using improved hydrology (HEC-2).

The Winooski River downstream from the Middlesex Dam in Middlesex, Moretown, Duxbury, and Waterbury, will be redelineated using new hydraulics and topography from LiDAR.

Selected Approximate A Zone boundaries in Calais, Marshfield, Cabot, and East Montpelier will be adjusted to align better with available topographic data.

After a final review by the communities we anticipate a Letter of Final Determination on 1/22/09, and an effective date of 7/22/2010.

Communities in Washington County should plan on a process of updating local bylaws by the end of March 2010. Currently two communities in the county have bylaws, recognized by FEMA, that meet or exceed the standards of the National Flood Insurance Program – East Montpelier and Moretown.

All NFIP communities in Washington County will receive updated information and meeting dates from FEMA.

For additional information, contact CVRPC staff or Ned Swanberg,Flood Plain Management – River Management Program, VT Department of Environmental Conservation, 802.241.4596 or ned.swanberg@state.vt.us.

Energy and Senate bill 54

Today, April 23, on “Relocalizing Vermont” on WGDR 91.1 FM, Carl Eitner of “Relocalizing Vermont Productions” will be exploring a potential new way for municipalities to help their residents and businesses obtain more favorable financing (lower interest rates, longer-term loans) for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. I’ll play an interview with bill sponsor Ginny Lyons, chair of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, and talk with James Moore of VPIRG and Johanna Miller of VNRC.The call-in discussion will run approximately 9:30 – 9:58 am on WGDR 91.1 FM. If you don’t have a radio where you are then, you can stream the show at www.wgdr.org.

The bill has just passed the senate, and there’s some uncertainty about whether it will pass the House in time to be enacted this year. Since towns and cities will need some time to act on this authorizing legislation, if the bill isn’t passed until next year, there’s a good chance no one will take advantage of it until July 2011.

Here’s a summary of the bill; If you have any questions, please call and ask our guests Thursday between 9:30 and 9:55 am. The studio number is 454-7762.S.54.

“Clean Energy Assessment Districts Act” will: enable Vermont municipalities to use their bonding power or other financial mechanisms to help interested Vermont property owners make more significant efficiency and renewable energy improvements on their homes and businesses. Property owners would be able to make investments now, and pay them back with the energy savings over 10-20 years through an assessment on their local tax bill.

NFIP, Flood Hazard Maps, DFIRMS

The lastest news from the VT Department of Environmental Conservation is that the Washington County DFIRM maps for floodplain delineation and NFIP regulations are due to be released June 15, 2009. These will be the preliminary maps on which final community coordination meetings will be held, as it looks now, on June 30. More information is to follow, but you can contact Ned Swanberg at the Department for details; Ned.Swanberg@state.vt.us or 802/241-4596 by phone, or contact CVRPC staff at 229-0389.

Census 2010

The Census Bureau announced that it will be starting addressing canvasing during the week of April 20 and continuing through July 2. Census employees will be visiting each housing unit to verify the address and GPS the location coordinates. They will knock on doors to introduce themselves and tell the homeowner what they are doing and verify the number of housing units at the location where it appears there are more than one. Then they will stand in front of the unit and record the address and GPS coordinates. This field work is extremely important to getting the complete Census information for our residents. Having a correct count of the population affects the amount of Federal dollars that Vermont and municipalities receive later. Cooperation is appreciated by the Census Bureau.

Brownfields Update and Site Visit

Two Barre City granite sheds are currently enrolled in the RPC’s brownfields assessment initiative. Brownfields are abandoned or underutilized sites who’s redevelopment may be complicated by the presence of real or perceived contamination. With funding from the US EPA the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission’s brownfields assessment initiatives offers financial assistance to help get these sites back into productive use.

The Regional Planning Commission is coordinating a site visit to the Barre City granite sheds next week. Environmental consultants will discuss how the sites will be assessed to ensure any on-site contamination is addressed and properly managed. If you are interested in learning more about brownfields please contact Clare Rock at clarerock@cvregion.com or call 229.0389.

Census 2010 Address Canvassing: Coming to Your Neighborhood

On April 20, 2009, U.S. Census employees will begin visiting every community in Vermont during the first major field activity in preparation for the 2010 Census.

What is Address Canvassing?

By visiting living quarters in every community, the Census Bureau will know where to send questionnaires and enumerators in 2010. Using hand-held computers, Census employees will walk through your community to verify the location of every housing unit.

This is how it will work:

  1. Employees will visit each housing unit. They will knock on the door to let residents know they are there. If someone answers, they will introduce themselves and explain what they are doing; they will not wait for someone to respond before doing their work.
  2. Employees will stand in front of the house for several minutes while they verify the address. They will record the address and GPS coordinates for the unit in their hand-held computers.
  3. In some cases, the employees may ask residents to clarify the address and the number of housing units in the building. If no one is available, they will move on to the next structure.

This is an extremely important field operation as it lays the groundwork for the success of other 2010 Census operations that follow. Address canvassing in Vermont will begin April 20 and end July 2. The Census appreciates the cooperation and patience of residents.

The Census: A Snapshot

What: The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States.

Who: All U.S. residents must be counted— both citizens and non-citizens.

When: Census Day is April 1, 2010.

Why: The U.S. Constitution requires a national census once every 10 years. The census will show state population counts and determine representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

How: Census questionnaires will be delivered or mailed to households via the U.S. mail in March 2010. Census workers will visit households that do not return their questionnaires.

2010 Census Timeline: Key Dates

Spring 2009: Census employees go door-to-door to update address lists nationwide.
Fall 2009: Recruitment begins for census takers to support peak workload.
February-March 2010: Census questionnaires are mailed or delivered to households.
April 1, 2010: Census Day.
May-July 2010: Census takers will visit households that did not return a questionnaire by mail.
December 2010: The Census Bureau delivers population counts to the President.

For more information on the Census in general and the 2010 Census in particular, please visit www.census.gov. Or call Census partnership specialist Helen Simon in Vermont at (802) 264-0856.