Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Parkway Dead in Water -- Environmental Document Rescinded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 19, 2019  
Pine Street Coalition Tony Redington 343-6616
Post Office Box 8726 Steve Goodkind 316-6045
Burlington, VT 05402 Charles Simpson 865-5110

BURLINGTON—The Pine Street Coalition wins a round against the Champlain 
Parkway as federal officials rescind the environmental document stopping all
further expenditures and significantly delaying construction. 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on October 11 in the Federal Register 
cancels the 2009 Parkway environmental document in part to allow 
“environmental justice” examination under new regulations, agreeing with the grass
roots Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) that regulations adopted since 2009 must now
focus on the low income/minority King Maple neighborhood Parkway impacts.  

“No  funds can be spent on the Parkway without an environmental document is in
place,” said Tony Redington, a Coalition leader.   He said in a FHWA November 8
filing with U.S. District Court (Court) in Burlington delays any further actions at Cour until early January and FHWA promises a decision at that time of a further delay of 
up to three months.

“Environmental justice” rules say a finding of a disproportionate impact of a federal
highway project on a low income/minority neighborhood requires minimizing 
those impacts.  The Coalition charges last year and in its June Court filing
detailed disproportionate impacts of the Parkway on the King Maple neighborhood.
Because no environmental justice case in a small state like Vermont has occurred,
the Parkway review is being done by a panel in the U.S. Department of
Transportation.  Former City Engineer and Department of Public Works Director
Steve Goodkind, a Coalition leader, said the City strongly objected to the Pine
Street route though the King Maple neighborhood throughout.  “We fought long and
 hard on the Parkway alternatives and on our concerns of harm to the King Maple
 neighborhood from the current choice—the City advocated for the Battery Street
connection bypassing the neighborhood but FHWA would not listen,” Goodkind said.

The Coalition filed its Court case against the current Parkway in June and seeks a full
redesign of the roadway.  The grassroots group of over 150 seeks a new design 
process based on the claim the 2009 environmental document is stale, obsolete and

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Selected Comments Against Current Champlain Parkway Design--Envionmental Justice Outreach

Burlington residents speak out against the Champlain Parkway current
design: some comments submitted as part of the Environmental Justice
Outreach Meeting September 26, 2019 

Note the complete statements of these commenters below can be viewed at TonyRVT.blogspot.com 

Next Pine Street Coalition Meeting, 9:30 a.m. Wednesday October 30, Krestel Coffee (formerly Maglianero), Maple Street between So. Champlain and Battery 

Diane Elliott Gayer ...There needs to be a new EIS study.  The conditions that the engineering and landscape design are based on have dramatically changed.  There are [m]any traffic and environmental conditions that will be worse with this current plan.

1. Do NOT dead-end Pine Street at South Burlington.  Make the connection to 189 a roundabout facility.
..3. Do NOT design the Parkway for high-speed clearances and then post it for low-speed travel.  This does not work...4. End the Parkway at Flynn Avenue...5. Develop a coherent plan for King and Maple Streets before shoving more traffic through the intersections...

Carolyn Bates, Carolyn Street ...Now this project must undergo an environmental justice review. This means the project planners must show that the project will not have a disproportionate impact on low income and minority neighborhoods like mine.

I think it does have a horrifically huge discrepancy and impact. This project must be stopped NOW, and never go forward.  Look at your own projected chart on the volume of traffic in the multi page handout you gave to us.  It is on Pg  27.  Wealthy neighborhoods have a reduction of 72% and 56% in traffic.  Lakeside, with some low income people, has an increase in 9%.

Our neighborhood of King and Maple, has 37% increase at Maple St and Pine and another 22% on King and Pine. It is the second poorest neighborhood in Burlington, with 200 section 8 people, and at least 21housing projects. It also has a huge population of non-English speaking African Americans...

James Lockridge, Maple Street ...I also wish there were roundabout-style intersections at King and Maple Streets, which keep polluting vehicles moving past homes rather than idling in front of them, and are known to be safer than traffic lights for pedestrians. If any kind of roundabout fit into those intersections, it would be closer to best practices for transportation safety and neighborhood wellbeing than old fashioned traffic lights would...

