Thursday, November 17, 2016

December Neighborhood Meeting

About 60 residents turned out for the Pine Street Coalition (PSC) Neighborhood Meeting December 8 at Burlington Public Works Conference Room. The PSC stressed a set of Redesign Guidelines achieves transportation facilities “cheaper, cleaner, quicker and (much) safer,” “doing more than less,” said PSC's Tony Redington.


 Charles Simpson gave introductory remarks, then introduced the three person panel, Steve Goodkind, former Burlington Public Works Director; Tony Redington, an advocate for transportation safety and roundabouts; and Diane Gayer, an architect and principal of the Vermont Design Institute.” You can view the presentations and lengthy public question and answer period on Channel 17 here: https://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/champlain-parkway-lets-do-it-right-0
Redington pointed to the double digit growth in highway fatalities 2015-2016, the first such surge in a half century as a concern. The Parkway calls for six new traffic signals systems which generate a 900% increase in rates of serious injuries and twice the crash rates compared to a roundabout. The purpose of the Parkway touts safety but the current design decreases safety by generating more crashes and more injuries than currently, Redington says.


Monday, October 17, 2016

No Busy Street Roundabouts in Burlington, Chittenden County & U.S.--12,000 Excess Deaths Yearly Plus Serious Injuries

While checking google alerts on press roundabout construction activity one finds some where one cannot stop oneself from commenting.  It is particularly poignant living in Chittenden County and Burlington with numberless busy streets which are unsafe for all modes. 

Drive underway to stop Redlands [CO] roundabout

http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/drive-underway-to-stop-redlands-roundabout#

The United States once #1 in highway safety collapsed to #19 recently and we record 12,000 excess deaths (of over 30,000 fatalities a year)--19th was before the highest jump, 7%, in U.S. highway fatalities last year, the greatest increase recorded in a half century. Pedestrians and bicycle fatalities increased at a greater rate last year and for several years before compared to vehicle occupant deaths. The roundabout, the safety belt of intersections cuts serious and fatal injuries about 90%--the U.S. lags most nations in adopting modern roundabout technology (built with stone age materials). Finally, this year the Obama administration took action--it requires States and metropolitan agencies (MPOs) to record current car occupant fatalities/serious injuries and separately the rate for walk bike rates per mile of travel. The state highway agencies and MPOs then must set a target for reducing serious/fatal injury rates and then measure their results--this is a must to continue to receive federal highway dollars. Sweden, #1 i highway safety, has more roundabouts now than traffic signals and moves to reduce their traffic signal numbers another 40%. You can imagine my view of a petition to stop a roundabout being installed for increased safety. 

Tony Redington @TonyRVT08 TonyRVT.blogspot.com  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

100 Roundabouts/Safest Intersection in World Can be Most Beautiful in the World (Carmel, IN)

100 Roundabouts and Counting


Burlington about 1980 was bigger than the Indianapolis well to do suburb of Carmel.  In 1996, a year after the first northeast roundabout came alive on a muggy August afternoon in Montpelier, the first roundabout appeared in a private development in Carmel and in 1997 the first roundabout on a public street.  (Montpelier's Keck Circle the 19th in the U.S., first east of Colorado and north of Maryland.)

Yes Carmel's roundabouts hit the century mark this year:
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/hamilton-county/2016/11/17/carmels-opens-100th-roundabout/93966544/

Carmel once smaller than Burlington now is about twice BTV population and very well to do.  It is bronze level bicycle standard (BTV?).  Still with 100 roundabouts it vehicle travel times (yes it does have several freeway exits, mostly with roundabouts) within the City quick with little intersection delay and walking safety surely is very high and comfortable compared to the gauntlet faced by those who try to walk outside of the Marketplace here in BTV--plus all the time standing around waiting for signal clearance.

Another key point for Carmel (rated 1st and 2nd in America's top small city by Money Magazine in recent years):  the Mayor in Carmel since 1995 has been the irrepressible Jim Brained who won a landslide election against a City Councilor by among other things--yes, vowing another 13 roundabouts in his current term. 

Jim wants used to say he wanted the City to be a 100 roundabout one signal City--he got the first part in his pocket and still a few signals to put in the recycle bin to get their population down to one.  Jim should get an award from AARP which advocates conversion of signals to roundabouts for the safety of senior driver. 

One casualty of Carmel's roundaboutamainia has been the disbanding of the emergency services special jaws of life unit--with all those roundabouts the City no longer has significant serious car crashes.  


Well, do not fear, Burlington and the County is set to get it first busy street roundabout for sure--in 2020 (the rotary on Shelburne St.). Vermont now has 14 roundabouts (latest at Walmart Bennington store entrance), and its four downtown roundabouts (Montpelier, Middlebury, and Manchester Center) record after a combined half century of operation one non-fatal pedestrian injury.  In a recent four year period 17 Burlington intersections (14 signaled) average one injury to a person on foot a year and one fatality was recorded.  With bike and pedestrians rising and the U.S. highway deaths spiking up 17 percent over the last 18 months after a half century of steady decline, there is renewed interest in safety on our streets for those travel on foot by bicycle--and yes, by motor vehicle.  Roundabouts cut  serious and fatal injuries by about 90% says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in their landmark study.   Can you spell "roundabout" as the intersection safety belt?

 CARMEL MOST BEAUTIFUL ROUNDABOUT
The most beautiful roundabout in the world is in Carmel, IN, suburb of Indianapolis.  


