Believe this is first Vermont community to re-direct walk/bike infrastructure centered on "Dutch infra."--Tony



For the first time in a landmark document the Burlington Walk Bike Council in what I term the “Burlington Declaration” sets roundabouts and a cycle track network as part and parcel of a generating a safe walkable and bikable context for the City.  While no roundabouts or cycle track (protected/separated bike lanes) exist on a busy City thoroughfare today, these treatments remain indispensible to a safe walk/bike urban street network usable by all residents.  This Declaration, an “advisory” document, calls for a demonstration roundabout and demonstration cycle track (protected/separated bike lanes) in short order. 


Equally important, the Declaration calls for re-design of the $40 million Champlain Parkway because the current design lacks as the Declaration states “reasonable accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians” and calls for including roundabouts and separate protected bike treatments in a re-design.


Finally, the Declaration points to the current North Avenue Corridor Study stating “our expectation that the final recommendations will include substantive improvements to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian concerns, such as protected bike lanes [cycle track] roundabouts...and other bike-ped improvements.”

               Tony Redington     Burlington, VT



                                THE DECLARATION


Burlington Walk-Bike Council

 Go For Gold Priorities



The Burlington Walk-Bike Council strongly believes that Burlington has great potential for increasing walking and biking both for transportation and recreation.  Our goal is to make Burlington a world-class walking and biking city.  Being certified as a Gold Bike-Friendly Community and as a Gold Walk-Friendly Community is one way to measure success towards the goal, although it is not itself the goal.  


The following document includes some of the Walk-Bike Council’s recommended priorities for increasing walking and biking in our community.  It includes a brief discussion of the key elements required for success and the overall goals, a prioritized list of major projects to achieve those goals, and a list of major projects that are already in progress.  The list of projects is divided into three categories - short-term engineering and infrastructure projects, medium-term engineering and infrastructure projects, and non-engineering projects - and Top Priorities are identified in each category.


Elements of Success

While it is important to identify particular projects and priorities, it is important also to identify the key elements essential to any effort to promote walking and biking, These are Safety, Accessibility, and Motivation.



The primary prerequisite for increasing walking and biking in the City of Burlington (or anywhere) is safety, both real and perceived.  While some people will bike in traffic and will brave even crowded roads, many more people are daunted by current road conditions in many places.  Some of the most important corridors and routes in Burlington do not feel safe to ride on for most people  Safety is also a major concern for people who would like to walk, especially when crossing traffic and especially for those whose mobility is limited.  Another aspect of safety for bikers is having a secure place to store their bikes and gear, protected from theft, vandalism, and weather.  


The primary route to improved safety for both walking and biking is through improvements to infrastructure, including sidewalks and crossings, protected bikeways, roundabouts, and secure bike parking.  In addition, enforcement and education can play a significant role in improving safety.



Another critical element of success for any effort to increase biking and walking is convenient access to biking and walking facilities and to desired destinations.  One of the draws for walking and biking, compared to driving (and public transit), is the ability to go straight where you want to go.  Having to go out of one’s way, in contrast, is a significant deterrent for many people.


Infrastructure improvements must therefore take this into account by ensuring that safe routes for walking and biking are placed where people want to go, and get people efficiently from place to place without significant detours.  This means ensuring that they are continuous (without gaps where bicycle or pedestrian facilities disappear or are reduced), and it may also include adding cut-throughs where travel is currently blocked.  Bicycle storage also needs to be prominently and centrally located.  Sidewalks and street crossings should be frequent, accessible to those with reduced mobility, and conveniently located, and pedestrians should be able to cross with a minimum of waiting time.  Finally, routes should be clearly marked both on the street and on readily accessible maps.



Another barrier to more widespread walking and biking is the dominant car culture, in which people are accustomed to driving to get where they want to go.  To increase walking and biking it is thus important to motivate people to change their behavior through a variety of encouragement activities.  These may include special events and programs, Safe Routes to Schools or other promotional campaigns, incentives for commuters, discounts at local businesses, public art and design, historical markers, and many other ideas.


The overall goal for this effort is to make Burlington a truly walk-friendly and bike-friendly community and to increase the actual number of people walking and biking.  This means substantially improving conditions for walking and biking in the city.  Based on the primary elements of success (Safety, Accessibility, and Motivation), the required conditions for meeting this overall goal include the following:

Top Priorities

While Burlington has already made significant progress in achieving the goals identified above, there are still many gaps and needs for improvement to the existing conditions.  The Burlington Walk-Bike Council has therefore identified a number of Top Priority strategies, projects and actions for achieving the overall goal of a walk-friendly and bike-friendly community, divided into three categories by type and time-frame.  

Strategies for promoting walking and biking are often divided into 5 categories, known as the 5 E’s: Engineering & Infrastructure, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning.  Because of the importance of Engineering & Infrastructure in meeting the goals of the Go For Gold project, we identified two separate lists of Top Priorities in that category, in both the short term (1-2 years) and medium term (3-5 years).  We have also identified our Top Priorities among the many other types of non-engineering projects, including Encouragement, Education, Enforcement, and Evaluation and Planning.

Improvements in Engineering and Infrastructure - short term (1-2 years)

Improvements in Engineering and Infrastructure - medium term (3-5 years)

Improvements in non-Engineering Categories

(Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation and Planning)


Priorities Already In Progress


The following high priority projects have been left off of the main BWBC Priority list because it is our understanding and expectation that these are already underway.  It is critical to ensure that all of these projects are completed as expected in order to meet our goals for improved walkability and bikability in Burlington.  


Bike/Ped Accommodations on the Champlain Parkway

The existing plans for the Champlain Parkway do not currently include reasonable accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians.  However, it is the BWBC’s understanding and expectation that the plans will be revised in short order to incorporate improvements for bicycles and pedestrians. Examples of key elements include roundabouts at some intersections, signalized crosswalks, and a separate bikeway end-to-end, either as sidepath and/or cycle track.  Updating the plans must take place immediately if the Champlain Parkway is moving forward.  If the Champlain Parkway is NOT built, then the city should establish a plan for making these bike-ped improvements on the Pine St. corridor.


Corridor Studies and Improvements


Safe Routes to Schools Plans



Other Projects


Other Priorities


The Burlington Walk-Bike Council also identified a number of other projects that did not make it onto our Top Priority list.  While they are not as critical as the projects identified above, these are also important for increasing walking and biking in Burlington and should be pursued in parallel.  

Other short term priorities for improvements in Engineering and Infrastructure

Other medium term priorities for improvements in Engineering and Infrastructure


Other high priorities in non-Engineering Categories


Lower priorities in non-Engineering Categories

Tony Redington

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