Sunday, May 29, 2022

Time Sensitive Petition--Pushback on City Rush to Cut Trees, Natural Areas

 Time Sensitive Petition May 29, 2022

Push back on City action to cut trees and natural areas subject in the US District Lawsuit

Please take a moment to sign:


https://chng.it/ydFKs5WRVk

Petition: TO HALT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHAMPLAIN PARKWAY
We the undersigned residents of Burlington hereby petition Mayor Miro Weinberger and the Burlington City
Council to protect our neighbors in the King Maple neighborhood, and our natural resources in Englesby Brook and the
half-mile corridor of woodlands around it, by halting construction of the Champlain Parkway until the US District Court has a
full chance to hear our concerns.





Pine Street Coalition submitted this past week a motion at VT US District Court for an injunction stopping any Parkway construction set to start July 1 until the case is decided. But Mayor Weinberger in a stealth action began cutting the trees and natural areas which are the very subject of the lawsuit!
This petition is a push back on this haste after a half century!  What's the hurry Mayor and Council?

Please sign and send to folks you know who could add their names!

Time Sensitive Petition May 29, 2022
Push back on City action to cut trees and natural areas subject in the US District Lawsuit
Please take a moment to sign:
https://chng.it/ydFKs5WRVk
Petition: TO HALT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHAMPLAIN PARKWAY
We the undersigned residents of Burlington hereby petition Mayor Miro Weinberger and the Burlington City Council to protect our neighbors in the King Maple neighborhood, and our natural resources in Englesby Brook and the half-mile corridor of woodlands around it, by halting construction of the Champlain Parkway until the US District Court has a full chance to hear our concerns.

Thanks to Carolyn Bates who prepared this clear graphic!

Thank you for your help.  Note past petitions include 647 who signed the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance petition  http://chng.it/tS9Ts5FjDx

        Tony Redington
        for Pine Street Coalition

City Cutting Trees before July Parkway Construction Start--Pine St Coalition Update May 28--Petition Likely in a Day or Two

 Alert! Alert!—City starts cutting acres trees, natural areas prior to July 1 construction start. Coalition working on a petition this weekend to push back—Coalition filed court injunction this week to stop any Parkway construction until litigation completed!  Stay tuned to this space!

Pine Street Coalition Update May 28, 2022

Pine Street Coalition Get Together Saturday, June 4, 9 a.m., Hilton Garden Inn, Dining Area, Main St (next to TD Bank) to Converse, Learn, and Discuss/Prepare High Noon June Saturday Events to Condemn Current Parkway Design, Cheer On Getting a Parkway Street We Can All Love!

With coffee and toast or bagel on the house, please join us this Saturday, June 4, to catch up on recent Pine Street Coalition actions, get a legal team update, and discuss events at high noon for Saturday June 11 at Filecase Sculpture opposite City Market South; June 18 in King Maple at Pine/Maple intersection; and June 25 at Pine St/Road to Nowhere Un-Greatful Dead End!  Please join for one or more Saturday to show support for RIGHway!

We need your help and ideas as the US District Court litigation starts after we waited around the court house door since June 6, 2019 for three years!  Now suddenly the Mayor is in a hurry and in a huff to build the hurtful, harmful Parkway!  And in spite of unanimous public hearing opposition to stop blatant environmental racial injustice in King Maple, the City sits on its hands and does nothing!  Racism is a Public Health Emergency says City Council—apparently King Maple not subject to that policy!

Note the cavernous Hilton Garden dining area off the lobby has long tables and space so social distance can be maintained.

Pine Street US District Court Filings  Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) filed a motion to stop Parkway construction until the US District Court decision on our contention of a stale obsolete base environmental document is determined.  A Court insistence on an sound environmental document or Parkway design reflecting laws, regulations and policies along with change on the ground since the current 2009 environmental document means a Parkway can become a street our community can love rather than the loathsome, decades long harmful current edition.

We must be willing to adopt a modern, safe, environmentally sensitive and equitable  shortened roadway while safely serving along the entire corridor in equal measure all who walk and bike—an equality and complete street and corridor!  Simply the 2009 foundation environmental document is stale and obsolete!  

    Champlain Elementary Students Join the RIGHTway Cause

Important news! The late additional statements to the Court this week regarding the injunction to stop construction include two Champlain Elementary School fifth graders from a science program who state their concerns over loss of habitat and protection of Englesby Brook (Parkway puts Englesby into a long pipe).  Science Instructor Judy Dow who also submitted an affidavit is an Abenaki and carries out experiments  and research on Englesby with a group of Champlain Elementary students as part of their learning experience.

Add a thorough statement by one of our original presentation team members and proponent of a linear park/natural preservation area (including Englesby), architect Diane Gayer.

The Coalition injunction motion emphasizes the irreparable damage to the natural resources of the corridor including: (1) cutting of trees and natural areas; (2) permanent racial and low income blatant injustice, for example, placing signals in the core of King Maple  community of color; (3) waste of money; (4) ending connectivity from Pine Street to Queen City Park Rd for all modes; (5) installing six injury generating traffic signals which add tens of thousands of gallons of added gas consumption to heat the planet; (6) jamming up already increased traffic along Lakeside Ave; (7) building about 3/4 mile of worthless roadway which the City must maintain into the future; and (8) failure to provide a single inch of safety for all ages and skills cyclists accommodation as well as not providing a single inch of pedestrian-only sidewalk—in spite of the now out of bounds $125 million investment (our RIGHTway addresses all these and more while costing less!).