Carmel located in a no-growth state was below Burlington population in 1980 and now is about twice our size.  Has taken a first and a second place in recent annual Money Magazine ratings for best small cities.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The North Avenue "pilot" four-to-three lane demonstration this summer mostly to improve car travel and car occupant safety also features the first Burlington demonstration cycle track (protected bike lanes) near VT 127 set to be installed from end to end of North Ave (2.8 miles North St--Plattsburgh Ave.) when street reconstruction occurs. These reflectorized flexible posts can be removed in winter. Parkway design contains no separate, safe bicycle treatment at all--Pine Street Coalition Re-design Guidelines call for a separate, safe bicycle treatment from bottom of Pine to Curtis Lumber Co. as part of project.   

When cycle track is combined with safe roundabout intersections, the current less than 10% of Burlington bike-potential population will expand enormously to levels in advanced nations. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Public Meeting Update of Shelburne Street Roundabout Progress

BURLINGTON, VT—June 30, 2016 The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) project manager calls the Shelburne Street roundabout project the most difficult in his 17 year career because of the “spaghetti” of utilities underground.

Engineer Michael LaCroix, P.E. gave a “very likely“ roundabout installation for 2020 at the high accident list intersection where two pedestrian injuries were recorded during 2011-2014. when it rated within the 17 highest pedestrian crash locations in Burlington. LaCroix said he checked the crash performance of the three Route 15 Lamoille County roundabouts (Cambridge, Hyde Park, and Morrissville) and found a 50% reduction in crashes. He pointed out that because of the lower speeds at a roundabout that crashes which do occur are less severe on average than those at signs or signals. The project construction takes two years with the “hoped for” start in 2019 devoted to the utilities work and 2020 the actual construction of the roundabout.



About 20 residents and Department of Public Works (DPW) staff attend the June 29 meeting where LaCroix agreed to periodic updates at the request of City Councilor Karen Paul who explained that the project which goes back to 2008 has been very difficult to get information about since. In the most recent AOT report the intersection recorded 50 crashes over five years. LaCroix stressed the project is a collaborative one with DPW where Laura Wheelock is project manager.  LaCroix's unit is doing the design work. He said the project is an “absolute” priority and continues as first or second among the dozen projects assigned to his unit. LaCroix who meets with DPW every three months saw no reason that updates on project status can be done regularly. 

LaCroix said once the utilities plans are worked out with each utility expected over the next months the regular steps of acquisition of right-of-way occurs in 2017 and 2018 along with final design elements take place.

Travel time may be somewhat longer for those traveling St. Paul/Shelburne Streets but less for those entering from the other three streets, Locust, Ledge and South Willard.

About half the cost of the $2-$4 million project involves underground utilities work. Utilities include water, electric, at least two cable lines, and Vermont Gas—all with various connections and locations at the intersection involving five streets. Added to this work are what might be termed pockets to take storm water runoff and treat if before joining a pipe which directly enters Lake Champlain.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Coalition Re-design Cuts Parkway Construction Costs $11.6 million--NEW REDESIGN MAP!!


A preliminary estimate of construction cost savings from the Pine Street Coalition (PSC) Re-design Guidelines stands at $11.6 million.  The $11.6 million reduction is a third of the current construction cost estimate by Vermont of $33 million and a quarter of the total project cost estimates of $44.3 million.

And please find the excellent new map so you can see for yourself the new redesign guidelines in place:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0_r5l87VrucN0piRkUzLXM2NUVDcVhzZm9lWmh6WFpwMnhJ/view?ts=5766f3a3


The cost savings do not include substantially increasing service to all modes, reductions in maintenance expenses, decreased pollution and storm water runoff, providing a separate walk and bike facility from Parkway/Pine Street to Curis Lumber, and signficantly reduced costs from avoided crashes and serious injuries.

The largest cost saving, not building Parkway from from Flynn Avenue to Lakeside Avenue, amounts to $13.0 million savings.   Mini-roundabouts at $50,000 each replace $500,000 traffic signals at Pine/Maple and Pine/King intersections.


Monday, May 23, 2016

RE-DESIGN THE CHAMPLAIN PARKWAY!

...cover message and letter of Burlington Walk Bike Council to Mayor Weinberger and City leaders

May 5, 2016

Dear Mayor Weinberger,

Attached please find a copy of a letter from the Burlington Walk-Bike Council regarding our support for the Pine Street Coalition's call for additional redesign of the Champlain Parkway.  This same letter was also mailed to you via USPS on May 3, 2016.

Please strongly consider supporting additional rethinking and redesign of the Champlain Parkway, despite the perceived reluctance of the City's partners at the state and federal level to support major changes.  We think that the proposed changes to the design will both improve the project and also make it less expensive.  And I'm sure we all would like to ensure that this major public investment is designed for the long-term benefit of our entire community, including safety for all transportation modes.

Thank you for your attention to this important topic, and for your commitment to creating a more walkable and bikable Burlington!

