TRANSPORTATION

MyRide by GMT - Flexible-Route, Flexible-Schedule

The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition (SMC) is the community partner for the MyRide by GMT pilot project with Vermont's Agency of Transportation (VTrans), Green Mountain Transit (GMT), VIA, and the MyRide Community Advisory Group (MRCAG).

MyRide by GMT, launched on January 4th, 2021. Click here for the MyRide by GMT webpage. Please go to the MyRide by GMT webpage for information on how to register, book your trip, or call (802) 223-7287, option 2 to contact the Call Center.

The Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition raised awareness of the community’s interest in solving housing and open space shortages in our downtown. A solution is to site new housing and open space on land currently used for parking.

The need for so much parking in the downtown will be reduced when residents use shared transportation to move within Montpelier and leave their cars at home. Parking lots take up 60% of Montpelier’s downtown real-estate. They prevent the development of downtown commercial, residential and open space. At night, Montpelier has 7,500 residents, however during the workday the population rises to 15,000 people (Montpelier Master Plan). Surprisingly, approximately 1,000 Montpelier residents drive to work and park their cars on site. Using shared transportation to reduce parking by 1,000 vehicles will open up 4 acres for new, mixed-use development.

In 2018, SMC began working with local partners and the State to develop a different way of thinking about new ways to get around town without a car. The outcome of this work is the shared-use transit MyRide by GMT pilot project.

Benefits of MyRide - It is a convenient service that is quick, direct, and works with your schedule. For those already using public transit, MyRide also increases the service area and accessibility to destinations. And for car owners, you don’t need to find parking! MyRide is currently free. In the future when a fare is introduced, your cost will still be a fraction of a maintaining your own vehicle. Car ownership is not cheap. People spend an average of $8500 a year to keep a car. Calculate the cost of your of operating your vehicle here. Imagine what you can do with those savings...

No more scraping off your car in the winter, stepping into a hot vehicle in the summer or searching for a parking place when the legislature’s in session, MyRide will pick you up where you live and drop you off where you want to go in comfort and on time. MyRide creates a win-win for individual residents and the entire community.

SMC organized the MyRide Community Advisory Group. The Community Advisory Group collects community feedback, monitors the performance, engages in rider outreach and recommends Best Practices for the pilot project.

The MyRide Community Advisory Group is comprised of: VTrans (Ross MacDonald), VTrans/GoVermont! (Dan Currier), GMT representatives (Jon Moore, Jamie Smith, Christopher Damiani, Nick Foss), Steadman Hill Consulting (Stephen Falbel), SMC Staff (Dan Jones, Elizabeth Parker, Laura Brooke, AmeriCorps VISTA, Tom Hubregsen), Washington County Senator (Andrew Perchlik), Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission (Bonnie Waninger), Montpelier City Council (Dona Bate, Conor Casey), Vermont Center for Independent Living (Peter Johnke), Montpelier Alive (Dan Groberg), Montpelier Senior Activities Center (Peter Kelman), VOC Rehab Vermont (Zoe Cartwright), Central Vermont Medical Center (Jim Alvarez), Capstone Community Action (Paul Zabriskie, Amanda Carlson), Vermont Energy Education Program (Cara Robechek), National Life Group (Charlie Maitland), VSECU (Simeon Chapin), Montpelier Village Group (Andrea Stander)

The Advisory Group’s information is shared with many local organizations, including: Montpelier Housing Authority, Downstreet, Another Way, Washington County Mental Health Services, Just Basics, Washington County Youth Services Bureau, Family Center of Washington County, Montpelier Police Department & Public Works Department. Minutes of the Advisory Group can be found on GMT's MyRide page.

Background on Montpelier's Transportation System

In Montpelier, a common complaint is that we have a parking problem. What we really have is a transportation problem and a a housing problem.

Why is this a problem?

Commuter cars are warehoused during the day in large parking lots along the river. Providing more parking supports single-occupancy vehicle use (Parking and the City, Donald Shoup). The Sustainable Montpelier Coalition is working to free up land where cars are warehoused so that there are “more uses of the same space for more people more of the time.”

Montpelier has been experiencing low vacancy rates that drive up the real estate costs and makes it very hard for people to afford to live here. Montpelier employers report that retention of young workers is challenging, because of the lack of housing and transportation options. The article "Why do Millennials drive less than Boomers?" explains how we must start to address the needs of younger generations. Montpelier also offers limited alternatives for area seniors looking to downsize. Our housing shortage contributes to our transportation problems, because people have to live further outside of downtown and therefore need cars to commute to work, shop and socialize.

Why do Millennials drive less than Boomers?

Vermonters drive 20% more than the US average. Transportation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas in the state. Montpelier’s City Council is committed to being Net Zero by 2030. Montpelier's residents have many cars. From the 2018 5-year American Community Survey (ACS), of 3,726 Montpelier households: 1,883 have 1 vehicle, 1,119 have 2 vehicles and 285 have 3 or more vehicles, while only 439 do not use a single-occupancy vehicle. The Montpelier Parking and Shuttle Study (1993) identified 3,088 parking areas, with underutilized private parking spaces. How do we adopt the use of shared passenger vehicles to free up land for better uses and reduce the number of vehicles in our downtown?

Providing people with more choices for downtown housing and transportation is a key goal of smart growth. We can work together to transform our transportation use by participating in MyRide by GMT to change Montpelier's downtown land-use.

Key Elements in Changing our Transportation System

Remote/Satellite Parking

Remote or satellite parking encourages parking around the perimeter of Montpelier to free up critical downtown land for other uses such as: commercial, housing and open space. This also reduces traffic and congestion downtown. It is especially helpful when commuters, such as State office workers & legislators, use remote parking and allow downtown parking for tourists and shoppers.

Satellite parking is most effective when a last-mile transportation solution moves people from parking to downtown. A good example of remote parking is the Department of Labor (DOL) lot where State workers can park and walk or get a ride to their office. MyRide by GMT is available for State workers & legislators to ride from the DOL parking lot to their Montpelier offices.

Typically, during the legislative session there is an influx of cars. As we move beyond COVID, how can legislators and State workers and lobbyists get into Montpelier and move around the community?

Other satellite parking options were suggested in the design by Team Bridges, winner of the Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition: one example is near the train station at Montpelier Junction.