City Payback of Parkway Monies No Longer an Issue

With the November 2021 Infrastructure Act, it is clear the City no longer can be placed in the position of paying even a dime back for Parkway development costs now or in the future—the claim of millions of payback which clouded City Council action on the Parkway was always likely a false flag.

“This is a City Project”

When pressed by two Coalition members as to why a safe, modern and equitable Parkway design was not on the drawing board, former Vermont Transportation Secretary and then candidate for governor Sue Minter replied simply “this [Parkway} is a City project.”  Minter clearly pointed her finger at Mayor Weinberger as key to any change.  Note that similar 98% federal/State and 2% city share monies were used by the City of Montpelier to fund a half mile road diet with a sidewalk along side connected to the city system, and the US 2/302 roundabout which replacing a signal system generating 45 crashes a year—the roundabout has two private commercial driveways onto the now highly safe intersection!).  That same Economic Growth Center (MEGC) in the Montpelier project is the same as for the Parkway—it is extremely flexible!  Let’s do it right the first time!


Three High Noon June Coalition Actions—Mark the Dates:

    Noon Saturday June 11 at File Case Sculpture/Flynn Ave Next to
    Flynn Coop Housing and Across from  City Market South

    Noon Saturday June 18 for a King Maple “Wave and Hello” at
    Pine St/Maple St All-way Stop Safe Intersection  Set to become a
    high speed, dangerous to all, traffic speed, Dan Burden, legendary
    urbanist said facing Mayor Weinberger at the AARP VT Workshop
    walk audit converting this intersection to a traffic signal would be a
    “huge mistake.”   Clear case of transport racism in a certified
         community of color, 32% of King Maple resident no car access!

    Noon Saturday June 25 at Pine St/Road to Nowhere Intersection
    to recognize this Un-Greatful Dead-End for all modes to access
    Queen City Park Rd and Burlington/South Burlington adjacent
    residential areas and connections to Hannaford, Lowe’s etc.



Let’s gather to express opposition to this Shamplain Parkway, and support  the RIGHTway at these June Saturday events so the US District Court gets our message as litigation begins and an injunction to stop construction is on the docket!  
WCAX covers Pine Street Coalition lawsuit May 10—report by Melissa Cooney https://www.wcax.com/2022/05/10/champlain-pkwy-opponents-seek-injunction-stop-june-construction/  Coalition injunction to stop July construction.


Thank you all for your continued support and counsel!


      Tony Redington
      Walk Safety Advocate
      for the Pine Street Coalition
 

Coalition presentation by Steve Goodkind and Tony Redington to NPA 5 RIGHTway safe approach with a pedestrian only sidewalk and bicycles only 2-way bikeway along oner 2 miles of the Parkway route including the new section from Pine though the railyard to Battery Street.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Pine Street Coalition Update on the Now $125 Million Parkway May 18--Rally Events June 11 and June 18

 Pine Street Coalition Update on the Now $125 Million Fatally Flawed Champlain Parkway—May 18, 2022


WCAX
covers Pine Street Coalition lawsuit May 10—report by Melissa Cooney https://www.wcax.com/2022/05/10/champlain-pkwy-opponents-seek-injunction-stop-june-construction/  Coalition injunction to stop July construction. Tony Redington interviewed.

Note 1: Burlington no longer has an obligation to pay back even a postage stamp to Federal Highway Administration in regard to Champlain Parkway now the Infrastructure Act signed by President Biden in November removes power to force state or locality of payback.  In fact it appears even under the old law we did not owe a dime. The Federal Highway and VTrans threat was a false flag! The Coalition has asked the City Council Transportation Committee to look into this and obtain a detailed legal opinion.

 
Note 2: Champlain Parkway which among other elements cuts King Maple neighborhood in two, lacks an inch of safe bicycle accommodation, lacks a single inch of sidewalk now reaches a cost of $125 million!  Construction cost about double long term estimates. See attached estimation.  Railroad Enterprise Project (REP) another $26 million! RIGHTway cut Parkway cost by millions!

In this update:

Pine Street Coalition Files Amended Complaint, First Steps of Injunction to Stop Any Parkway Construction as US District Court Lawsuit Begins May 16!


Call to Action Time to Take to the Streets!—Mark the Dates: Noon Saturday June 11 at File Case Sculpture/Flynn Coop Housing; and Noon Saturday June 18 for a King Maple, a “Honk and Wave” at Pine St/Maple St Intersection

Youth Movement—Champlain Elementary Englesby Brook Study Students Support RIGHTway’s Saving Acres of Trees, Englesby Brook and Natural Areas Preservation/Protection—May Testify at US District Court

Infrastructure Act signed last November deleted language allowing Federal Highway to seek any payback from Burlington for Parkway expenditures


                                   ———————————-

Pine Street Coalition Files Amended Complaint, First Steps of Injunction to Stop Any Parkway Construction as US District Court Lawsuit Begins May 16! Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) filings at US District Court this week were the first paper to move since we filed June 6, 2019. Papers were filed Monday, May 16, and include first steps for an injunction on any Parkway construction now set for July 1 until litigation ends.  The almost three year delay occurred as the City/VTrans through the now known totally empty and insulting steps to apply new Environmental Justice rules.  Yes City/VTrans ignored all the lengthy comments, meetings, etc. The City/VTrans concluded—though they had totally failed to meet the letter and spirit of the new rules (our position)—the box they checked in 2009,13 years ago, continued to be sufficient!  The 2 1/2 year process did in fact certify King Maple neighborhood a community of color but no need to change a whisker of design change. Then City/VTrans went lickety split to bid and OK’d construction ($45 million, about double budgeted) the single bid less than four months later!  An unfortunate example of government reenforcing distrust in it performance!