Sincerely,

Erik Brown Brotz
for the Burlington Walk-Bike Council
May 2, 2016

Honorable Miro Weinberger, Mayor
City of Burlington, City Hall

Burlington, VT

Re: Support for additional redesign of the Champlain Parkway

Dear Mayor Weinberger,

The Burlington Walk Bike Council (BWBC) strongly supports additional redesign of the Champlain Parkway to bring it into line with a 21st century vision of safe and complete streets, reduced reliance on single-
occupancy automobiles, and human-scaled walkable neighborhoods. We believe, as described in our December 15, 2014 Comments on Champlain Parkway Design, that the goal of the project should be to:

"Achieve a high quality transportation facility that offers safe and equal access for those who

walk, bicycle and travel by motor vehicle or transit, and that serves to enhance the social and

economic vitality of Burlington’s South End."

The current design for the Champlain Parkway is a significant improvement over earlier versions, and we appreciate your administration’s efforts to bring the design more into line with a vision of a livable South End. However, these incremental changes have not erased the flaws stemming from the project’s outdated original concept of bringing more cars downtown. It still reduces connectivity in its southern half, increases traffic problems in its northern half, and fails to adequately accommodate walking and biking. At the November 30, 2015 presentation of the current plans for the Parkway, Public Works

Director Chapin Spencer acknowledged that the design would look very different if we were starting from scratch today. Why should we settle for something less than what is best for the community?To that end, the Burlington Walk Bike Council endorses the concepts proposed by the Pine Street

Friday, April 29, 2016

Unanimous Vote By Burlington Walk Bike Council Vote Support Letter of Pine Street Coalition Parkway Re-dsign!

The regular April 28 meeting of the Burlington Walk Bike Council (Council) unanimously voted a letter of support to the City for the Pine Street Coalition Champlain Parkway Re-design Guidelines.

The Council is open to any Burlington resident and acts in an advisory fashion to the Department of Public Works and other agencies.  The Council submitted a strong expression of concern in a letter December 2014 after six months of review and discussion of the Parkway design at that time.

The Pine Street Coalition (PSC) (Safe Streets Burlington is a member) seeks a livable community re-design of the Champlain Parkway using a set of overall Re-design Guidelines which include: (1) safe and separate and walk and bike facilities throughout the corridor; (2) removing the barricade at the bottom of Pine Street with a roundabout to reconnect with Queen City Park Road, Kmart Plaza and points south; I3) stopping the Parkway at Flynn Avenue thereby maintaining the development potential for the "Gilbane" area between Sears Lane and Lakeside Avenue as well as avoiding a 40% increase in Lakeside Avenue traffic; (4) preservation of the Englesby Brook area; (5) reducing project costs and shifting savings to improvements to Pine Street south of Lakeside Avenue; and (6) assurance of the safest intersections, particularly roundabouts.

Safe Street Burlington says "thank you Burlington Walk Bike Council" for their action.

The photo below shows Stu Lindsay, Council Steering Committee member, and R. J. Lalumiere, commuter from the North End to his work at Dealer.com who road their bikes to the April 28 meeting

Stu Lindsay, l, and R.J. Lalumiere r 



Monday, April 25, 2016


REGION WALK BIKE PLAN COMMENTS TAKEN UNTIL FRIDAY, APRIL 30

Deadline for comments on the plan is this Friday April 29.  The plan can be viewed at http://www.ccrpcvt.org/our-work/our-plans/regional-bikeped-plan/  Comments can be submitted to Peter Keating pkeating@ccrpcvt.org 



Comments by

Tony Redington

on the

Draft “Chittenden County Active Transportation Plan—Recommendations March 26, 2016”

April 24, 2016

My name is Tony Redington and am a resident of 20 North Winooski Ave., Burlington, VT. I am not a car owner and move about the City all year on foot and by bicycle and public transit. Am an active member of: Neighborhood Planning Assembly 2/3 (NPA 2/3), the Burlington Walk Bike Council (BWBC), Safe Streets Burlington (SSB), the Pine Street Coalition PSC), AARP Vermont Livable Communities Group, and the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP). Also a member since the formation of the Vermont Bicycle Pedestrian Coalition (VBPC) in 1993, now merged into Local Motion (LM) in Burlington.

First, some general comments on the draft “Chittenden County Active Transportation Plan” (ATP) produced by the Chittenden Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC). With exception of perhaps a few blocks (and no intersections) for bicyclists along Dorset Street and the four blocks and adjacent street sections (but not intersections) of the Marketplace for pedestrians, there is not a walkable/bikable transportation facility in the County along busy streets (collector and arterials). (By transportation facilities in these comments, it is meant a facility must be available 24/365 with lighting and winter maintenance--and possess for other than local street sections, all-modes safe connectivity, i.e., in most cases modern roundabouts or strong traffic calming at intersections.) Also important, because there are no safe busy intersections for the walk mode other than the Marketplace and none for the bicycle mode, there are no “low stress” corridors of two or more blocks because there are no “low stress” intersections. The ATP top rank of a “1” for “low stress” remains truly a mirage in our County.

The term “mirage” for walkable and bikable is not an overstatement of current conditions. Burlingtonians point with pride at the Church Street Marketplace completed over three decades ago in 1981. Meanwhile the current Walk Bike Master Plan uncovered an ugly set of intersections pedestrian injury data. Every single intersection along South Winooski Avenue from Pearl Street to Main Street made the “dirty 17” pedestrian crash list with at least one injury per year 2011-2014. How disturbing it is that perhaps the safest stretch of street--the Marketplace—has a parallel street where every single intersection is high pedestrian injury crash site—a true street Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide in parallel streets!.

