Montevallo, AL — Montevallo’s City Council unanimously passed a “Complete Streets” Resolution at their meeting on April 22. Complete streets is an approach to infrastructure design that ensures roadways are safe for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobile drivers. With support from Conservation Alabama, the ValloCycle Board crafted a resolution modeled after Birmingham’s policy, believed to be the among the most stringent in the nation.
Conservation Alabama’s Ryan Parker provided support to the ValloCycle Board and City Council while they the crafted the legislation: “Providing transportation options for everyone will create environmental, economic, and health benefits for the Montevallo community and residents. I am thrilled to see Montevallo become the latest city in a growing list of Alabama cities to formally recognize the importance of building roads for people, not just cars.”
With a “Complete Streets” policy on the books, the City of Montevallo has demonstrated its commitment to taking into account all users of public infrastructure when planning renovations or new projects. The City values the safety and needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and citizens of all ranges of mobility, in addition to automobile users.
Mayor Hollie Cost supports the change: “The Complete Streets resolution that the City of Montevallo recently adopted formalizes and solidifies Montevallo’s commitment to a more sustainable community. We see transportation as not only a means of getting from one place to another, but as an opportunity to promote health and social opportunities. As the mayor I am proud of the council’s unanimous support of this initiative and am thankful to Council Member Don Hughes for introducing it to the council through ValloCycle’s initiative.”
In addition to providing low-cost bicycle check-outs, ValloCycle has advocated for bike-friendly infrastructure throughout town and campus since its launch in October 2011. 30 “Share the Lane” signs, featuring ValloCycle’s logo, are installed throughout Montevallo. Through ValloCycle’s partnership with CommuteSmart, 9 bicycle racks were installed throughout the city in summer 2012. The University of Montevallo’s student-led Green Fund financed sculptural bike racks for campus. A bike rack featuring cast-iron models of student and faculty hands and feet was installed by Bloch Hall in the spring. Another rack, made of recycled pipes, will be installed in the near future.
The recently completed Pedestrian Promenade on North Boundary Street features wide sidewalks, benches, lighting, and landscaping, with two lanes still reserved for automobile traffic. The Promenade, which connects downtown and the University of Montevallo, is only a small part of the many revitalization efforts planned for the downtown district.
The ValloCycle Board wishes you a happy new year! Did you make any new year's resolutions about being more fit and healthy? There's no better way to explore our beautiful community, reduce carbon emissions, and get great exercise than riding a bike!
When riding, make sure that you are aware of state and local biking ordinances. Page 4 of your ValloCycle membership form (avaiable for download or at City Hall, 545 Main Street) outlines both state laws pertaining to bikes, and Montevallo biking ordinances.
Did you know....
...That you are required to wear a helmet while riding a bike (according to Montevallo's ordinance)?
...That you are allowed and sometimes encouraged to take up the full lane of traffic?
...That you are required to stop at all stop signs and stop lights?
We have been honored to serve our community for another year and further our mission of providing low-cost, environmentally-friendly transportation to our community.
This holiday season, keep us in mind as you shop for your loved ones--a ValloCycle membership or t-shirt is the perfect present for those of us who want support our local businesses and programs! ValloCycle is an all-volunteer joint initiative between the City and University of Montevallo, and we appreciate your support!
Memberships are available at city hall (845 Main Street). As always, a 1-year membership in our program cost $25 (or 25 community service hours) for adults over 16, and $10 (or 10 hours of community service) for children. Our fabulous ValloCycle t-shirts, printed on Main Street by the Type Shop, cost $15 for adult sizes and $10 for children's sizes. Email us at email@example.com to order yours today!
If you haven't already read it, download Issue 1 of our ValloCycle newsletter here. Issue 1 features the 2nd Annual Montevallo Tour By Bike, Version 2 of our Town Map, our "Repairs to Resumes" program, press coverage, and a donation form.
We will host a two-hour “Transportation Solutions” program this Sunday, October 28, to present unique public transportation opportunities available to our community citizens.
The event will take place at the Parnell Memorial Library, 277 Park Drive, from 6-8 p.m.
Joining ValloCycle for this program will be representatives of United Way partner agency Shelby Emergency Assistance, the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham’s CommuteSmart Program, and the Birmingham Regional Paratransit Consortium’s ClasTran Program.
The program will consist of introductions to the unique public transportation access services provided to community members by each agency. These services include:
-Free and low-cost transportation for senior and persons with disabilities (ClasTran).
-Vanpooling coordination for employees of an organization; financial incentives for commuters (CommuteSmart).
-Free and low-cost access to bicycles, ADA-accessible handcycles (ValloCycle Program).
Participants will be able to become involved with certified members of each program. Participants are encouraged to bring a picture ID of any form. Proof of age/disability is required for involvement with the ClasTran Program. Food and drinks will be served. View the Shelby County Reporter Article here!
Our 2nd Annual Montevallo Tour By Bike on Sunday, August 26 had approximately 50 participants, mostly incoming freshmen. Everyone had an amazing introduction to some of the awesome things Montevallo has to offer! We also led an alternative walking tour for 10 people, since we had DOUBLE the amount of riders this year! Our tour ended with a delicious free meal at Eclipse Coffee and Books, where representatives from ValloCycle and UM Environmental Club explained different ways that students can get involved in environmental activism on campus. Many thanks again to everyone who helped make this tour such a success, especially our riders, Aaron Traywick, Courtney Bennett, John Nicholson, and Hollie Cost with ValloCycle, Jason Cooper with Carmichael Library, Sheryl and Michael Patton of Eclipse Coffee & Books, and Bridget Benson and Brandy Holt of UM Environmental Club!
