Sunday, May 29, 2022

Time Sensitive Petition--Pushback on City Rush to Cut Trees, Natural Areas

 Time Sensitive Petition May 29, 2022

Push back on City action to cut trees and natural areas subject in the US District Lawsuit

Please take a moment to sign:


https://chng.it/ydFKs5WRVk

Petition: TO HALT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHAMPLAIN PARKWAY
We the undersigned residents of Burlington hereby petition Mayor Miro Weinberger and the Burlington City
Council to protect our neighbors in the King Maple neighborhood, and our natural resources in Englesby Brook and the
half-mile corridor of woodlands around it, by halting construction of the Champlain Parkway until the US District Court has a
full chance to hear our concerns.





Pine Street Coalition submitted this past week a motion at VT US District Court for an injunction stopping any Parkway construction set to start July 1 until the case is decided. But Mayor Weinberger in a stealth action began cutting the trees and natural areas which are the very subject of the lawsuit!
This petition is a push back on this haste after a half century!  What's the hurry Mayor and Council?

Please sign and send to folks you know who could add their names!

Time Sensitive Petition May 29, 2022
Push back on City action to cut trees and natural areas subject in the US District Lawsuit
Please take a moment to sign:
https://chng.it/ydFKs5WRVk
Petition: TO HALT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHAMPLAIN PARKWAY
We the undersigned residents of Burlington hereby petition Mayor Miro Weinberger and the Burlington City Council to protect our neighbors in the King Maple neighborhood, and our natural resources in Englesby Brook and the half-mile corridor of woodlands around it, by halting construction of the Champlain Parkway until the US District Court has a full chance to hear our concerns.

Thanks to Carolyn Bates who prepared this clear graphic!

Thank you for your help.  Note past petitions include 647 who signed the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance petition  http://chng.it/tS9Ts5FjDx

        Tony Redington
        for Pine Street Coalition

City Cutting Trees before July Parkway Construction Start--Pine St Coalition Update May 28--Petition Likely in a Day or Two

 Alert! Alert!—City starts cutting acres trees, natural areas prior to July 1 construction start. Coalition working on a petition this weekend to push back—Coalition filed court injunction this week to stop any Parkway construction until litigation completed!  Stay tuned to this space!

Pine Street Coalition Update May 28, 2022

Pine Street Coalition Get Together Saturday, June 4, 9 a.m., Hilton Garden Inn, Dining Area, Main St (next to TD Bank) to Converse, Learn, and Discuss/Prepare High Noon June Saturday Events to Condemn Current Parkway Design, Cheer On Getting a Parkway Street We Can All Love!

With coffee and toast or bagel on the house, please join us this Saturday, June 4, to catch up on recent Pine Street Coalition actions, get a legal team update, and discuss events at high noon for Saturday June 11 at Filecase Sculpture opposite City Market South; June 18 in King Maple at Pine/Maple intersection; and June 25 at Pine St/Road to Nowhere Un-Greatful Dead End!  Please join for one or more Saturday to show support for RIGHway!

We need your help and ideas as the US District Court litigation starts after we waited around the court house door since June 6, 2019 for three years!  Now suddenly the Mayor is in a hurry and in a huff to build the hurtful, harmful Parkway!  And in spite of unanimous public hearing opposition to stop blatant environmental racial injustice in King Maple, the City sits on its hands and does nothing!  Racism is a Public Health Emergency says City Council—apparently King Maple not subject to that policy!

Note the cavernous Hilton Garden dining area off the lobby has long tables and space so social distance can be maintained.

Pine Street US District Court Filings  Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) filed a motion to stop Parkway construction until the US District Court decision on our contention of a stale obsolete base environmental document is determined.  A Court insistence on an sound environmental document or Parkway design reflecting laws, regulations and policies along with change on the ground since the current 2009 environmental document means a Parkway can become a street our community can love rather than the loathsome, decades long harmful current edition.

We must be willing to adopt a modern, safe, environmentally sensitive and equitable  shortened roadway while safely serving along the entire corridor in equal measure all who walk and bike—an equality and complete street and corridor!  Simply the 2009 foundation environmental document is stale and obsolete!  