As the CCRPC staff and consultants well know, with a half century of data on five downtown/town center roundabouts and the Burlington Walk Bike Master Plan data on pedestrian injuries (2011-2014) note carefully the following:
a. in a 52 year span Vermont roundabouts recorded one non-serious pedestrian injury and four minor car occupant injuries. Pedestrian injuries rate for the five roundabouts was under two injuries per century for each intersection.
b. Burlington at 17 intersections (13 signalized) experienced almost one injury per intersection per year (0.9). Pedestrian injuries rates (which included one fatality) for the 17 intersections currently average 90 injuries per century for each intersection.

Vermont and U.S. walk and bike injuries are on the rise and our rates of injuries and fatalities for healthy modes are about three times that of urban Germany and the Netherlands where a large cross section of the population bicycles compared to mostly young adult males bicycling here in Vermont (about two thirds male nationally).

Bicycling and walking safety is serious business but one would not know it by reading the draft ATP. The five most recent urban fatalities in Burlington/South Burlington occurred at signalized intersections (three pedestrians, two drivers and a cyclist). Nowhere in ATP is the “problem” of bicycle and pedestrian safety identified, discussed or addressed in a quantitative manner.

Nor does the draft ATP recognize or address the new federal highway planning regulations which require Chittenden Country Regional Planning (CCRPC) to calculate rates of bike and pedestrian injuries rates separately for a five year period (and separately from motor vehicle injury rates), and produce a plan for reducing those rates along with specific measurable progress methods. In other words ATP is not in conformance with new federal highway planning regulation and policy directives as actual walk and bike injuries are not addressed and remedies identified—even qualitative analysis would be a start. (No paint and bulbouts please!)

When U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx earlier this year announced the new walk, bike, and motor vehicle safety management requirements for state agencies and metropolitan agencies like CCRPC, he went out of his way to express concern for the increase in walker and bicyclist deaths in America.

While my own interest is primarily safety for the walking mode, the only treatment available for routine application for busy intersection safety for those who walk is the roundabout, therefore the addition of roundabouts to my walking advocacy. The importance of the roundabout to walk safety is investigated in my Canadian Transportation Research Forum (CTRF) paper “Modern Roundabout Technology Unlocks the Stifled Walking Mode in Canada and the United States—Toward a Roundabout Centered 'Walking Service Level' Classification.
The paper presented in 2010 contains an addendum, an evolution of the CTRF 2010 classification. It turns out the roundabout—long prized for its safety benefits for car occupants—promises nearly the same level of benefit to the cyclist as the cycle track era has emerged and bicycle accommodation in roundabout design marked evolved.

Clearly, the modern roundabout with a 0.1 “crash modification factor” (i.e., reducing the rate of injuries by about 90% in the single lane format for each mode) which can be applied to walk and properly designed accommodations for cyclists. In the one lane format the roundabout represents a no-regrets approach to addressing absolutely deplorable injury rates now for those who walk and bike (much less to those who occupy motor vehicles) in our County. AARP supports converting signals to roundabouts for safety. Dan Burden in his Burlington AARP livable communities workshop in 2014 calls for all roundabouts along the lower Pine Street corridor (from Pine and Maple Street southward). Burlington's land mark North Avenue Corridor Plan with a goal of a world class, safest for all modes 2.8 mile street calls for at least three of seven signals replaced by roundabouts and cycle track (dooring free) end to end. (Did not see dooring free lanes addressed in ATP—perhaps it is there.) These reports and recommendations and plans can be identified or at least be annotated in the report.

The absence of any mention of the Champlain Parkway current design in the draft ATP also speaks volumes as the current design would significantly increase both bicycle and pedestrian crash numbers, not only from increased rates of exposure in the South End of Burlington but in great part from introducing four particular traffic signal systems—Sears Lane/Parkway, an entirely new pedestrian intersection; Flynn Avenue/Parkway where a T sign-control intersection becomes a more dangerous signalized cross intersection; and converting two four-way stop intersection--viewed as the safest sign or signal control approach—to quite likely a far more pedestrian crash producing signalized control.

To advocate in a government policy document residents to walk and bike without addressing the fundamental lack of safety for these modes on busy County streets from lack of proper and safe infrastructure in effect recommends our residents—young and old—undertake activities known to be hazardous to our collective health.

Five corridors of three or more roundabouts in Vermont are in various stages of development: North Avenue, planning stage; Putney Road, Brattleboro commercial corridor, 5 roundabouts, in final design stage; Manchester, one built and one partially in place; and Montpelier, one built, one in design and two others in plan stage. Chittenden County outside of Burlington lags Vermont terribly in highest safety level intersections for all modes—the roundabout, the “intersection safety belt” (obviously in regard to walk and bike modes applicable in this draft ATP).

With over 5,000 U.S. roundabouts now and not a single pedestrian fatality recorded in North America through 2015 since the first roundabout in 1990, it does not take much more evidence to conclude that both short term and long term investments (as little as $50,000 for mini roundabouts with the best safety record) must include the high benefit cost ranking roundabout intersection conversions. Of course one does not have to mention the annual reductions of 10,000 and over motor fuel consumption at roundabouts over signals with 15,000-20,000 entering vehicles along with about a third reduction in global warming gases and other pollutants—or the reduction of pedestrian waiting times to less than five seconds. (Note, about 90% of County signalized intersections can be converted to roundabouts and about 75% or more being single lane.)

