Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Parkway Court Delayed by Federal Officials 4 Months--Again, No Construction 2020, New Design Chance Increases




                                         
   Champlain Parkway: Let's shape a roadway our City can love!

                      

The Pine Street Coalition—a Grassroots Volunteer Community Group
              For a Cheaper, Greener, Quicker and Much Safer Roadway

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


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 21, 2020  

Contacts:
Pine Street Coalition Tony Redington 343-6616
Post Office Box 8726 Steve Goodkind 316-6045
Burlington, VT 05402 Charles Simpson 865-5110
Donna Walters 734-2339
                                           For photos: Carolyn Bates  238-4213

     FOUR MORE MONTHS DELAY TO MAY FOR ADDED ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE OUTREACH TO IDENTIFY DISPROPORTIONATE  SHIFTS OF TRAFFIC HAZARDS AND BURDEN TO A CITY LOW INCOME, RACIALLY DIVERSE  
             NEIGHBORHOOD—NO 2020 CONSTRUCTION

BURLINGTON VERMONT,  JANUARY 21, 2020 -- Environmental justice impacts of

the Champlain Parkway receive four more months scrutiny as the Federal Highway 

Administration (FHWA), VTrans and the City of Burlington further examine the project's 

possible disproportionate impact on affected minority and low-income residents.

After local grassroots organization Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) filed a 

federal National  Environmental Policy Act lawsuit last June, FHWA admitted that 
  

outreach to minority and low-income residents, required by new federal regulations, 

needed attention.  Last October US District Court (Court) granted a 90 day stay of the 

lawsuit to allow the City,  VTrans and FHWA to hear comments about the impacts of 

the $47 million project on one of the City's most disadvantaged neighborhoods.  In a January 17 Court filing FHWA—following a September public meeting, neighborhood 

meetings and receiving comment—requests an additional four months to prepare a 

report and possible reinstatement of an environmental document rescinded last 

October 11.  

The  project corridor runs along Pine Street through the  heart of the Maple King 

Streets neighborhood, Burlington's second highest low income and most diverse 

neighborhood.   Census data shows over 80% of households have  either moderate or

poverty incomes.  The neighborhood is home to many refugee and immigrant families 

as well as retirees.  


Although the project has been under consideration since the mid 1960's, the 

decision to run the highway along Pine Street to Main Street is a recent change in the

project design, introduced in the now obsolete controlling 2009  environmental

document.   "The City  previously opposed this route, because of the impacts to the 

community," said Steve Goodkind, the former Burlington City Engineer. 

“The City had already rejected this route because it does not meet the objective of the 

project, which is getting traffic out of community streets,” he said. 

Donna Walters, a Maple Street resident who spoke at the September Outreach 

Meeting pointed to substantial future traffic increases in the King Maple neighborhood 

when fumes from backed up traffic now pollute the air to the point that many in her 

apartment building have to keep their windows shut in the summer for protection 

from breathing vehicle exhausts.  “This will only worsen living conditions for us,” she

said.

"The project shifts the negative impacts of a highway -- traffic, noise, pollution, 

and most importantly serious safety risks to pedestrians and bicyclists -- from a 

high income neighborhood to this low-income neighborhood," said Tony 

Redington of the Coalition.   "That is exactly what federal environmental justice review

is meant to avoid."  The grassroots group has long advocated 

for a slimmer Parkway with “best practices” safe-for-all-modes roundabouts

instead adding a half dozen dangerous traffic signals. 


“Clearly the Parkway construction cannot occur this year, unlikely in 2021,” said 

Redington for the Coalition.  “Time and money can be saved by undertaking a 

Parkway re-design meeting the needs of the South End of today now

unaddressed,  including safety for those who walk and bike and global heating,” said 

Redington.   The current design has no sidewalks or safe/separate bicycle facilities, 


Redington added. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

ROUNDABOUTS--THE PLACE TO BE SURE YOUR DISPLAYS ARE NOTICED!

Roundabouts are the safest intersections in the world and great places to celebrate any holiday with creative abandon!

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw=1141&bih=647&tbm=isch&sxsrf=ACYBGNSti_zrl0HGlfaKGD86se4e8eG9lw%3A1577213584692&sa=1&ei=kF4CXpntKYKm_QagkJLICA&q=christmas++roundabout&oq=christmas++roundabout&gs_l=img.3..0j0i7i30j0i8i30l3.36154.38110..38422...0.0..0.458.1727.9j2j1j0j1......0....1..gws-wiz-img.......35i39j0i8i7i30.nguC2Y_PYes&ved=0ahUKEwiZ9cy7-s7mAhUCU98KHSCIBIkQ4dUDCAY&uact=5

Friday, December 20, 2019














A democratic organization with majority of voting members representing eight grassroots, volunteer groups: Downtown Neighborhood Association, Keep the Park Green, People for Peace and Security, Pine Street Coalition, Save Open Space, Save Memorial Auditorium, Save Our City, South End Arts Alliance


SEE CHANNEL 22/44 NEWS REPORT 12/20/2019:   https://www.mychamplainvalley.com/video/group-of-grassroots-organizations-call-for-change-in-burlington-leadership/4191797/


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—DECEMBER 20, 2019

Contacts: Andrew Simon 999-5275
Tony Redington 343-6616

BURLINGTON—The Coalition for a Livable City issues the following statement:

The Coalition for a Livable City (CLC), a union of eight Burlington-area civic organizations seeking to implement social justice and a progressive municipal agenda, voted unanimously on Tuesday, December 17 to condemn the culture of harassment of dissent that is fostered by the current city administration.

Further, we stand to defend Charles Winkleman, local activist and blogger, in his call for the resignation of Mayor Miro Weinberger. Ex-BPD Chief Del Pozo used an anonymous account to harass Charles on social media, lied about it, then failed to correct the record for three months after he returned to work. Such malicious interference with the First Amendment rights of a city resident in their exercise of free speech cannot be tolerated in this city, especially by those charged with maintaining public order and security.
 We demand that the harassment of activists like Charles by police officers or any other city officials stop and that a culture of respectful debate be established and welcomed in Burlington.

Government officials have the legal responsibility to facilitate the processes of democracy, not suppress civic engagement through intimidation and harassment. Such harassment amounts to punishment without due process of law. The CLC demands that Burlington officials who engaged in such behavior or who allowed it to happen under their supervision be identified and held accountable. We have no confidence in Mayor Weinberger or in his ability to control or correct the current culture of harassment which he has allowed to prevail in this city.”



Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Parkway Dead in Water -- Environmental Document Rescinded




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 19, 2019  
Contacts:
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
invalid. 

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!