Call to Action Time to Take to the Streets!
—Mark the Dates: Noon Saturday June 11 at File Case Sculpture/Flynn Coop Housing; and Noon Saturday June 18 for a King Maple, a “Honk and Wave” at Pine St/Maple St Intersection Let’s gather to express our opinion on the Parkway at two June Saturday events as the US District Court mulls action to stop the July 1 Parkway construction!  We have just gone through 3 years delay as the City/VTrans went through the nothing burger on the deeply serious Environmental Justice regulations—King Maple is a blatant example of transport racial injustice!  Low-income injustice too!  Let the Court know what our community thinks of the current design of the Champlain Parkway!

    Saturday June 11—Flynn Ave at Filecase Sculpture Opposite Coop

We will have speakers and exchange views and ideas on the Parkway across from City Market South End on Flynn Ave at the Filecase Sculpture.  Consider bringing a sign, help us let our District Court know we do not want this harmful, hurtful and 1950s design in an era when we want to preserve our natural areas, stop installing unsafe signals and roadway, keep our connection to SBTV, etc.  We actually thinks a sidewalk and separate and safe bicycle accommodation would be a good idea a la Vermont’s Complete Streets law (not an inch of either on the Parkway!)!  Hope to see you there!  More to come on this. Will need some volunteers to make signs, organize, etc.

    Saturday June 18—King Maple Neighborhood—Pine St/Maple St
         Intersection

A good old fashioned “honk and wave” event.  With this all-way-stop intersection we can all be reasonably safe as pedestrians—each car at the stop signs can read our signs like “No Parkway through King Maple,” “No Way for Parkway Transport Racism in King Maple!,”  “No 22% and 37% Parkway traffic jump!”  We will need some sign makers—four signs allows us to give the message to all four approaching vehicle streams!!  Parkway installs a traffic signals at this and the next intersection at King upping speeds, forcing kids to push a button and wait around to cross streets, colored lights all day and night onto adjacent housing, etc., etc.   

Youth Movement—Champlain Elementary Englesby Brook Study Students Support RIGHTway’s Saving Acres of Trees, Englesby Brook and Natural Areas Preservation/Protection—May Testify at US District Court An expert in natural areas who instructs in schools, Judy Dow who is Abenaki, has been working with group of 5th graders on scientific learning experience with adjacent Englesby Brook including how wildlife cannot traverse the Pine Street tunnel—similar to what is in the Parkway.  They students want to testify at the Court on the importance of the RIGHTway keeping Englesby out of another pipe, preservation and protection of the Brook floodway and the roughly one mile narrow natural corridor enabled by a scaled back road design between Home Ave and Lakeside Ave.


Infrastructure Act signed last November deleted language allowing Federal Highway to seek any payback from Burlington for Parkway expenditures The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill deleted language that in the past allowed Federal Highway Administration to on a discretionary basis seek repayment of federal transportation from states but only to the point of completing right-of-way purchases.  Since about 2012 Federal Highway (FHWA) and VTrans have threatened payback demand if the Champlain Parkway did not go forward—even though opponents have always sought making the project safe, climate positive, and avoid cutting King Maple neighborhood in two (to cite just three changes the Coalition seeks!).  In fact, the base right of way for the project from Shelburne Road through to Lakeside Ave was mostly obtained in the 1980s and all expenditures one planning and engineering since are not eligible for repayment!  That issue is moot since the new law deletes the power of FHWA to obtain payback of any funds spent on highway projects.


Thank you all for your continued support and counsel!


      Tony Redington
      Walk Safety Advocate
      for the Pine Street Coalition

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Parkway Update: Lawsuit, Racial Equity Dismissed, Price Doubles, Innovation Center Joins Lawsuit

 

 Pine Street Parkway US District Court Lawsuit Begins,
     Finally, May16

City Ignores King Maple Neighborhood Certified
      Community of Color with Zero Change in Parkway     
      Blatant Environmental Injustice Design After
      Almost 3 Years Public Review

City Quietly Puts Parkway to Bid—Only One Bid  
     Received Two Weeks Ago, About Doubles the
     Overall VTrans/City Estimated Total from $30
     million to as much as $60 million! (Yes, Pine Street
     RIGHTway would cut project construction costs by
     about one quarter!)

Fortieth Burlington, LLC Owner of Major Lakeside
     Office Complex, Innovation Center, joins Pine
     Street in Litigation at Vermont’s US District Court


April 2, 2022


Good Day Pine Street Grassroots Members:

Please note recent highlights as the Champlain Parkway moves from an almost three year delay to apply new Environmental  Justice regulations (not a whisker of change in the harmful Parkway design!) to the Pine Street US District Court lawsuit filed June 6, 2019 (D-Day).  And the apparent ill-timed rush to Parkway construction by the Mayor Weinberger administration. The one bid received March 18 signals a doubling of estimated construction costs!  The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and VTrans estimates of $30 million for construction based on a partial Parkway construction bid of $40.1 million suggests construction costs doubling to about $60 million!