In short the draft ATP calls for the County to continue its devolution of walk and bike safety while major Vermont towns and cities as well as Counties pass our Chittenden County by in walkability and bikability. Even Bennington County—home in a recent report to 30% of the high accident top 100 statewide intersections list by the Agency of Transportation--this very day has it first roundabout under construction as the entrance to its new Walmart.

Please consider the following specific comments:


  1. Page 6--Additional Goals for Next Decade Please add:
a. Install at least one all-modes low-stress intersection (primarily single lane roundabouts) in each County City and Town Center.
b. Install at least one all-modes low stress corridor of three or more roundabouts
  1. Page 7 Conclusions of Existing Conditions Assessment. First sentence: Chittenden County is making great strides in advancing its inventory of bicycling facilities.” This statement is a flat out lie. Suggest the following: “Chittenden County first and foremost needs to make it first significant strides In advancing an inventory of low-stress bicycle facilities.” The only low-stress transportation facilities in the County (versus seasonal facilities) are cycle track on a section of Dorset Street in So. Burlington and some multi-use facilities, such as the Kennedy Drive between Dorset Street and VT 116. Would suggest a listing of these and perhaps others I may not be aware of somewhere in the report. By definition “low stress” would include cycle track and roundabout intersections (such as the Burlington Shelburne Street roundabout design) where a cyclist has a choice of “taking the circular travelway” and/or a separate pathed (Assen, NL design preferred). Other than “low stress” facilities the vast majority of those able and willing to bike do not and cannot (safely) bicycle in the County. Year round facilities, of course, mean both adequately lighted and plowed (similar in nature to the Montpelier East and West Bikepaths now scheduled to be connected by a one-lane Main Street roundabout). These comments are consistent with the Illinois State Bicycle Facilities Plan (2015).
  1. Page 7—Last sentence: “....and safer walking and bicycling” More walking and bicycling within the County does not necessarily result in “safer walking and bicycling.” More bicycling without sufficient walk facilities can lead to more congestion and lack of safety for the walk mode. Probably not the most important comment—but the connection is very weak.
  2. Page 12--Crash Frequency: Bicyclists and Pedestrians First, pedestrian safety and needs always end up last in consideration but always should be first. Everyone walks and must walk at certain points. Same cannot be said of bicycling. The entire emphasis of this chart misleads. There is a general level of unacceptable frequencies of crashes for each and every mode in the County because of the lack of safe infrastructure—sidewalks and cycle track on busy streets and all-modes safe intersections (mostly roundabouts). With a downtown frequency of only one pedestrian crash in over a half century (five roundabouts in Manchester, Middlebury and Montpelier) and just four minor car occupant injuries at those same intersections—any busy intersection with a disabling injury per decade or so for any mode operates at a questionable level and requires attention, placed on a list and prioritized for conversion to low-stress, safe status.
  3. Page 13—Public Input: Charettes and Wikimap Since the County does not have a low-stress busy intersection or bicycle street cycle track (excluding the three Church Street Marketplace intersections for the walk mode and cycle track along Dorsett Street for bike mode) holding charrettes and interviewing local residents of the County hardly represents public input. A 2004 charrette in Montpelier about City needs came up with two—more roundabouts and a bus circulator service (both implemented with one additional roundabout in place and at least two more on the way). Page 13 represents at worst planning malpractice.
  4. Page 14 Public Input—North Avenue [Burlington] The reference to North Avenue needs to addressed at some point by referencing the North Avenue Corridor Plan which calls for car-free cycle track from end to end of the corridor and converting at least three of seven signalized intersections to roundabouts. Suggest a note number or asterisk with this information suggesting that concerns already addressed.
  5. Page 19 Level of Traffic Stress This appears to be mis-labeled as it appears to be a discussion of bike facilities not walking facilities. First paragraph talks about low-stress really being low-crash rate prone in order for all able to bike willing to bike—but then the safety aspect gets lost in research jargon—the Minetta model never is really explained.
  6. Page 20 Stress Examples for Cyclists This misleads as it shows a recreation path—clearly without lighting for night use and very likely in a snow climb unplowed (like all County bikepaths, I believe).
  7. Page 21 Level of Traffic Stress in Chittenden County This is very misleading as it appears to continue to count recreation (seasonal and/or unlit) paths as part of the transportation network. Certainly such a network can be described but it must be identified as such with a second map showing a year round network. One can argue also that multi-use paths even if plowed/lighted do not qualify for LS 1 status with moderate to high traffic (note Riverside Avenue in Burlington in this regard—also with a high crash section for pedestrians). Note, again, this map should be labeled for road sections/street sections only a there are no bicycle LS 1 intersections in the County (versus, say the Cambridge, Hyde Park, and Morrisville roundabouts along VT 15 in Lamoille County).
  8. Page 22 Level of Stress About the same comment as on Page 21—no low stress intersections along busy routes for any mode—cure like that proposed and rejected for Taft Corner and US 2/Industrial Drive in Williston, roundabouts of course.
  9. Pages 23-32 Developing a Regional Network The description of a “walking” as well as a “bicycling” network for the County as a whole probably, really, a bicycle network not a walk network. Walking trips of more than a 1,000 to 1,200 feet (maximum for access of public transportation) likely represent the reach or extent for determining a “walk network” and connecting to an adjacent “walk network.” A countywide approach really does not represent any kind of a useful tool or policy makers.
  10. Page 35 Infrastructure Recommendations: Long-Term/10+ years
a. “Separated facilities”--this should be balanced in the same sentence with “and continued installation of all-modes safe intersections, i.e., roundabouts” along prioritized corridors and nodes” These investments would be primarily “town centers and arterial streets” benefiting primarily the walk mode and secondarily the bicycle mode.
b. Jughandle: Convert the jughandle to a two-lane roundabout with actuated pedestrian/bicycle pathing
c. Address once and for all the Winooski Circulator by installing two two-lane roundabouts (a “dog bone” design) with diameters of about 130-140 feet to improve traffic movements, all modes safety, and shifting unused “dead space” inside the Circulator to useful park/plaza/cafe space to the outside. Again, though little used, ped/cyclist actuated signals for crossings.
d. A recreation path along the Circ should come second to converting VT 15 signalized intersections to roundabouts accommodating cyclists—most all would be single laners.
  1. Page 36 Infrastructure Recommendations Short Term/Immediate to under 5 years
Of the seven recommendations (the word walking and pedestrian does not appear a single time) only one addresses anything remotely connected to the walking mode and continues the economic and social injustice suffered by anyone who chooses to or by circumstance must rely on the walk mode in our County downtowns, village centers and built up areas. Overall, there does not appear to be a single significant short or long term infrastructure investment recommendation which addresses in a substantial way to improved walking and bicycling for the population at large—or to address improved safety. (For example, why not support the Burlington installation of the “free” roundabout on Shelburne Street which right now may get completed in a planning and construction process of about 20 years, or implement the North Avenue Corridor Plan roundabouts and cycle track?)