    Champlain Elementary Students Join the RIGHTway Cause

Important news! The late additional statements to the Court this week regarding the injunction to stop construction include two Champlain Elementary School fifth graders from a science program who state their concerns over loss of habitat and protection of Englesby Brook (Parkway puts Englesby into a long pipe).  Science Instructor Judy Dow who also submitted an affidavit is an Abenaki and carries out experiments  and research on Englesby with a group of Champlain Elementary students as part of their learning experience.

Add a thorough statement by one of our original presentation team members and proponent of a linear park/natural preservation area (including Englesby), architect Diane Gayer.

The Coalition injunction motion emphasizes the irreparable damage to the natural resources of the corridor including: (1) cutting of trees and natural areas; (2) permanent racial and low income blatant injustice, for example, placing signals in the core of King Maple  community of color; (3) waste of money; (4) ending connectivity from Pine Street to Queen City Park Rd for all modes; (5) installing six injury generating traffic signals which add tens of thousands of gallons of added gas consumption to heat the planet; (6) jamming up already increased traffic along Lakeside Ave; (7) building about 3/4 mile of worthless roadway which the City must maintain into the future; and (8) failure to provide a single inch of safety for all ages and skills cyclists accommodation as well as not providing a single inch of pedestrian-only sidewalk—in spite of the now out of bounds $125 million investment (our RIGHTway addresses all these and more while costing less!).

City Payback of Parkway Monies No Longer an Issue

With the November 2021 Infrastructure Act, it is clear the City no longer can be placed in the position of paying even a dime back for Parkway development costs now or in the future—the claim of millions of payback which clouded City Council action on the Parkway was always likely a false flag.

“This is a City Project”

When pressed by two Coalition members as to why a safe, modern and equitable Parkway design was not on the drawing board, former Vermont Transportation Secretary and then candidate for governor Sue Minter replied simply “this [Parkway} is a City project.”  Minter clearly pointed her finger at Mayor Weinberger as key to any change.  Note that similar 98% federal/State and 2% city share monies were used by the City of Montpelier to fund a half mile road diet with a sidewalk along side connected to the city system, and the US 2/302 roundabout which replacing a signal system generating 45 crashes a year—the roundabout has two private commercial driveways onto the now highly safe intersection!).  That same Economic Growth Center (MEGC) in the Montpelier project is the same as for the Parkway—it is extremely flexible!  Let’s do it right the first time!


Three High Noon June Coalition Actions—Mark the Dates:

    Noon Saturday June 11 at File Case Sculpture/Flynn Ave Next to
    Flynn Coop Housing and Across from  City Market South

    Noon Saturday June 18 for a King Maple “Wave and Hello” at
    Pine St/Maple St All-way Stop Safe Intersection  Set to become a
    high speed, dangerous to all, traffic speed, Dan Burden, legendary
    urbanist said facing Mayor Weinberger at the AARP VT Workshop
    walk audit converting this intersection to a traffic signal would be a
    “huge mistake.”   Clear case of transport racism in a certified
         community of color, 32% of King Maple resident no car access!

    Noon Saturday June 25 at Pine St/Road to Nowhere Intersection
    to recognize this Un-Greatful Dead-End for all modes to access
    Queen City Park Rd and Burlington/South Burlington adjacent
    residential areas and connections to Hannaford, Lowe’s etc.



Let’s gather to express opposition to this Shamplain Parkway, and support  the RIGHTway at these June Saturday events so the US District Court gets our message as litigation begins and an injunction to stop construction is on the docket!  
WCAX covers Pine Street Coalition lawsuit May 10—report by Melissa Cooney https://www.wcax.com/2022/05/10/champlain-pkwy-opponents-seek-injunction-stop-june-construction/  Coalition injunction to stop July construction.


Thank you all for your continued support and counsel!


      Tony Redington
      Walk Safety Advocate
      for the Pine Street Coalition
 

Coalition presentation by Steve Goodkind and Tony Redington to NPA 5 RIGHTway safe approach with a pedestrian only sidewalk and bicycles only 2-way bikeway along oner 2 miles of the Parkway route including the new section from Pine though the railyard to Battery Street.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Pine Street Coalition Update on the Now $125 Million Parkway May 18--Rally Events June 11 and June 18

 Pine Street Coalition Update on the Now $125 Million Fatally Flawed Champlain Parkway—May 18, 2022


WCAX
covers Pine Street Coalition lawsuit May 10—report by Melissa Cooney https://www.wcax.com/2022/05/10/champlain-pkwy-opponents-seek-injunction-stop-june-construction/  Coalition injunction to stop July construction. Tony Redington interviewed.

