Local Motion is tracking the VTrans resurfacing and lane reconfiguration project on the Barre-Montpelier Road scheduled for 2016. The project runs from around the Wayside restaurant to the Barre City line just south of Highland Avenue in Berlin. We are thrilled that the project will add bike lanes and improve safety for all road users: bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers, by lowering crash rates, reducing speeding, and providing designated space for bikes. As with any pilot project, it is vitally important that cyclists get out and use it, then provide feedback to VTrans, which has set up a survey.
Forty-nine percent of all crashes on this corridor being rear-end, sideswipe and left turn conflicts. These types of crashes are reduced dramatically when two through lanes in one direction are replaced with a single through lane and a continuous left turn lane (also called a 'Road Diet' because the road gets smaller). Both the town of Berlin and VTrans and advocates desire better conditions for bicyclists in this corridor and the project will address this by using the space available from removing a through vehicle lane to include on-road bicycle lanes, much of which will also be striped with buffers. This will effectively make the bike lanes even safer by further separating them from motor vehicle traffic.
Figure 1. Reduction in potential conflict points by removing a travel lane and adding a center turn lane
Here is a video that VTrans put together talking about the project.