If you have not yet signed the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance petition to support our joint Champlain RIGHTway, please take a moment to visit the petition site provided at the end of this message.  And continue to encourage our City Councilors and Legislative representatives to push for the exciting RIGHTway and its benefits (and save up to 25% of the construction estimate!) instead of the current harmful to the South End design!

When asked the question of who makes the decisions on the Parkway, one is reminded of a conversation between then former Secretary of Transportation Sue Minter following a campaign appearance in her campaign for governor when she told Pine Street leader Jack Daggitt in response to questions about the Parkway design, she responded simply “this is a City project!”  Minter herself is said to have nixed roundabouts in the project in a 2015 meeting.  Still, the point she makes is the Mayor of Burlington is the key person in decisions making regarding the Champlain Parkway.  The Parkway is a City project!!

    Tony Redington
        Walk Safety Advocate
    for the Pine Street Coalition


 


Pine Street Parkway US District Court Lawsuit Begins,
     Finally, May16


Grassroots volunteer Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) filed at US District Court here in Burlington on D-Day June 6, 2019 with the purpose of stopping the obsolete, harmful Champlain Parkway design and obtaining a re-design which responds to safety for all modes, addresses climate change, and most important, relieves not adds to the overburden for King Maple neighborhood.  The City now opposes and always has the current design cutting in two the now certified community of color King Maple and adding 22-37% more traffic and installing two injury generating traffic signals to an already overburdened low-income, community of color area.  

Now the plaintiffs, Pine Street and Fortieth Burlington, LLC, Innovation Center owner face off with the City, VTrans and Federal Highway Administration with first legal brief filings due by May 16.   

City Ignores King Maple Neighborhood Certified
      Community of Color with Zero Change in Parkway     
      Blatant Environmental Injustice Design After Almost 3
      Years Public Review

It remains puzzling after almost three years and a unanimous strong public hearing opposition and comments against the Parkway cutting through the now certified King Maple neighborhood as a community of color—just why not a whisker of design change in this overburdened neighborhood where 32% of residents have no car access and are pedestrian dependent?

A major change this year is the National Roadway Safety Strategy document from the US Department of Transportation (January 2022)

https://www.transportation.gov/NRSS

This policy document calls for a “Safe System Approach” and “Safe System Intersections” (primarily roundabouts) to transport funding to address “preventable” serious and fatal roadway injuries—there are at least 21,000 preventable fatalities each year on US roads, about 30 in Vermont.  (US plunged from first in world road safety in 1990 to18th today, ped deaths up 51% since 2010 with two recorded in Burlington.)

The new national strategy expressly makes both racial/low-income equity and climate change the two vital companion objectives in safety spending. The National Roadway Safety Strategy ties directly to 2021 Executive Orders https://www.transportation.gov/NRSS/SafetyEquityClimate  EO 13985 on Equity and EO 14008 on Climate Change.

It is difficult to conceive of a roadway investment in Vermont which could be more damaging to racial and low income equity and the climate than the current design of the Champlain Parkway!

City Quietly Puts Parkway to Bid—Only One Bid  
     Received Two Weeks Ago, About Doubles the
     Overall VTrans/City Estimated Total from $30 million to
     as much as $60 million! (Yes, Pine Street RIGHTway
     would cut project construction costs by about one
     quarter!)


On March 18, Burlington opened the one bid for construction of just part of the Champlain Parkway between Main Street and Home Avenue—that bid, reportedly $40.1 million alone exceeds the $30 million City estimates on the books for about three years.  The $40.1 million when added some time in the future of the balance of the Parkway from Shelburne Rd to Home Ave (“Road to Nowhere”) means the current Parkway design will double to about $60 million the current estimates.  

This number also calls into question the $20 million estimate for the Railroad Enterprise Project (REP) which just about all in the City favor being built first to bypass the King Maple neighborhood already overburdened with traffic, pollution, and social disruption of high traffic volumes.  The City is responsible for 100% of REP costs over $20 million.

Some say the Weinberger administration ill-timed bid maneuver was to avoid facing the court challenge and avoid a possible injunction stopping construction.  That occurred at US District Court in the Circumferential Highway lawsuit when VTrans let contracts followed by the Court rejected the environmental document and the project died—same issue here with the Parkway?  

Fortieth Burlington, LLC Owner of Major Lakeside Office
     Complex, Innovation Center, joins Pine Street in

     Litigation at Vermont’s US District Court


It is news that the owner of Innovation Center on Lakeside Avenue took action recently to also oppose at US District Court the current Parkway design and seek a quality, modern South End transport facility which is safe, addresses climate change (Efficiency Vermont was a longtime tenant) and corrects the overburden for the low-income and community of color King Maple neighborhood.
Pine Street and Innovation Center have worked closely in the past in regulatory and State courts to obtain a responsible Parkway design.