I have suggested in comments to the Annual Workplan of CCRPC that all major
intersections be examined for roundabout conversions and the prioritized for implementation. (Why not benefit cost analysis being applied roundabout conversions versus other CCRPC projects?)
  1. Pages 38-44 Non-infrastructure Recommendations These pages on enforcement, education, education and engineering all rest on a deep level of lack of safe infrastructure quicksand. The ideas and program elements sound fine until one goes out and tries to bicycle and walk on busy County streets and negotiate actual intersections. As the architect of Copenhagen's program for reaching 50% of all trip by bicyclist said succinctly: “start with infrastructure first.” The draft ATP does not even address infrastructure in a tangible manner.
  2. Pages 45-46 Next Steps The “next steps” can only follow and rest on a rationally thought out plan. ATP is not a rationally developed plan so the next steps really have little or no meaning.

Finally a last comment on the size and scope of walk/bike safety investments facing us in Chittenden County. There are three major threats to life and limb for our residents from early adulthood through early middle age. Each nationally amounts to about 30,000 deaths yearly: highway crashes, gun violence, and in recent years the drug deaths, i.e., the oppiad epidemic. Each of these areas involves public policy and investments to reduce deaths substantially. In the case of highway fatalities and injuries—and our concern here is primarily for those who walk and bike—the investments required in our County certainly reach hundreds of millions over the next decade. This is the level of investments already undertaken in the past in Western European nations mostly over the past 30 years as the U.S. once first in highway safety in 1990 now rests at 19th—with 13,000 excess deaths based on the rate achieved by the current leader (we were once co-leader with them in 1990), the United Kingdom.


Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this draft plan. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Champlain Parkway and Pine Street Corridor Redesign Guidelines

JUST IN:  Burlington Walk Bike Council meeting March 24 by a show of hands recommended almost unanimously that the Council send a letter to the City supporting  the  Pine Street Coalition effort to re-design the Champlain Parkway with safe, separate walk/bike facilities along the route and roundabouts at key intersection as per the "Champlain Parkway and Pine Street Corridor Redesign Guidelines!  See Pine Street Coalition at https://www.facebook.com/SSBPineStreetNOW/ 


 “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 maintained. The abandoned Kmart Plaza is a natural site for an intercept park-and-ride facility to shuttle workers to and from Burlington employers including the Hill institutions. Within the project’s 25 year lifetime, it is likely a New North End to Kmart Plaza light rail line will be built to connect North Avenue, the Marketplace, then follow Pine Street through Kmart Plaza and beyond. From the Pine Street interchange, a simple two-lane street with a median should continue to the Home Avenue intersection. From Home Avenue to Flynn Avenue, the Parkway becomes a local street conforming to the “complete street” design which includes separate bike and walking paths along the present routes of Bachelor and Briggs streets, with full connectivity to Morse Place, Lyman Street and Ferguson Avenue. This scraps the present design which would walled off these streets with a limited-access Parkway. The SSB plan enables full access to City Market planned at Flynn. That intersection, as well as the Pine/Parkway exchange, must be efficiently supported by roundabouts. Using Bachelor and Briggs will save a considerable amount of money and free up land, as contrasted with the present Parkway plan.




Design Guideline: Flynn to Lakeside We propose eliminating the planned roadway from Flynn to Lakeside that would otherwise traverse industrial plant areas and sensitive marshes. Advantages in doing so include the opportunity to conserve natural areas bordering Englesby Brook and a better

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: https://www.facebook.com/SSBPineStreetNOW/ Safe Streets Coalition website: SafeStreetsBurlington.com

Friday, February 19, 2016

Main Street Bike and Walk Modes Improvements on Main Street? February 25 Meeting

Burlington Walk-Bike Council February 25 meeting is given over to the Walk Bike Master Plan consultants as a public workshop on a Main St. scoping project. Ideas for cycle track (protected bike lanes) or 2-way bikeway on Main St. as well as ways to improve walk mode safety. "Can we transform Main Street into a street where people of all ages and abilities are comfortable walking and biking?" is the workshop title. Thursday, February 25th | 5:30pm - 7:00pm 149 Church St - Burlington City Hall, Room 12

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Burlington Votes "Yes" Streets Not Safe Enough, "Yes" Let's Experiment to Improve Safety!