Mark Hughes, ED, Burlington, Justice For All Coordinator, Vermont Racial Justice Alliance http://justiceforallvt.org...since these plans began and the adverse and disproportionate impact that this project has on one of the most diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in Burlington....We can do better and we must do it now. Stop the project and include the impacted community in planning.

Michael Long, Brookes Avenue ...With regard to the Champlain Parkway design as proposed, the projected one third increase in traffic through the King Street/Maple Street neighborhood  is incongruous and unacceptable for a project that is ostensibly intended to alleviate traffic congestion, particularly through residential neighborhoods...A 20th century road is senseless when we’re nearly two decades into the 21st century already.  

Jack Daggitt, St. Paul Street ...If a street connecting Shelburne Road and Lakeside Avenue is opened up it is foolish to think motorists will observe a 25 MPH speed limit on a smooth freshly paved surface. Without roundabouts at critical intersections we can only expect increased speed, air pollution and danger to both bicycles and pedestrians.

Shared use facilities for both bicycles and pedestrians serve the needs of neither. Bicycle need protected bike lanes not just a white stripe on a road heavily traveled by motor vehicles.

Charles Simpson, Summit Street ...New USDOT requirements include consideration of disproportionate impact on low-income and racial minority populations. The planned route will dump considerably more vehicles than at present into the Pine/Maple/King area which is well above city averages for those over 65, for racial minorities, and for low-to-moderate income residents...Our Municipal Plan calls for complete streets, which include not only separate and distinct bike and pedestrian paths, but street connectivity. The current plan for the parkway adds zero separate paths and creates dead ends on numerous streets that are now connected. The most significant of these truncated streets is the main commercial thoroughfare of the South End itself, Pine Street. This will deprive residents of essential access to the adjacent commercial district in South Burlington, including low income residents in South Meadow and will further congest Shelburne Road, making it the sole route out of the South End. Buses and emergency vehicles will be greatly limited in their routes as well as walkers, bikers, and drivers. Commercial routes from Pine Street will be cut off. This makes no sense and is retrogressive from a traffic planning perspective...

Tony Redington, North Winooski Avenue ...A closer look at King/Maple shows perfectly the direct connection between the past 30 years of highway investment and the disproportionate impacts on low income/minority populations. Our two highest proportion of low/moderate and diverse populations in the City of Burlington—the Old North End and King/Maple (both over 80% low-moderate income)—also are neighborhoods where about a third have no access to a car and therefore are dependent on walk, bicycle, and transit modes! For 30 years minority and low income areas have been neglected at all governmental levels either by design or neglect when it comes to transportation investments—the current Parkway design is the very embodiment of that practice...While residents already complain about the traffic levels and associated noise, walking discomfort and pollution, King Maple very simply must face a 29-37% increase in daily traffic as outlined in...traffic analysis...

Place to sign petition to support a new EIS/modern roadway design:

Websites: SafeStreetsBurlington.com

Note the complete statements of these commenters below can be viewed at TonyRVT.blogspot.com

Pine Street Coalition October 17, 2019

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Let the City, State and Federal Highway Administration Know Your View on the Parkway by October 10!!

For the first time since 2006 you can make your thoughts known on any aspect of the Champlain Parkway!!

Comments are due by October 10 using an address below!   

While the September 26 Outreach Meeting focused on the hurt the Parkway does by dumping 29-37% more traffic at the heart of the King/Maple Neighborhood, home to the residents with 80%+ with low incomes and a growing minority population (second highest to ONE in Burlington) comments on all aspects of the project will be accepted--non safe side walk in the $47 million project, no safe and separate bike accommodation, nothing but six climate warming high injury traffic signals instead of safe-for-all-modes roundabouts.     

Comment Period Ends October 10, 2019

Comments may be emailed to: Burl-Comments@Vermont.gov

or mailed to:
Mr. Kenneth Sikora, Jr.
Environmental Program Manager
Federal Highway Administration
87 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Champlain Parkway Hurtful Impacts on Key Pine Street King and Maple Intersections! Hearing 5:30 pm City Hall Thrus.

Sometimes you just cannot make these things up.  First, the obsolete, harmful Champlain Parkway design installs signal with high speeds at Pine/Maple and Pine/King, then northbound traffic restricted left hand turns are banned so minutes of delay and idle global warming emissions continue!  Attend speak out on this harm to the King/Maple Street low income neighborhood at the hearing on environmental justice impacts of the Parkway.  Signals increase injuries to area residents compared to "best practice" roundabouts found by AARP Vermont's Pine Street Workshop to easily fit Pine Street intersections and handle all large trucks, buses, emergency equipment, etc.   Thursday, City Hall, 5:30 for the hearing!