Attached please note a simple example of a street, a dedicated bikeway, and sidewalk.  This is the type of design Pine Street and Vermont Racial Justice Alliance call for between Queen City Park Rd to Home Avenue and from Home Avenue to Flynn Ave.  It is the RIGHTway!  It is “doing it right the first time!”

Please stay safe!

    Yours truly,


    Tony Redington
    for the Pine Street Coalition

 


 

 

What can you do?

Sign the Stop the Champlain Parkway Project and Choose the Champlain RIGHTway Petition: http://chng.it/tS9Ts5FjDx   SafeStreetsBurlington.com

 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Povertyville Section of Vermont--Time for Historic Burlington-Winooski Axis Urban Renew to String of Pearls?

4/9/2021 Draft Burlington-Winooski, the Two Centuries Old Historic Economic Axis Engine Declines to Vermont’s Povertyville Section—Ready for Renewal from the 1980-to-Date Devolution towards a String of Urban Pearls for the 21st Century? …A future Burlington-Winooski as a Shining 15-Minute Shangri-La Urban Corridor “The gods of the valleys are not the gods of the hills” Ethan Allen 1770 “There must be a radical redistribution of political and economic power in this nation and in this town” Mark Hughes, director of the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance speaks as Burlington officials and 30 organizations declare “Racism a Public Health Emergency” July 2020 The Current Burlington-Winooski Axis Decline Extends Back Decades Since the early 1980s about every Vermont major economic indicator save the education export economy crept slowly down or stagnated in Vermont. This mirrored the trends of loss of good paying manufacturing jobs which spurred the post-World Ward II economy upward ending about 1980 then moving to decline—what significant real growth incomes occurred in the last four decades in the slow-growth states of the northeast and mid-west rust belts tilted to the well-to-do. This recent trend impact on the historic economic centuries old engine of Vermont represented by the Burlington waterfront to Winooski City riverside “axis” has been most pronounced and profound. During both the post-World War economic boom ending about 1980, subsequent decline population and wealth shifted away from built-up Burlington and Winooski to the suburbs and rural Chittenden County towns. For almost two centuries the two cities remained the economic engine of Vermont but since the 1980s their role faded. For Vermont, the 1960s investments by then Governor Hoff in being the first state in the nation to buy their critical major rail operator (the Rutland Railroad) and literally birthing the ski industry with two unprecedented major speculative public ski road investments—helped the state avoid the empty storefronts and dominating skeletons of former manufacturing facilities as the 1980s and 1990s progressed. Springfield in 1960 was the home of a major portion of the machine tool industry of the nation! A critical player in the manufacturing industry of the day. The Springfield incomes of a unionized workforce were the highest in the state and the slow but sure economic decline as the industry atrophied left the community begging a state prison to rescue its depressed economy. Compared to northeastern New York and all Maine except for the area a two hour drive from the Boston metro, Vermont faired relatively fairly well only because of the ski/tourism and educational economic sectors growth until the plateau of the ski economy in the 1990s followed by education plateau in student numbers beginning in 2010. For Vermont that buffering of economic and social stagnation arose from the baby boom education bulge in its colleges during the 1990s and first decade of this century which plateaued in 2010 and now succumbs to the demographic collapse of college age population. And yes that boomers boomers were the first ski generation. The education industry future seems even more murky as record lows in birth rates in the northeast and nationally continue. Not even mentioning distance learning and the competitive disadvantage of norther New England state universities with the highest tuitions in the nation. Private St. Michael’s College, for example, planned ahead for the student bust and carefully with full participation of the college community managed the 16% decline from 1,900 students a decade ago to the 1,600 today. UVM and the State colleges systems did not plan—as is obvious now—as educational bankruptcy measures are in place for the state colleges and UVM’s modest 3% drop in students in fall 2020 signals the first statistical slight downtrend dating back to the peak year 2010. UVM’s current approach to the future appears unplanned and undirected. The drop of direct employment by IBM in Essex Junction of about 8,000 at its peak in the 1980s to now about 2,300 at successor Global Foundries—still the State’s largest private employer—gives the best evidence of the past and continued manufacturing decline. UVM rates as the largest Vermont employer excepting state government itself. The pandemic has given all a pause to reflect on our economic and social history, and ask the question where do we in Burlington Winooski “axis” go from here in a predominantly rural state where among many challenges is the requirement to sharply reduce non-renewable resources to stop global warming? Of course, Vermont never really possessed non-renewable energy resources in the first place. Note that over half the Vermont non-renewable resource consumption centers on petroleum fuels used to power the motor vehicle dominated transport sector. Longer History View and Recent Arrival of “Povertyville” To ask the question where do we go from here, consider Vermont and most important the driving engine throughout our history being primarily the story of the economy of Burlington and Winooski. Those two communities began with transportation centered along the Burlington waterfront accessing markets by water and Winooski riverside manufacturing production driven by the Winooski River waterpower. The Burlington waterfront where transportation to markets occurred was centered—first just to the lake and northward to Canada, then with the Erie and Champlain Canals accessing markets south the New York City and the west in the 1820s, then amplified by the arrival of the railroads in the mid-1800s, finally redirected into the “modern” highway oriented economy with the completed interstates here in 1982. That original economic engine spread from the Burlington waterfront to the Winooski falls area—more or less defined today by the King Maple neighborhood and Old North End (ONE) in Burlington onto really the entire geographically small Winooski City itself, where former manufacturing along the riverside drew from the immediate residential