Note 1: Burlington no longer has an obligation to pay back even a postage stamp to Federal Highway Administration in regard to Champlain Parkway now the Infrastructure Act signed by President Biden in November removes power to force state or locality of payback.  In fact it appears even under the old law we did not owe a dime. The Federal Highway and VTrans threat was a false flag! The Coalition has asked the City Council Transportation Committee to look into this and obtain a detailed legal opinion.

 
Note 2: Champlain Parkway which among other elements cuts King Maple neighborhood in two, lacks an inch of safe bicycle accommodation, lacks a single inch of sidewalk now reaches a cost of $125 million!  Construction cost about double long term estimates. See attached estimation.  Railroad Enterprise Project (REP) another $26 million! RIGHTway cut Parkway cost by millions!

In this update:

Pine Street Coalition Files Amended Complaint, First Steps of Injunction to Stop Any Parkway Construction as US District Court Lawsuit Begins May 16!


Call to Action Time to Take to the Streets!—Mark the Dates: Noon Saturday June 11 at File Case Sculpture/Flynn Coop Housing; and Noon Saturday June 18 for a King Maple, a “Honk and Wave” at Pine St/Maple St Intersection

Youth Movement—Champlain Elementary Englesby Brook Study Students Support RIGHTway’s Saving Acres of Trees, Englesby Brook and Natural Areas Preservation/Protection—May Testify at US District Court

Infrastructure Act signed last November deleted language allowing Federal Highway to seek any payback from Burlington for Parkway expenditures


                                   ———————————-

Pine Street Coalition Files Amended Complaint, First Steps of Injunction to Stop Any Parkway Construction as US District Court Lawsuit Begins May 16! Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) filings at US District Court this week were the first paper to move since we filed June 6, 2019. Papers were filed Monday, May 16, and include first steps for an injunction on any Parkway construction now set for July 1 until litigation ends.  The almost three year delay occurred as the City/VTrans through the now known totally empty and insulting steps to apply new Environmental Justice rules.  Yes City/VTrans ignored all the lengthy comments, meetings, etc. The City/VTrans concluded—though they had totally failed to meet the letter and spirit of the new rules (our position)—the box they checked in 2009,13 years ago, continued to be sufficient!  The 2 1/2 year process did in fact certify King Maple neighborhood a community of color but no need to change a whisker of design change. Then City/VTrans went lickety split to bid and OK’d construction ($45 million, about double budgeted) the single bid less than four months later!  An unfortunate example of government reenforcing distrust in it performance!

Call to Action Time to Take to the Streets!
—Mark the Dates: Noon Saturday June 11 at File Case Sculpture/Flynn Coop Housing; and Noon Saturday June 18 for a King Maple, a “Honk and Wave” at Pine St/Maple St Intersection Let’s gather to express our opinion on the Parkway at two June Saturday events as the US District Court mulls action to stop the July 1 Parkway construction!  We have just gone through 3 years delay as the City/VTrans went through the nothing burger on the deeply serious Environmental Justice regulations—King Maple is a blatant example of transport racial injustice!  Low-income injustice too!  Let the Court know what our community thinks of the current design of the Champlain Parkway!

    Saturday June 11—Flynn Ave at Filecase Sculpture Opposite Coop

We will have speakers and exchange views and ideas on the Parkway across from City Market South End on Flynn Ave at the Filecase Sculpture.  Consider bringing a sign, help us let our District Court know we do not want this harmful, hurtful and 1950s design in an era when we want to preserve our natural areas, stop installing unsafe signals and roadway, keep our connection to SBTV, etc.  We actually thinks a sidewalk and separate and safe bicycle accommodation would be a good idea a la Vermont’s Complete Streets law (not an inch of either on the Parkway!)!  Hope to see you there!  More to come on this. Will need some volunteers to make signs, organize, etc.

    Saturday June 18—King Maple Neighborhood—Pine St/Maple St
         Intersection

A good old fashioned “honk and wave” event.  With this all-way-stop intersection we can all be reasonably safe as pedestrians—each car at the stop signs can read our signs like “No Parkway through King Maple,” “No Way for Parkway Transport Racism in King Maple!,”  “No 22% and 37% Parkway traffic jump!”  We will need some sign makers—four signs allows us to give the message to all four approaching vehicle streams!!  Parkway installs a traffic signals at this and the next intersection at King upping speeds, forcing kids to push a button and wait around to cross streets, colored lights all day and night onto adjacent housing, etc., etc.   

