City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

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Complete Streets

The City of Burlington has a longstanding commitment to provide a range of interconnected, safe, affordable, efficient and convenient transportation choices for residents, visitors and employees alike. Recently, this commitment has been formalized through state and local policies, but the real challenge is still ahead of us as we implement these policies -- making every Burlington street "complete."

In June 2012, the DPW convened local stakeholders, decisionmakers, advocates and municipal staff for a full-day workshop sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency through their Sustainable Communities Building Blocks Program. Through collaboration at the workshop, an overarching vision was drafted to be a unifying guide for future planning studies that evaluate complete streets:

Burlington streets will evolve into complete streets corridors that provide safe, inviting, and convenient travel for all users of all ages and abilities —including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation riders.

Within each neighborhood, the need to move people through the corridor will be balanced with the need to provide access to homes, businesses, and local institutions within the corridor. The most effective use of finite public space will be determined through interdisciplinary collaboration with a wide range of community members considering economic, environmental, and equity concerns.

The corridor will develop into an attractive public space through creative streetscape, signage, and other site design features. The corridor will become more livable and desirable by promoting social interaction and public health. 

To facilitate Complete Streets implementation, the city needs to have a renewed effort in engagement, education and engineering for clarity and predictability in future processes, projects and plans. At the June 2012 workshop an action plan was created -- the action items and status updates from the DPW are included below. 

Engagement Actions
bullet Adopt Council Resolution directing complete streets implementation through the Public Works Commission oversight
PURPOSE

Provide decisionmakers with support for complete streets activities, direct city agency staff actions as suggested in or amended from this draft summary of next steps, and enable broad agency involvement through project-specific committees

LEAD AGENCY & TIMEFRAME

City Council Transportation, Energy and Utilities Committee (TEUC), after consultation with Public Works Commission

2-3 months

STATUS 

Agreement reached without City Council resolution. Public Works Commission oversees complete streets implementation.

 
bullet Identify city agency and committee/commission roles/responsibilities
PURPOSE

For maximum transparency, itemize and clearly define which agencies, committees, and commissions are responsible for planning and approving which elements of complete street projects. Identify existing policies standards, and guidelines and whether revisions are needed to facilitate complete streets implementation

LEAD AGENCY & TIMEFRAME

Department of Public Works (DPW), with Public Works Commission and City Council review and adoption of revisions as needed

3-6 months

STATUS 

Policies, standards and guidance have been included in the draft Burlington Complete Streets Guidance (link below). Agency, committee and commission responsibilities have not yet been added. 

 
bullet Develop widely-accessible documentation of complete streets progress citywide
PURPOSE

Define methods to broaden inclusivity of study/project process, increase interagency and public awareness of study/project status and next steps

LEAD AGENCY & TIMEFRAME

DPW and Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC)

Ongoing throughout project planning, design and implementation

STATUS 

Ongoing target of improvement. Currently under consideration for the North Avenue Corridor Study (website coming soon).  

 
bullet Develop complete streets project report card for each project
PURPOSE

Measure project progress by identifying existing multimodal performance measures, documenting anticipated performance of alternatives, and conducting follow-up to measure actual performance of selected alternatives

LEAD AGENCY & TIMEFRAME

DPW

Ongoing during and after project implementation

STATUS 

Plans for initial consideration in 2013 North Avenue Corridor Study (website coming soon).  

 
Engagement Actions
bullet Develop a complete streets educational campaign
PURPOSE

Share performance measures and lessons learned during the implementation process with Burlington neighborhoods and also nearby communities, utilize an outreach package suitable for both project and policy implementation, include flexible formats to tailor messages for audiences with and without access to the internet and English-language experience, and address broad effects of complete streets into the fields of health/physical activity, economic success, etc.

LEAD AGENCY & TIMEFRAME

Burlington Partnership for Health, DPW, advocates

12-18 months

STATUS 

Not yet initiated

 
Engineering Actions
bullet Develop internal Complete Streets Implementation Toolbox
PURPOSE

Define internal processes for identifying processes/procedures to integrate complete streets within DPW activities, including outreach to potential advocacy groups and partner agencies (health, schools, economic development, etc.)

LEAD AGENCY & TIMEFRAME

DPW staff, with Public Works Commission

6-12 months (to follow completion of City Agency roles/responsibilities)

STATUS 

Version 1 drafted (see Burlington Complete Street Guidance below), needs outreach component

 
bullet Develop effective process for planning and implementing Complete Streets
PURPOSE

Provide predictable and consistent process for benefit of all participants, developed in coordination with funding agency. Process guidance to include flowchart demonstrating early involvement of elected officials and local constituents in establishing project purpose and need, followed by study alternatives definition, evaluation, selection, and monitoring.

LEAD AGENCY & TIMEFRAME

DPW with funding agency (City, VTrans, CCRPC, etc.)

3-6 months (in conjunction with completion of City Agency roles/responsibilities)

STATUS 

Not yet initiated

 
bullet Consider adopting current NACTO Bikeway Design Guide and pending NACTO Urban Streets Design Guide for Complete Streets Toolbox
PURPOSE

Provide guidance for field-tested design solutions that demonstrate innovative and flexible variations from established design standards.

LEAD AGENCY & TIMEFRAME

DPW staff with Public Works Commission and Burlington Walk/Bike Council

3-6 months for bikeways, 12-18 months for urban streets

STATUS 

Burlington now holds affiliate membership with the NACTO. The Urban Design Guide is currently referenced for engineering and design of complete streets projects. 

 
Reporting 
 

The DPW tracks transportation projects' consideration of Complete Streets principles. A transportation project in Burlington may be considered as involving full depth construction, extensive earthwork, impacts to adjacent resources, involvement of multiples departments / agencies / divisions, and/or having a project budget approved by a governing body. The project reporting forms for 2012 have been completed and are available for review at the Clerk Treasurer's office or the Vermont Agency of Transportation. For more information on the reporting requirement and process, view the draft "Burlington Complete Streets Guidance" (below). 
Resources