areas fanning outward to that City’s borders. It is fair to say that Burlington/Winooski with its waterfront as a harbor for exchange and movement of goods along the the manufacturing along its own and adjoining Winooski mills not only became the “economic spine” of the Vermont economy during Ethan Allen era ending about 1800, but also became a permanent dominant economic fixture of the state. First, reflecting the changing economy during the era of waterborne traffic until the railroads came into prominence, then the auto age emergence early last century followed by the interstate. Ironically, the completion of the interstate coincided with the overall crest and shortly thereafter relative stagnation of the Vermont economy which endures today—the Burlington Winooski axis being the primary victim. From the beginning of the interstate era the historical “spine of the Vermont economy,” Burlington and Winooski population and influence declined. Once the majority of Chittenden County population, Burlington now amounts to less than a quarter—both Winooski and Burlington populations outside of Burlington’s New North End have been in decline for decades. Again, a surge of students population growth from 1990 to the present day helped to mask this population downtrend trend. From 2000 to 2010, the Burlington population small population growth was entirely attributable to the increase in the college age numbers along with a small but important immigrant population of New Americans. The slow deterioration in Vermont through suburban carcentricity was mirrored by the decline of historic built-up Burlington and Winooski into a poverty belt. Today Census data shows King Maple/Old North End/Winooski City feature poverty rates of residents of 26-29% compared to under 12% for Chittenden County and Vermont. This poverty belt seems an unlikely candidate for a caterpillar to butterfly transformation—but that is the very opportunity which appears to exist through undertaking some key public investments today. These investments do not differ a great deal from the kind of investments which led to the successful transitions in the past, including those of Ethan and Ira Allen period themselves. And one must not forget the native American population which Ethan himself engaged with in his full lonely winters near Salisbury trapping furs to take back each spring to sell in order to support his family back home in Massachusetts. (Little wonder Allen stood up for his Indian allies when all were captured in the ill-fated foray to capture Montreal and his subsequent imprisonment as an enemy combatant by the British.) Housing The renewal of the historic Burlington-Winooski corridor remains central to this thesis in order to repair, remediate and expedite a natural economic and community potential ignored for decades. That both transportation and housing elements are key to this process can no longer be ignored. The decision to expand bike lanes and shift road space away from parking has been well underway now for years. Those changes are significant and show a change in community viewpoints but still incremental—in the right direction but only point to the larger issue of community renewal requiring a far more extensive change in transportation infrastructure combined with changes in housing. Housing programming must address the low and moderate income. Housing is not a subject here but the raising of the issue nationally and in Vermont to a priority is a clear indicator that transportation change must also be matched by making safe and sanitary housing available to all regardless of income. That President Biden and Vice-President Harris who proposed universal housing vouchers (30% income rent max) is an encouraging sign of kind of movement critical in the housing area. Enter the 15-Minute City Approach to Urban Design, Urban Life Transportation and land use go together—it was the lake as a transportation mode and waterpower of the Winooski River as a power source for manufacture that created with the presence of developable land adjacent the Burlington-Winooski axis in the first place. Consider for a moment past compact community design thinking in town and city planning. Creating complete new towns and idealized city designs became a cottage industry in the late 1800s in England with “Garden Cities of Tomorrow” by UKer Ebenezer Howard the leading proponent and movement leader who actually built more than one “new town.” Several more have been built since in a practice that can be found now scattered across the globe in one form or another. Reston, VA near Washington was one such American “new town” experimental community developed in the 1960s. Howard ’s base design involved a circular community with a one-mile radius featuring a public “white palace” and park in the center with rings outward of retail/commercial, housing, and heavy industry with rail—passenger and freight—at the periphery. All told 30,000 residents would live within the “garden city”—slice off the New North End, compact the rest around the waterfront here in Burlington and that is not so far off from the “garden city” concept and population. What is important is the garden city was accessible to just about everyone on foot, easily accessible when you add provision today for light rail and bicycles. Cars which consume about 25% of urban lands today in satisfying parking and road street needs prevented compact development worldwide. Just the opposite, particularly in America. The car age and pro-car policies and subsidies for homeownership jointly produced American sprawl since World War II. Canada is a perfect counterpoint as their urban areas are at least half again more dense, explained in great part because Canada does not subsidize either homeownership or cars. Canada levies a $1 Cdn per gallon of gasoline, a national tax used for general fund purposes—it has no federal highway program. It has no significant homeownership help. The U.S. has used its under 50 cent gas tax to support the highway system! The U.S. sprawl was created by intentional public policies and expenditures! The garden city from an urban planner perspective really is the pre-cursor to the “15 minute city” ideas advocated by urban planners today—to the extent feasible meet as many human needs within a 15 minute walk/bike/transit trip within a small geographic area (see https://www.15minutecity.com ) Burlington-Winooski: Pedestrians, Environmental Justice, Remediation and Structural Redesign There exists a confluence of forces making the Burlington-Winooski poverty corridor, Povertyville, ripe for a hoped for community transformation and renewal. The corridor already has in place a significant density, an historic rail network radiating in three directions from the Burlington waterfront. Except for re-establishing