This Thursday Sept. 26, City Hall, Contois Aud, Champlain Parkway Meeting!

First time in 14 years (2006 last time) for single hearing focus on Champlain Parkway?  Objective centers on minimizing impacts of hurtful Parkway design in terms of environmental justice on the King/Maple Street area (includes families and children at Flynn Co-op Housing!).

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Public Hearing on Champlain Parkway Thursday, Sept. 26, 5:30 pm, City Hall, Contois Auditorium


Thursday, September 26, 2019, City Hall 5:30 p.m

The Department of Public Works describes the meeting as a “Public outreach meeting for Champlain Parkway CUSTOMER SERVICE,  DPW-PINECUSTOMERSERVICE@BURLINGTONVT.GOV, DEPT. OF PUBLIC WORKS, BURLINGTON…information about the Champlain Parkway project and is seeking input from the greater King Street and Maple Street neighborhood...There will be an open house beginning at 5:30PM. Following that, starting at 6PM, will be a presentation followed by public comments...For additional information, please visit the project website:  www.champlainparkway.com

Do it right the first time” is the position of the Pine Street Coalition (PSC), our volunteer grassroots group committed to a new street design to replace the outdated and hurtful project, particularly the six additional injury-generating traffic signals. Our low income King/Maple neighborhood bears the brunt of negative impacts. Those traffic signals waste gasoline, up global warming and other pollutants, and cost more to maintain. Build safe pedestrian sidewalk or safe bikeway! None in the Parkway design now. Stop the dead ending Pine Street permanently disconnecting from Queen City Park Road, remove six acres of asphalt better used for Englesby Brook preservation and economic development. Install “best practice” safe-for-all modes roundabouts (cut global warm emissions 23-29%) to access City Market, Flynn at Parkway, and Pine Street intersections including Maple and King, etc. Go “cheaper, greener, quicker and safer.”

Pine Street Coalition — Stop, Re-Design Champlain Parkway Sign the Petition:   https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/re-design-champlain-parkway-for-safety-climate

Website: SafeStreetsBurlington.com  Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SSBPineStreetNOW/

Monday, August 26, 2019

VT Digger Parkway News Today

Well, a busy day with a new lead story on the Parkway in VT Digger August 26.

Our response in the comment area is as follows:
"The Parkway history travels back decades, but the last public hearing in 2006 on this design determined by a 2009 environmental document employed the 2000 Census, outdated 2005 traffic data, obsolete street design technology, no evaluation of safety, no attention to global warming emissions, nor, obviously, recent development like City Market South End. Add the clearly fatal flaw of walling off the Pine St. connection to Hannaford/Lowes/Palace.  [City spends $10 million to reconnect Pine and St. Paul at City Place but disconnects Pine at Parkway makes no sense!]

New "best practices" roundabouts and cycle track now are standard. Several laws, plans and regulations after 2009 must be addressed--the project foundation became solid as quicksand. Safe sidewalk is removed, none added. This plus not a single inch of separate/safe bikeway shows why the City's Walk Bike Council wrote supporting the Pine Street re-design guidance. Spending $47 million then saying we will fix things after?—hole in the ground 2? Redington is a Pine Street Coalition leader."
September 16-21 is National Roundabouts Week, the miracle circular design which cuts serious and fatal injuries 90%, ped injuries too as well as a decrease in bike injuries; a 23-29% reduction in global warming emissions as well as gas consumption; and reduce delay for everyone.  They fit just about everywhere and handle the largest vehicles with ease.

Pine Streets supports an up to date Parkway design--a new start with a blank slate Environmental Impact Statement process.   Note the planning and design monies of $30 million were spent on the now abandoned Circumferential Highway.  Planning and re-design of a modern highway project (this design is not!!) generally is about 10% of project construction cost or about $4-5 million. Pine Street re-design can save more than that by just building one street instead of two from Home to Flynn and dropping entirely (except for a separate and safe sidewalk and bikeway!) new roadway from Flynn to Lakeside Ave.