After a year-long demonstration, multiple public meetings and continued advocacy from nearby residents, the City of Burlington has officially committed to keeping the 3-lane design that was installed last September!
On September 28th, the Public Works Commission unanimously approved the 3-lane design with bike lanes and enhanced crosswalks. As long as weather cooperates, the final coat of asphalt and the striping should be in place by winter.
The Commission referenced the City's newly adopted Transportation Plan that calls for 'Complete Streets' as an important reason to approve this demonstration project. As Commissioner Maggie Gundersen rightly noted "It will take time to transition to our complete streets plan" and added that she sees the benefits. "As a driver, I feel much safer on Colchester Avenue now -- it's much calmer."
"This process wasn't easy, so I want to specifically acknowledge the strong leadership from Public Works (Erin Demers and Nicole Losch), the CCRPC (Eleni Churchill), CATMA (Bob Penniman), RSG (Joe Segale), the City Council Transportation Cmte (Kurt Wright, Vince Brennan, Dave Hartnett), City Councilor Sharon Bushor and the entire DPW Commission," said Local Motion's Director Chapin Spencer.The City started the 3-lane demonstration in September 2010. The road had previously been 4-lanes and was a high-crash location. The 3-lane design has been working well, even with the 18,000 to 20,000 cars a day. Now that the City will make the 3 lane design permanent, it will allow for bike lanes and enhanced pedestrian crossings. When Public Works initially asked for public comment on the redesign, comments were 160 in support and 10 opposed, but a few critics persisted in questioning the complete street.
If we weren't able to get the 3-lane design passed on Sept 28, another year would have gone by without the final coat of asphalt added on the street or the formal bike lanes. The successful demonstration ran for a full year, and the continued support of Burlington residents helped convince policy makers to make it permanent. The Department of Public Works has led the way with forward thinking work on Colchester Avenue and we should thank them! Click here to send a thank you email to DPW staffer Nicole Losch.
The City and many stakeholders have completed a final draft of a long-range plan for Colchester Avenue. It also shows a 3-lane 'complete streets' vision, and it will be presented to the full DPW Commission in October 2011.