light rail in a configuration not that dissimilar to that of a past trolley history, a safe walkable/bikable/transitable area is easily installed. The major barriers to transportation the in Burlington and Winooski “poverty corridor” remain like most older urban center lack of walkability, about century removed from trolley service, and presence of numerous, dangerous/delaying new fangled traffic signals. Until this century with the late in the game U.S. use of the modern roundabout technology using stone age materials, little was done to repair the car-ravaged urban environment of modern America. Simply for decades to accommodate the car we wiped out existing urban space, much of it to park cars and build parking garages. Older urban space increasingly became the home of low income and BIPOC populations—symbolized by the traffic signal which when compared to a modern roundabout, especially kills, injures, delays pedestrians and overall pollutes, uglifies and heats the planet. The forces today at work include emergency demands for reductions of non-renewable resources both because they are unavailable in states like Vermont and because of commitments at all governmental levels to reduce consumption of them in order to stop the increasing world temperatures rising with just the continuation of status quo. That half Vermont use of non-renewables sits in the transport sector dominated by the car and clearly reigning in car subsidies—particularly parking and general government funds—means transportation will be a continuing dominant element of public policy in regard to global warming. Cutting car subsidies and homeownership subsidies which promulgated sprawl are not enough. There must also be a commitment to safe, energy efficient transportation—read transit, walking and bicycling which only thrive in relatively dense corridors and communities. The old urban areas and corridors have all the ingredients to respond to the demands and opportunities for a reduced carbon life—in a word the densities already exist there. High densities, transit services such as they are, and potential for walkabilitating through use of roundabouts are obvious. Except for the Church Street Marketplace neither Burlington or Winooski score particularly well on walkability—the 20 high crash state intersections mostly in the Old North and downtown alone testify to that. It was the very threat of cutting King Maple in two with the Champlain Parkway which led to our understanding of how the traffic signal in built up areas becomes a weapon of economic, social, and racial injustice—and the converse principle—how to reverse the historic destruction of livability forced onto the urban fabric by accommodation of the car through traffic signals which in turn literally injures the low income/BIPOC residents at higher rates than whites and embodies the context of both unlivable urban space as well as heightened incentives for use of motor fuels on most to move to lower density areas. In a word transportation inefficiency—read poor walking, biking and transit conditions—worked and works now directly opposite to efficient density and energy/resource use reduction which only density can provide! So the now two-year process of Environmental Justice discussion of the Champlain Parkway leads to an understanding of both the opportunity to renew Povertyville, but also its absolute necessity. That absolute necessity does mean a makeover of transit too, primarily in the form of light rail infrastructure! Without light rail combined with density there can be no successful economic renewal and only a continued shift of population to other northeastern metro areas who will have solved the transportation/energy equation. Nationally in a slow but sure fashion light rail has begun to return to major urban areas. It is the arch enemy of the car! Nearby, when Vermonters are allowed in Montreal again they will see nearly completed light rail line ready for use next year, the current $6 billion project already is set for a $10 billion expansion! Beginning in 2022 one no longer will have to drive onto Montreal island, no longer have to braves the wilds of to get to Trudeau International Airport. Just jump on the automatic light rail line at the large retail complex the Vermont side of the Champlain Bridge and safely, quickly, and comfortably travel to downtown, Trudeau Airport and a dozen other locations. See map and schedule—Brossard southern terminus to downtown set to open in 2022: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9seau_express_m%C3%A9tropolitain Base information: https://rem.info/en/light-rail Already being expanded: https://www.rtands.com/rail-news/extended-light-rail-line-in-montreal-will-be-one-of-the-longest-in-the-world/ Burlington along with adjoining towns went through a light rail study in the 1990s with an agreed on first step a line between the waterfront and UVM/UVMMC via the Marketplace. Extensions to the airport and University Mall and even to Essex Jct. via Winooski were examined. The base cost of the first section from waterfront to UVM/UVMCC was about $80 million—not much different than the current $109 million planned investment in the Champlain Parkway. So, initial studies were undertaken and preferred routes determined for light rail in the 1990s. Has anything changed in the City since? Economically, socially, population, etc. Other than the trends outlined here what have been the changes—(1) increase, plateau then declines in college students; (2) stagnant “povertyville corridor” population and incomes; (3) regular decline in primary tech jobs reflected in transition from IBM to Global Foundries; and (4) Chittenden County population growth almost entirely outside Burlington and Winooski cities boundaries. One other trend is important to note. While senior population remained about 12% of the Vermont population through 2010, the major change in demographics—senior population doubling to 1 in 4 residents by 2030 and non-senior population declines (only in Chittenden County does non-senior population remain relatively constant). The statewide population rapidly slowing growth turned shifted into a slight decline 2010-2020. The implication is quite clear, only bringing in a significant change in direction of public investment can one expect these trends to suddenly change—particularly as far as the historic Burlington-Winooski corridor. Systemic change was demanded at inflection points the 200-plus years of the Burlington/Winooski axis and systemic change is required today. There must be a working with neighboring towns, a collaborative effort to change the economic and community structure of the still dominant economic driver of Vermont, the Burlington-Winooski axis. Some Thoughts on Light Rail Routes A complete background on Burlington