March 2, 2016 Burlington voters agree with our call, below, and vowed no on the referendum question calling for stopping the North Avenue pilot demonstratrion to improve safety and service. Landslide in every ward including Ward 3 which includes part of North Avenue, and a slim "yes" vote in Wards 4 and 7--less than a landslide. Thanks to Mayor Weinberger, the City Council (except Councilor Wright), Local Motion and all others who worked and volunteered to give better safety and service a chance in Burlington. My tweet of the morning: Great win safe and quality transportIon as Burlington say "yes" streets unsafe and "yes" let's try experiment to see if safety improves! Earlier post: VOTE NO ON NORTH AVENUE PILOT QUESTION!! Please vote NO on our ballot question #2 on Town Meeting Day (Tuesday, March 1). The language of the question is:"Shall the City Council, Public Works Commission, Department of Public Works, and Administration be advised to keep four lanes open to motor vehicles on North Avenue from the Route 127 access intersection north to the Shore Road intersection?" This non-binding advisory question is a premature attempt to block a pilot project on North Avenue that would convert the named section from four lanes to three lanes (two traffic lanes and one turning lane) plus two bike lanes. This pilot project starting this spring is a low-cost way to improve safety for everyone (motorists, pedestrians, cyclists) on North Ave. by making traffic more predictable and reducing speeding, After the pilot has run for a while, it will be reassessed to determine if the pilot has been successful, and that is the point at which a vote on whether to keep it would be appropriate, but not now. Let the pilot go forward to determine whether it works! A similar conversion on Colchester Ave receives rave refiews and a higher traffic section on Williston Avenue in South Burlington was made permanent. Accidents declined and turns on and off the streets are easier. For more information on the pilot, check out http://www.avenueforeveryone.com/, especially the FAQ section. Actually an AARP Livability Community Fact Sheet does a bang up job describing the whys, wherefores and benefits of a road diet like the pilot on North Avenue and concludes even a one or two year trial is enough to measure decreases in crashes and other elements. http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/road-diets-fact-sheet.html

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Champlain Parkway "Let's Get It Right" Panel/Public Discussion Draws a Crowd!

WATCH AND STREAM THE EVENT ON CCTV! Champlain Parkway - Let's Do It Right! was recorded on 2016-02-03. *WATCH ON TV : 1 Monday February 8, 9:00 PM 2 Tuesday February 9, 2:00 AM 3 Tuesday February 9, 8:00 AM *WATCH ONLINE : * You may watch the program on-line by clicking here: https://www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/champlain-parkway-lets-do-it-right
Over 75 neighborhood and City residents attended the February 3 Arts Riot event-The Champlain Parkway "Let's Get it Right" panel presentation and public discussion. South Ender Betsy Rosenbluth who welcomed the panel spoke of the need for improvements to the South End to reflect the "heart and soul" of the community. Moderator and South Ender Charles Simpson explained how the worst of the highway era lives on in the current Parkway design. Former Public Works Director Steve Goodkind gave a clear history and emphasized the current design represents last century thinking and the need to get the project "right the first time." Transportation policy veteran and roundabout advocate Tony Redington called the project a step backward with increased traffic injuries for the neighborhood and how Vermont tested roundabouts answer the safety and service needs along the Parkway route instead of six instantly obsolete new traffic signals. South End architect Diane Gayer pointed to the choices and opportunity in alternatives which would help the businesses, art community, and overall neighborhood livability. Safe Streets Burlington which seeks Parkway "Stop, Evaluate, Imagine?" meets shortly to determine next steps.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Half Century of VT Downtown Roundabouts--One Ped Minor Injury

Half Century of VT Downtown Roundabouts--One Ped Minor Injury

FOR RELEASE December 17, 2015
Burlington, VT-- Five downtown and town center Vermont roundabouts totaling 52 years operation attained a remarkable pedestrian safety performance recording only one minor pedestrian injury.
With two of the earliest downtown and town center roundabouts with considerable pedestrian activity in the U.S., Vermont becomes the first to tabulate actual pedestrian accident numbers. Additionally car occupant injuries, all minor, totaled four and no bicycle injury occurred.

Champlain Parkway White Paper One: Evaluation

         

                      “Champlain Parkway: Get it Right the First Time”

                       Panel and Discussion Wednesday 

                       February 3, 6:30 p.m. at Arts Riot, 400 Pine St.


Champlain Parkway White Paper One: Evaluation

Let's shape it to become a street the public can love!

January 16, 2016

Our Parkway View—Do it right the first time by shaping a highest all-modes safety and quality transportation street to:
    1. Play a central part in achieving a livable South End community
    2. Remove trucks off residential streets
    3. Assure safety, especially for those who walk and bike, while reducing global warming gases and other pollutants, cutting gasoline use, and intersection delay.
    4. Ignite and sustain a vibrant South End industrial-commercial-arts economy

The current Parkway now promoted by the City, Vermont Agency of Transportation (VAOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) gets very little right. Most importantly the current Parkway completely fails the following critical tests. The City’s Parkway design results in a net drop in safety for each mode. Added to poor safety: the current Parkway design would increase global warming gases and other pollutants, waste gasoline, strangle economic vitality, cut off connectivity to key adjacent areas, and damage neighborhood livability. Therefore, Safe Streets Burlington (SSB) calls for stopping the project design followed by developing revisions centering on major upgrades to safety, reducing environment impacts, and increasing economic benefits.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

“Champlain Parkway: Get it Right the First Time” Panel and Discussion Wednesday February 3, 6:30 p.m. at Arts Riot

--first chance for residents to speak AND question on Parkway since 2006!  Time to Stop! Re-Evaluate! Imagine!

