Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Champlain Parkway and Amtrak St. Albans/Montreal

The Burlington Walk Bike Council last Thursday March 24 unanimously voted to send a letter of support on the Champlain Parkway and Pine Street Corridor Re-Design along the Guidelines of the new Pine Street Coalition.  The Pine Street Coalition (PSC) now takes the lead from the Safe Streets Burlington group with the sole purpose of stopping the current destructive design and carrying out a Re-Design that meets the highway standards of today and meets the needs of the South End neighborhood rather than fulfilling the dream of a freeway around Burlington still central in the current Parkway design.  Key to the re-design are separate, safe walk and bike facilities through the corridor and roundabouts (the "intersection safety belt") at new and key intersections.

For more information:

Pine Street Coalition website has maps, uipdates on a Champlain Parkway re-design: Also see

Meanwhile the saga of connecting Amtrak from St. Albans to Montreal goes on while a bus connection which could be established immediately remains on the shelf thereby costing money and leaving Vermont residents out in the cold from using a rail/bus connection to Montreal.   Here are my comments posted on the 7 Days website this morning to the Amtrak article:

Based on Vermont Transit Montreal-St Albans connection for several years service between the Vermonter train St. Albans-Montreal, VT losses out on $1 million a year plus about 30,000 added passengers through VT--the State could charter a bus service today and Vermonters would also get a chance to take the train/bus to Montreal which they always opted for in the past in most cases rather than the "pure" bus run. Basically this is another case of malign neglect by State government while pandering to folks for decades about a through train. Realize it has taken about 20 years to extend service just from Rutland to Burlington. Tony Redington Blog:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Champlain Parkway and Pine Street Corridor Redesign Guidelines

These Guidelines were just released by Safe Streets Burlington and the Pine Street Coalition, a basic approach to changes sought to the current Champlain Parkway design...


 “Shape a safe and complete streets project for a livable community as well as enabling a thriving business and arts center” 

 Cities evolve and so must their transportation systems. The South End highway project—once part of a long abandoned freeway encircling Burlington and subsequently up-dated--still fails to serve the City’s residents. First called the “Southern Connector” and more recently the “Champlain Parkway,” the project requires a reconceptualization to incorporate safety, street connectivity, a reduction in intersection delay, and to support pleasant walk and bike-ability. With these improvements, the corridor can enhance our burgeoning South End Arts District and associated businesses. Over the last year, City residents in the Save Streets Burlington Coalition (SSB) have met among themselves and with City officials, eventually formulating the following “Champlain Parkway and Pine Street Corridor Redesign Guidelines” (Guidelines). 

While specific details will require the work of experts, these principles reflect our collective vision of streets supporting livable communities. When the initial thoroughfare was planned in the 1960s, it incorporated a “speed-the-car” logic. The current Parkway design remains committed to that outdated concept. Worse, the $43 million current Parkway design moves away from both safe street and complete street principles. These better principles are reflected in recent public discussions, Plan BTV Downtown and Plan BTV South End, the North Avenue Corridor Plan, the recent preliminary Railyard studies. the 2014 recommendations of the city's Walk Bike Council, and the City Walk Bike Master Plan now nearing conclusion. The current Parkway plan contravenes each of these studies. In January 2016, SSB issued a White Paper which identified South End road needs as beginning with separate walk and bike facilities, environmental sensitivity along this sensitive lake-front area, and overall livability. It prioritized safety—minimizing highway injuries and fatalities—and called for roundabouts rather than signaled intersections. These briefer “Champlain Parkway and Pine Street Corridor Redesign Guidelines” do not attempt a detailed prescription but set a starting point and identify essential planning principles to guide any final design. Robust public discussion must be a component as the design phase continues to address integration of mass transit along the Pine Street corridor, traffic facilitation on the Pine/King and Pine/Maple intersections, and preservation of existing businesses and rail activity. 

Design Guideline: Bottom of Pine Street to Flynn Avenue The present Parkway design reduces the roadway to one lane in each direction with a median on the section west of Shelburne Road. While this works, there’s a flaw. What’s needed at Pine Street is an intersection that avoids barricading off this important north/south corridor from points south so access to Queen City Park Road and the Kmart lot and other area businesses is

Pine Street Coalition Forms to Re-Design Champlain Parkway

Pine Street Coalition forms to Re-design Champlain Parkway Following a February public event a new group, the Pine Streets Coalition (PSC), aiming at re-designing the Champlain Parkway to meet the needs of the South End and the City. The Pine Street Coalition naturally grew out of Safe Streets Burlington (SSB) which undertook the first tasks to identify the defects in the current Parkway design, looked into alternatives, and organized a major February event, “Let's Do It Right,” where for the first time since 2006 a full exploration the issues with the Parkway and open ended public discussion took place. Both PSC and SSB developed Parkway re-design guidelines and PSC has prepared maps outlining the changes in design which makes the Parkway and Pine Street $43 million investment responsive to roadway and neighborhood practice today, distinct from the dominant freeway thinking of the 1950s encapsulated in the current Parkway design. That freeway thinking remained completing a freeway ring road around the City which practically erased the the waterfront area an divided the Old North End in two. First and foremost design approaches today stress safety for those who walk, bike, and travel by car. Both PSC and SSB stress the current Parkway design results in higher injury rates. Instead of creating the barricades to access contained in the current Parkway design, the PSC calls for maintaining and expanding connectivity throughout the Parkway and Pine Streets corridors. The PSC takes savings from the Parkway re-design and invests in upgrading the lower part of Pine Street south of Lakeside Avenue into a complete street. The Pine Street Coalition will continue their educational and community contact efforts going forward and seek new resident members and partners from businesses and others throughout the South End and the City with concerns and connections to the effects of bringing new thinking and design to the Parkway project. Presenters at that February event and members of the newly formed PSC include long time Burlington Public Works Department director Steve Goodkind, Diane Gayer of the Vermont Design Institute, retired professor and Neighborhood Planning Assembly Steering Committee member Charles Simpson, and safe streets and roundabout advocate Tony Redington. For information about the Pine Street Coalition see the website: Safe Streets Coalition website:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Answer to Complaint of Too Many Roundabouts

In a Charlotte Observer blog, the writer complained about having to deal with several roundabouts on the way to work. To this, the following comments were made today: Drivers only think the roads and intersections are for them--and the young do not necessarily consider seniors are particularly vulnerable at signs or signals intersection because of reduced depth perception which comes with age. I agree--and a Japanese study shows--drivers quickly figure out they like being protected making left turns at a roundabout but have traded off a little extra time to make a through movements or a right hand turn. Half of all senior driver fatals occur at intersections and roundabouts cut total serious and fatals by about 90%. AARP supports conversion of signals to roundabouts as a result. Those on foot? Well, over 4,000 North American roundabouts and since the first roundabout in 1990 not a single pedestrian fatal to date! Since 1990 when the U.S. and the U.K. were tied fro first in highway safety, the U.S. has slid to 19th with the U.K. and Sweden tied for first--compared to those two nations we have 13,000 excess highway deaths out of 30,000 plus per year. You can say, "thank you" to each roundabout you circle for giving you and yours the gift of intersection safety!