trolley services history, the 1990s study and future potential along with exploration of the “bus rapid transit” (BRT) fad, can be found here in a paper prepared at the time of the last City Transportation Plan (dated 2011). https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/sites/default/files/Burlington_Streetcar_Briefing_Report_FINAL.pdf (BRT is notoriously expensive, energy inefficient and consumes wide swaths of urban land.) The original trolley routes were, first, Burlington waterfront to Winooski along North Winooski and Riverside which for the first few years in the 1880s were horse drawn then electrified. A line was added out along North Avenue to Ethan Allen Park, a Main Street line to UVM, and the Winooski line eventually extended to the rail connection at Essex Junction. The 1990s study included a connection to the airport as an important potential line. The study was very much in isolation without consideration of economic trends, demographics or the faintest hint of a non-carcentric community design—the idea of light rail was an add-on, a very expensive extravagance. Discussions during both the Railroad Enterprise District, recent Pine Street Coalition outreach on Champlain Parkway design and the North Avenue Corridor Plan process found significant support for a north-south light rail line, something not considered in the 1990s plan. In purely historical and community development, the prime high rail line would repeat the Burlington waterfront to downtown Winooski. That would directly address the Burlington-Winooski axis, i.e., Vermont Povertyville. The “Winooski line” would move through the Marketplace via College, then along North Winooski Ave, Riverside Ave and at Colcheter turn left to Winooski downtown. The natural waterfront to UVM-UVMMC also starts for a block or so with the Winooski line then ascends. The question is whether this line is shifted over to Main Street (a 1990s route suggested) and onto University Mall and new South Burlington “downtown.” The third line would follow the suggested north-south route from Flynn School at the north end to the South Burlington border at Pine street then very likely along Perimeter Road southward through KMart Plaza, Palace Theater, etc. Walkability, Racism and Remediation of ONE, King Maple and Winooski Downtown Light rail for the Burlington-Winooski axis is not an add-on but part of a larger multi-modal redesign starting on walkability and safety on the streets. The pedestrian mode remains the apartheid mode when it comes to street engineering and the task of remediation of this in Povertyille remains very much both a transportation undertaking and one to repair decades of transportation racism still a daily experience for the BIPOC and low income who comprise a large segment of this and other older Vermont urban spaces. Weekly in Burlington a pedestrian or cyclist suffers an injury in a car crash in addition to two crash injuries to car occupants. Nationally the U.S. road fatality pandemic amounts to 21,000 excess deaths in a nation once first, now 18th in highway safety—Burlington experiences one fatality on its streets every three years, the majority since 1998 pedestrians (3) and cyclists (1). Discussed elsewhere, the 20 high crash Burlington intersections, all but one signalized and concentrated in Povertyville each average 1.5 injuries yearly and account for 28 injuries a year while five downtown Vermont roundabouts, the new standard intersection, record about one injury a decade, all non serious in the first 52 years recorded. The point is the renewal of the Burlngton-Winooski corridor depends on both integration of a light rail network but also reparations and remediation to the area which has suffered decades of pollution and high rates of pedestrian, bike and vehicle injuries. And the victims in Povertyville of discrimination in the apartheid mode, walking, continue to be disproportionately people with black and brown skins. Tony Redington TonyRVT99@gmail.com @TonyRVT60 TonyRVT.blogspot.com A walk safety advocate, Redington is a policy development specialist with 20 years experience with the NH and VT state transportation agencies, author of several transportation research papers including some on the subject of modern roundabouts, and five years as a statewide housing planner and director of the New Hampshire Housing Commission. Since moving to Burlington in 2011 has lived car free. An Aside—Mostly Living the 15-Minute City 1976 to Date Except for about four years 1980-1984 when residing in suburb 6 miles from Concord, NH, have lived the 15-Minute City life in Concord, NH, Montpelier, VT, San Francisco (North Beach), Montreal (adjacent Atwater Metro, cycle track network) and now Burlington (within a block of the Marketplace). In all locations shopped within two-three blocks from just about all basic needs ranging from food stores, shopping, schools, employment, etc. In all that time generally never used a car to travel to work, most all vacations from 1990s on via Amtrak and extended public transit (mostly in Canada’s metro areas), and mostly (like today) within a few feet of a bus stop, a few blocks to a transit center. In Burlington, Montpelier, San Francisco and Montreal presence of a major supermarket or two was critical to the 15-minute life along with a job. In all four cities a car was not only no needed, it was relatively useless and not cost effective. Yes, the bicycle fills in the “mobility” need year round except in 0 degree weather. And as important our family learned the 15 minute life experience in Montpelier, how to use public transit, and how to live carless. Living and modeling the 15-minute City life can be inherited! So to me, the 15-minute City has been most of my adult life—it certainly was the bulk of my life growing up in Keene, NH where most years I lived within a few blocks downtown and all schools including high school. My favorite grades 1-2-3 were spent about 2 blocks from two doors north of Union Street to Court Street to School Street. Home to middle school was about six blocks and to high school varied from a couple of blocks to a half mile. All Keene home addresses were less than six blocks from the central shopping district on Main Street. Until college except for one year in the suburbs, the 15-minute life! Interestingly Keene is now home to five going onto seven roundabouts likely the highest concentration of any New England city. The historic traffic circle there—Central Square—is now bounded at the other end of the commercial/retail Main Street by a neat two-lane roundabout which acts as a gateway to the downtown and Keene State College with a the post office on one corner and the College on another—downtown three north south Main Street sidewalks on its way to renewed walkability. Tony Redington