--Safe Streets Burlington Releases Champlain Parkway White Paper One: Evaluation (posted next!)

BURLINGTON, VT—A panel and public discussion “Champlain Parkway: Get it Right the First Time” focuses on the project background, critiques the current design, and explores several choices for change.

The Wednesday, February 3 event set for 6:30 p.m. at ArtsRiot, 400 Pine Street, opens at 6:30 p.m. to view maps and materials followed by the panel presentations and discussion 7-9 p.m.
The panel presentation and community discussion on Alternate Designs for the Champlain Parkway, Pine street Corridor, and Railyards Connection. Alternate Designs are based on current best practices for community development and transportation facilities.
Four Burlingtonians comprise the presenters: former longtime Burlington Department of Public Works Director and City Engineer Steve Goodkind, P.E., transportation analyst Tony Redington, MPA, architect Diane Gayer, AIA, and moderator Charles Simpson, PhD, retired professor of sociology.

The co-sponsors of the event include: Safe Streets Burlington (SSB), South End Alliance (SEA), Coalition for a Livable City (CLC), Vermont Design Institute (VDI), and Save Open Spaces (SOS).
Topics include: strengthening the street network, roundabouts, stormwater, ecosystems health, lower carbon footprint, "walk to school", separate and safe walk and bike facilities, railroad needs, etc.
The sponsors call for a win-win solution that meets the needs of the 21st century rather than spending $43 million on a program from the past!

Safe Streets Burlington (SSB) supports high quality and high safety transportation improvements for all transportation modes. SSB seeks a stop to the current Parkway design, add high safety and connectivity improvements throughout the route, and insure separate, safe walk and bicycle facilities. SSB pursues changes while minimizing delay and costs to the $43 million project. Information can be found on the SSB website SafeStreetsBurlington.com

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Burlington Walk Bike Master Plan Public Workshop, Tuesday, January 19th 6:30pm - 8:30pm
@ The Heineberg Center | 72 Heineberg Rd., Burlington, VT

Join us at the Public Workshop to learn about proposals in the draft plan, including pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure improvements such as roundabouts and cycle track (protected bike lanes).

You’ll have the chance to ask questions and share your input before the draft plan goes to City Council this Spring

Questions about the Workshop? 
Please contact Julie Flynn or Nicole Losch: 
Julie Flynn -julie@streetplans.org

Marry the City Market South End Parking Entrance Direct to a Champlain Parkway Roundabout!


The plans move forward for Burlington's City Market South End facility at the Corner of Flynn Avenue and Briggs Lane. Now the plan calls for one entry onto Flynn Avenue adjacent to the rail line and a second from Market parking area via Briggs Lane, then onto Flynn Avenue very close to the current Parkway signalized intersection of Flynn/Parkway.

(See the preliminary plan http://www.citymarket.coop/sites/default/files/southend/City%20Market%20-%20Flynn%20Ave%20Concept%20Site%20Plan%20June%202015.pdf )

A direct, safe access of City Market onto the Champlain Parkway can be done two approaches—a Parkway roundabout intersection at Ferguson Street emptying directly into the Market parking area, or bending Briggs Lane into a Parkway/Flynn roundabout as a fifth “leg.” Either approach marries the parking area directly to a safe roundabout, safe for all modes.  The Burlington Onion River Coop "City Market" is the highest revenue coop market in the United States.  

Either roundabout design allows the benefits of closing the intersection of Briggs Lane and Flynn Avenue, providing up to a third of an acre of available land along the east side of the Market between Flynn and Ferguson west of the Parkway, direct Parkway to Market access for all deliveries, and sharply reducing traffic on the difficult Flynn/Market entrance on the west side of the Market.

The Burlington Walk Bike Council and Safe Streets Burlington group both call for all roundabouts along the Parkway. And, since the Parkway becomes, essentially, a local street once it reaches Home Avenue, adding another roundabout intersection at Ferguson/City Market makes good sense as Market traffic will very likely reach about ten percent of the intersection total traffic, the rule of thumb for minor roadway traffic for roundabout feasibility.

If a Ferguson roundabout is chosen about a third of an acre of the former Biggs Lane becomes available, and those traveling from the nearby Ferguson Street neighborhood, particular walking or biking, would have much safer and shorter trips to the Market.

Either roundabout design connection with Briggs Lane helps the economic viability of the current southern portion of the Market property as well as all points south to Home Avenue.

Roundabouts work just fine with five or six or more private and/or roadway entries. The Montpelier US 2/302 roundabout features three roadway legs and two private accesses along with a third likely when a vacant property is developed. Here is the beautiful downtown 5-leg Glens Falls, NY Centennial Circle roundabout, just google: Images for glens falls roundabout


The U-tube “Glens Falls Loves Roundabout” tells the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHnY8IGv1sY