Ready to get to know Montevallo? Then come join ValloCycle, Montevallo's community bike-sharing program, for a 90-minute bike ride through the heart of the city and university! Bicycles and helmets will be provided free of charge by ValloCycle, with a free meal provided by Eclipse Coffee and Books. Students with their own bikes are also encouraged to participate, as are parents.
When and Where
Meet at the University of Montevallo Carmichael Library on Sunday, August 26, at 3:00 PM. We will depart at 3:30.
The bike tour will introduce new students to some of the best places Montevallo has to offer, including:
UM Organic Community Garden- Our first stop will be at one of the largest campus community gardens in the state, where a brief on-foot tour by UM Environmental Club members will be provided. Fresh fruit and veggie snacks will be available for those who want to snag a couple off the vine!
Montevallo Parks Trail- A nationally-recognized 2.5 mile nature trail which provides access to and preserves some of Montevallo's most scenic wilderness areas, including Shoal Creek, Stephens Park, and Orr Park.
University Lake- The future site of the UM Eco-Lab Facility, which will form the epicenter of UM's new Eco-Trail. Students will learn more about the the sites that this trail will connect, such as the Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Life Preserve, the UM Community Garden, and the Shepherd Observatory Sustainability Complex.
Orr Park and "Tinglewood"- Montevallo's oldest and loveliest park is perhaps the strongest example of our town's commitment to the arts and the environment. Not only is the park the site of a great swimming hole, rolling hills and fields, and the host of the annual Montevallo Arts Fest, it also showcases the work of local artist Tim Tingle. Tinglewood consists of over twenty-five ornate outdoor sculptures hand-carved into the dead cedars of Orr Park, and is a unique and prized addition to our community.
Eclipse Coffee and Books- In addition to being a great place to grab a cup of coffee or a delicious meal, Eclipse has consistently remained the only musical venue in town with no cover charge, EVER. Hipsters, jocks, townies, students, professors, and city officials all flock to the biggest front porch in town, so this is where our tour of the town end, and your own begin. A free meal will be provided by owner Cheryl Patton, with guests encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to partake of what the Birmingham News names "the best milkshake in Birmingham," even though we're thirty miles away!
Be sure to bring a bottle of water and some comfortable clothes, and get ready to meet the best parts of the city!
During the month of June, the ValloCycle program graduated eight students from its six-week course in bike repair, “Repairs to Resumes” program. Students from local Montevallo Middle School were engaged with a curriculum of bicycle technical skills centered specifically on increasing students’ employment opportunities in Shelby County’s burgeoning bicycle repair industry. In addition, students received numerous lessons in safe cycling practices on roadways and trails, as well as how to effectively communicate their technical skills in a professional resume. The program was made possible through a grant from the All-Terrain Natural Products Company of Sunapee, New Hampshire, and ValloCycle will continue to offer this course free of charge to the general public on a quarterly basis.
The ValloCycle Program is committed to showcasing the economic viability of cycling in Shelby County. By providing comprehensive, trade-level education in a specialized field to local youth, our program coordinators hope to bring unique economic opportunities both to our students as well as our greater community. In reference to the potential impact that bicycle technical courses could have on the economic potential of our region, Barbara Malki, owner of Cahaba Cycles, had this to say:
“On any city block, in any city, there’s always going to be a bike shop looking for a good mechanic. This is a trade that will give students future access not only to technical professions in the repairs industry, but also those existing in the manufacturing, specialty, and racing worlds.”
Cahaba Cycles presently maintains four locations in the Jefferson-Shelby area.
Based in the City of Montevallo and operated jointly with the University of Montevallo, the ValloCycle Bike-Share Program has made low-cost bicycle rentals available to all residents of Shelby County since its debut in October of this past year. Since that time, over 100 members have rented bicycles from a fleet of over fifty single-speed cruiser, mountain, road, and children’s style bicycles from three separate rental locations.
ValloCycle has partnered with CommuteSmart and Birmingham’s own Local Bicycle Racks Company to make downtown Montevallo even more bike-friendly with increased bicycle parking downtown.
More bicycle parking makes each of these locations a destination for bike trips, encouraging bicyclists to get off their bike and explore all that downtown Montevallo has to offer.
9 bicycle racks are now located in front of Montevallo businesses and other destinations, including Stephens Park, one of the stops along the Montevallo Greenway Trail; Montevallo Office Plaza; Video Underground; restaurants Eclipse Coffee and Books, El Agave and Main Street Tavern; grocery stores Piggly Wiggly and Lucky’s Foodland; and CVS Pharmacy.
Jeff Webster, owner of local restaurant Main Street Tavern, says this about the impact of new, secure bicycle parking in front of his and other downtown businesses: “I’ve seen at least one bike a day on it. It’s good for town. It promotes what we want to promote—a walking community.“
Local Bicycle Racks Company custom-built the racks for ValloCycle. Each rack holds 2 bicycles and features ValloCycle’s signature green color and logo, and CommuteSmart’s logo.
CommuteSmart pays for Local Bicycle Racks Company to build custom bicycle racks for some of CommuteSmart’s official partners. CommuteSmart provides incentives for people who live or work in Jefferson/Shelby County, and take an alternative commute from home to work. Anyone who bikes, walks, carpools, or works from home is eligible to register and receive the incentives of the CommuteSmart program. Because of the newly installed bicycle racks, local bicycle commuters can now ride easier, knowing that their mode of transportation is secure.