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
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!
Walk Safety Advocate
for the Pine Street Coalition