Youth Movement—Champlain Elementary Englesby Brook Study Students Support RIGHTway’s Saving Acres of Trees, Englesby Brook and Natural Areas Preservation/Protection—May Testify at US District Court An expert in natural areas who instructs in schools, Judy Dow who is Abenaki, has been working with group of 5th graders on scientific learning experience with adjacent Englesby Brook including how wildlife cannot traverse the Pine Street tunnel—similar to what is in the Parkway.  They students want to testify at the Court on the importance of the RIGHTway keeping Englesby out of another pipe, preservation and protection of the Brook floodway and the roughly one mile narrow natural corridor enabled by a scaled back road design between Home Ave and Lakeside Ave.


Infrastructure Act signed last November deleted language allowing Federal Highway to seek any payback from Burlington for Parkway expenditures The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), commonly referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill deleted language that in the past allowed Federal Highway Administration to on a discretionary basis seek repayment of federal transportation from states but only to the point of completing right-of-way purchases.  Since about 2012 Federal Highway (FHWA) and VTrans have threatened payback demand if the Champlain Parkway did not go forward—even though opponents have always sought making the project safe, climate positive, and avoid cutting King Maple neighborhood in two (to cite just three changes the Coalition seeks!).  In fact, the base right of way for the project from Shelburne Road through to Lakeside Ave was mostly obtained in the 1980s and all expenditures one planning and engineering since are not eligible for repayment!  That issue is moot since the new law deletes the power of FHWA to obtain payback of any funds spent on highway projects.


Thank you all for your continued support and counsel!


      Tony Redington
      Walk Safety Advocate
      for the Pine Street Coalition

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Parkway Update: Lawsuit, Racial Equity Dismissed, Price Doubles, Innovation Center Joins Lawsuit

 

 Pine Street Parkway US District Court Lawsuit Begins,
     Finally, May16

City Ignores King Maple Neighborhood Certified
      Community of Color with Zero Change in Parkway     
      Blatant Environmental Injustice Design After
      Almost 3 Years Public Review

City Quietly Puts Parkway to Bid—Only One Bid  
     Received Two Weeks Ago, About Doubles the
     Overall VTrans/City Estimated Total from $30
     million to as much as $60 million! (Yes, Pine Street
     RIGHTway would cut project construction costs by
     about one quarter!)

Fortieth Burlington, LLC Owner of Major Lakeside
     Office Complex, Innovation Center, joins Pine
     Street in Litigation at Vermont’s US District Court


April 2, 2022


Good Day Pine Street Grassroots Members:

Please note recent highlights as the Champlain Parkway moves from an almost three year delay to apply new Environmental  Justice regulations (not a whisker of change in the harmful Parkway design!) to the Pine Street US District Court lawsuit filed June 6, 2019 (D-Day).  And the apparent ill-timed rush to Parkway construction by the Mayor Weinberger administration. The one bid received March 18 signals a doubling of estimated construction costs!  The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and VTrans estimates of $30 million for construction based on a partial Parkway construction bid of $40.1 million suggests construction costs doubling to about $60 million!

If you have not yet signed the Vermont Racial Justice Alliance petition to support our joint Champlain RIGHTway, please take a moment to visit the petition site provided at the end of this message.  And continue to encourage our City Councilors and Legislative representatives to push for the exciting RIGHTway and its benefits (and save up to 25% of the construction estimate!) instead of the current harmful to the South End design!

When asked the question of who makes the decisions on the Parkway, one is reminded of a conversation between then former Secretary of Transportation Sue Minter following a campaign appearance in her campaign for governor when she told Pine Street leader Jack Daggitt in response to questions about the Parkway design, she responded simply “this is a City project!”  Minter herself is said to have nixed roundabouts in the project in a 2015 meeting.  Still, the point she makes is the Mayor of Burlington is the key person in decisions making regarding the Champlain Parkway.  The Parkway is a City project!!

