Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Pine Street Joins Vermont Racial Justice Alliance Asking Governor Scott to Stop Parkway Cutting King Maple in Two!

 

                                                                                                            2 February 2021


Governor Phil Scott

109 State Street

Montpelier VT 05069

 

Re: Champlain Parkway Environmental Justice

 

Dear Governor Scott,

 

            The Vermont Racial Justice Alliance contacted you two weeks ago with an urgent letter calling for environmental justice in the Champlain Parkway project in Burlington(bit.ly/ChamplainRIGHTway). The Champlain Parkway is a joint project of the City of Burlington, VTrans and the FHWA. The project stakeholders are looking to the State of Vermont for leadership in rectifying the racial injustice in the presently proposed project design, which would bifurcate the Maple-King community – Vermont’s most prominent Black neighborhood – converting the present neighborhood streets to a dangerous thoroughfare, increasing safety risks and diminishing the quality of life. 

            In conjunction with Pine Street Coalition and Burlington business anchor Fortieth Burlington, the Racial Justice Alliance has developed the Champlain RIGHTway proposal. The present obsolete and injust Champlain Parkway decreases traffic in the more affluent white neighborhood to the south at the expense of the lower-income Black Maple-King neighborhood. 

            By contrast, the Champlain RIGHTway fulfills the original project goals by reducing traffic in both residential communities, while increasing traffic safety and efficiency. The Champlain RIGHTway would also cost significantly less money, minimize environmental harm, and provide effective pedestrian and bicycle transportation routes. 

            The racial injustice of the present Champlain Parkway proposal mandates your immediate attention. The Champlain RIGHTway is the win-win-win solution.

            Time is of the essence: The FHWA has rescinded the 2010 Record of Decision for the project, and is awaiting the results of the environmental justice analysis by the City’s consultants, which is anticipated in late March 2021. Should the racial justice issues not be resolved prior to issuance of a new Record of Decision, the Pine Street Coalition and our fellow stakeholders stand prepared to move forward with the federal NEPA litigation presently pending in the U.S. District Court. The delay and public expense of such litigation is unnecessary, as the resolution to the injustice of the present design is in your hands.

            We strongly urge you to respond to the Racial Justice Alliance communication immediately, and to direct state resources to pursue the Champlain RIGHTway solution. We would be happy to provide you with any further information and to join in your meeting with the Racial Justice Alliance. 

 

Very truly yours,

 

/s/Tony Redington

 

Tony Redington, Coordinator

Pine Street Coalition

125 St. Paul Street #3-03

Burlington VT 05401

802-343-6616

tonyrvt99@gmail.com

 

For further information:

 

Cindy Hill, counsel for Pine Street Coalition

Hill Attorney PLLC

144 Mead Lane, Middlebury VT 05753

802-989-6906

hillattorneypllc@gmail.com 

 

Steve Goodkind

260 Ethan Allen Parkway

Burlington VT 05408

bludriver@aol.com

802-316-6045