I read with great interest the concern James and Ben expressed about
Burlington's traffic calming on Home Avenue.
As a major proponent of traffic calming (and a policy maker in Burlington),
I thought I would articulate my reasons for supporting such "street print"
traffic calming treatments. I would be very eager to hear if this type of
traffic calming is not supported by the general walking and cycling public.
As you know, traffic calming (street engineering) is an important part of
the 3 E's to make our streets safe: Engineering, Education and Enforcement.
Burlington, more than many newer communities, has arterial roadways
traveling though high-density residential areas. "Traffic Calming" seeks to
slow down automobile and truck traffic in these areas. I assume the broad
goal is supported by all cyclists and pedestrians. How we implement it is
the $1,000,000 question!
We have measured speed on Home Avenue (and other streets) for years.
Consistently it has averaged above the 40mph range (I do not remember the
exact figure). The speed limit is either 25 or 30mph. The fact is the road
is not designed to encourage neighborhood-like driving as the street appears
very wide and straight. There is also a heavy amount of 18-wheeler truck
traffic on the road to access Industrial Avenue. When a truck uses their
"Jake Brakes" at 40mph, it rattles the nearby homes and wakes people up.
In every situation, we evaluate the street, the type of traffic, the level
of traffic, the direction of traffic, the environment of the neighborhood,
to discern the proper traffic calming installation. We use everything from
bump-outs, neck-downs, trees, roundabouts, raised crosswalks, medians,
narrow travel lanes, speed humps and more. Street print is an effective
though inexpensive and non-obtrusive treatment. It is a relatively new
technology. We could not use jigs & jags or roundabouts on Home Avenue
because of the 72' tractor-trailers.
STREET PRINT ADVANTAGES:
* Gives road narrow appearance without huge infrastructure changes
* Has proven to slow drivers by 4 to 5 miles per hour
* Allows drivers to drive on it if extra roadway space is needed
* Does not require special plowing
* Is less expensive than other measures
* Compared to other measures, it can be more modified more easily to respond
Before the street print on Home Avenue, drivers were everywhere and going
fast. Perceiving narrow travel lanes, drivers are going more slowly.
Drivers can still drive on the street print median because it is only an
inch or two high (without a curb face).
If cyclists would like to see bike lanes on Home Avenue, let's talk about
it. The State will be trying a colorized bike lane treatment on the I-89
bridge resurfacing on Williston Road this year. Maybe we can use that
treatment in other places to create bikes lanes and still make the road
appear much more narrow.
These are my thoughts. For more information on street print, you can
contact Burlington Public Works at 863-9094. Please see the announcement
for the Bike Path Forum below:
BURL BIKE PATH PUBLIC FORUM TUESDAY NIGHT (6/24)!,
The City of Burlington is looking at ways it can improve the popular
Burlington Bike Path. Parks and Recreation along with Public Works is
hosting a public forum Wednesday night at 6:30pm to hear from YOU! Do you
have a danger spot on the path? Do you wish the path had better signage?
Do you want it wider? Do you want it better linked to South Burlington and
Colchester? Come and give your input!
I believe the meeting is at the new DPW / Parks building at 645 Pine Street
(corner of Lakeside and Pine). You can call 863-9094 or 864-0123 to confirm
Let's make sure we cyclists and walkers are heard. If you cannot attend the
meeting, you can always send an email. Bob Whalen's (Parks & Rec) email is
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Local Motion, Executive Director
(formerly Burlington Bikeways)
1 Steele Street #103, Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 652-BIKE (phone/fax)
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non-motorized trails, routes and facilities to promote cycling, in-line
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