On July 16, the efforts to comprehensively rehabilitate Burlington's popular but aging bike path moved a step closer to reality.
After two years of focused effort, the Bike Path Task Force's Chair John Bossange presented the final improvement plan to the City Council. All the Councilors who spoke praised the plan and urged fast action. The total rehabilitation package will cost between $11M and $16M depending on the level of improvements.
The Task Force recommended the City consider the following funding approach:
- $1M from private fundraising with the help from a Parks Foundation of Burlington
- $3.6M from a 1% increase in Rooms & Meals tax for 3 years
- $7M from Waterfront TIF funding and/or a General Obligation Bond
- $4.5M from Federal & State grants
- Finally, the Task Force recommended a 1/2 cent dedicated property tax (that would raise $180,000/yr to maintain Burlington's growing network of multi-use paths including the Burlington Bike Path
Councilors from all three parties applauded the Task Force's recommendations and called for these items to be put on the November 2012 ballot.
Burlington Bike Path Task Force Members and Staff at Council Meeting (L to R): Chapin Spencer (Local Motion), Zandy Wheeler (Skirack), Mari Steinbach (Burl. Parks & Rec), Jane Knodell (UVM), John Bossange (Task Force Chair) and Kurt Wright (Task Force Member, former City Councilor).
The improvement plan calls for an upgrade to the 25-year-old facility by:
- Stabilizing ke lakeshore sections to guard against future erosion
- Widening the path from 8' up to 11' where feasible
- Adding unpaved shoulders for running/walking
- Improving the safety of path/road intersections
- Improving the connectivity to area neighborhoods and roads
- Adding trailhead kiosks and directional signage
- Adding learning stations / exhibits along the path