    Tony Redington
        Walk Safety Advocate
    for the Pine Street Coalition


 


Pine Street Parkway US District Court Lawsuit Begins,
     Finally, May16


Grassroots volunteer Pine Street Coalition (Coalition) filed at US District Court here in Burlington on D-Day June 6, 2019 with the purpose of stopping the obsolete, harmful Champlain Parkway design and obtaining a re-design which responds to safety for all modes, addresses climate change, and most important, relieves not adds to the overburden for King Maple neighborhood.  The City now opposes and always has the current design cutting in two the now certified community of color King Maple and adding 22-37% more traffic and installing two injury generating traffic signals to an already overburdened low-income, community of color area.  

Now the plaintiffs, Pine Street and Fortieth Burlington, LLC, Innovation Center owner face off with the City, VTrans and Federal Highway Administration with first legal brief filings due by May 16.   

City Ignores King Maple Neighborhood Certified
      Community of Color with Zero Change in Parkway     
      Blatant Environmental Injustice Design After Almost 3
      Years Public Review

It remains puzzling after almost three years and a unanimous strong public hearing opposition and comments against the Parkway cutting through the now certified King Maple neighborhood as a community of color—just why not a whisker of design change in this overburdened neighborhood where 32% of residents have no car access and are pedestrian dependent?

A major change this year is the National Roadway Safety Strategy document from the US Department of Transportation (January 2022)

https://www.transportation.gov/NRSS

This policy document calls for a “Safe System Approach” and “Safe System Intersections” (primarily roundabouts) to transport funding to address “preventable” serious and fatal roadway injuries—there are at least 21,000 preventable fatalities each year on US roads, about 30 in Vermont.  (US plunged from first in world road safety in 1990 to18th today, ped deaths up 51% since 2010 with two recorded in Burlington.)

The new national strategy expressly makes both racial/low-income equity and climate change the two vital companion objectives in safety spending. The National Roadway Safety Strategy ties directly to 2021 Executive Orders https://www.transportation.gov/NRSS/SafetyEquityClimate  EO 13985 on Equity and EO 14008 on Climate Change.

It is difficult to conceive of a roadway investment in Vermont which could be more damaging to racial and low income equity and the climate than the current design of the Champlain Parkway!

City Quietly Puts Parkway to Bid—Only One Bid  
     Received Two Weeks Ago, About Doubles the
     Overall VTrans/City Estimated Total from $30 million to
     as much as $60 million! (Yes, Pine Street RIGHTway
     would cut project construction costs by about one
     quarter!)


On March 18, Burlington opened the one bid for construction of just part of the Champlain Parkway between Main Street and Home Avenue—that bid, reportedly $40.1 million alone exceeds the $30 million City estimates on the books for about three years.  The $40.1 million when added some time in the future of the balance of the Parkway from Shelburne Rd to Home Ave (“Road to Nowhere”) means the current Parkway design will double to about $60 million the current estimates.  

This number also calls into question the $20 million estimate for the Railroad Enterprise Project (REP) which just about all in the City favor being built first to bypass the King Maple neighborhood already overburdened with traffic, pollution, and social disruption of high traffic volumes.  The City is responsible for 100% of REP costs over $20 million.

Some say the Weinberger administration ill-timed bid maneuver was to avoid facing the court challenge and avoid a possible injunction stopping construction.  That occurred at US District Court in the Circumferential Highway lawsuit when VTrans let contracts followed by the Court rejected the environmental document and the project died—same issue here with the Parkway?  

Fortieth Burlington, LLC Owner of Major Lakeside Office
     Complex, Innovation Center, joins Pine Street in

     Litigation at Vermont’s US District Court


It is news that the owner of Innovation Center on Lakeside Avenue took action recently to also oppose at US District Court the current Parkway design and seek a quality, modern South End transport facility which is safe, addresses climate change (Efficiency Vermont was a longtime tenant) and corrects the overburden for the low-income and community of color King Maple neighborhood.
Pine Street and Innovation Center have worked closely in the past in regulatory and State courts to obtain a responsible Parkway design.

Attached please note a simple example of a street, a dedicated bikeway, and sidewalk.  This is the type of design Pine Street and Vermont Racial Justice Alliance call for between Queen City Park Rd to Home Avenue and from Home Avenue to Flynn Ave.  It is the RIGHTway!  It is “doing it right the first time!”

Please stay safe!

    Yours truly,


    Tony Redington
    for the Pine Street Coalition

 


 

 

What can you do?

Sign the Stop the Champlain Parkway Project and Choose the Champlain RIGHTway Petition: http://chng.it/tS9Ts5FjDx   SafeStreetsBurlington.com