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report and possible reinstatement of an environmental document rescinded last 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. 

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