Sidewalk Strategic Plan

Sidewalk infrastructure is a key component of urban design that supports walking. It separates pedestrians from vehicular traffic and contributes significantly to creating a pedestrian friendly environment.

Sidewalk infrastructure is provided along approximately 85% of City streets and the number of sidewalk ramps is not yet known. Currently, the City does not have a method of comparatively prioritizing sidewalk projects, whether budgeted or requested by an outside person or group. This strategic plan is part of a larger capital improvement planning process that will improve the effectiveness of our capital expenditures.

The Sidewalk Strategic Plan supplements the 2007 City of Burlington Transportation Plan and incorporates input from the Walking Work Group, AARP and neighborhood work groups. The Sidewalk Plan will be used by Public Works Engineers and Planners to assess sidewalk needs and prioritize sidewalk projects. Recognizing that there are limited resources to address sidewalk deficiencies, the Sidewalk Strategic Plan will use a matrix to rank sidewalk and ramp needs. The matrix indices are sidewalk deficiency and pedestrian potential. Sidewalk expenditures will then provide maximum benefit.

This project is being done in-house and will include the sidewalk network represented in the City's GIS mapping sysem and database. The project team will consist of the staff of the Public Works Engineering Division with input from the City Council, various other City Departments, and the public. The team will draw on a larger resource network that will include the Walking Work Group, AARP, UVM, Champlain College, Safe Routes to School, Metropolitan Planning Organization. This Plan will be reviewed and ultimately accepted by the City Council.

The purpose of the Sidewalk Strategic Plan is to create a process for and to prioritize sidewalk projects within the City of Burlington, including:

  • defining acceptable sidewalk conditions
  • replacing of deficient sidewalk sections
  • installing new sections of sidewalk; and
  • constructing sidewalk ramps (for accessibility) on existing sidewalks.

The goal of the Sidewalk Strategic Plan is to ensure maximum value for pedestrian facility investments made by the City over the short and long term. The benefits to the community will be efficient and accessible pedestrian linkages throughout the community, enabling safe and healthy walking and reduced infrastructure costs through coordination with adjacent ROW improvements.

There will be four main project outcomes:

1.A report outlining the process, rational for the matrix, key observations and statistics related to pedestrian facilities.
2.A matrix that can be used and updated for on-going assessments of sidewalk project priorities.
3.A map showing where there are missing or deficient sidewalks.
4.A master list of sidewalk projects organized into a five year plan and annual work plan based on certain funding parameters to be defined by the City Council and administration.


Development of the Sidewalk Strategic Plan will include:

  1. Examining current data to ensure it accurately reflects locations of existing sidewalks, lack of sidewalks, and ramps.
  2. Creating sidewalk GIS mapping network and database.
  3. Complete inventory of system to identify deficiencies and ensure compliance with ADA.
  4. Development of priority pedestrian routes based on origin/destination information, high volume streets, policies as defined by the Transportation Plan, and public input.
  5. Developing a matrix to apply within a GIS application in the City's mapping system. This matrix will be used to prioritize future capital work for new sidewalks and ramps.
  6. Testing the matrix to determine its effectiveness.
  7. Seeking public comment on the matrix developed.
  8. Revising (if necessary) and finalizing the matrix.
  9. Circulating to relevant staff and stakeholder groups.
  10. Updating the municipal sidewalk map on an annual basis, reflecting completed projects and new developments.

Nicole Losch
865.5833 phone
863.0466 fax

Public Meetings 
Neighborhood Planning Assemblies

  • Ward 4/7: March 20, 2008
  • Ward 6: April 3, 2008
  • Ward 2/3: April 10, 2008
  • Ward 5: April 16, 2008
  • Ward 1: May 14, 2008

General Public Meeting -- Tuesday, April 29, 2008, 6:30 pm in Room 12 at City Hall

Sidewalk Invtentory & Volunteer Training
The Department of Public Works is seeking volunteers to assist our City-wide sidewalk inventory. We are asking volunteers or teams of volunteers to provide 10 hours of their time to walk designated routes, in areas of their choosing, at their leisure during the last two weeks in May, 2008.

Volunteers or team leaders must attend one training where they will receive their inventory worksheets. The trainings will be held at DPW, 645 Pine Street, at 5:30 pm on Monday and Tuesday, May 12 and 13. Please contact Nicole Losch if you would like to volunteer: 865-5833 or

Where do you walk? 
The City has identified pedestrian destinations throughout Burlington. We need to your help to identify which destinations are the most popular and the most important to residents. Please take this one minute survey to tell us which desinations are most important to you as a pedestrian.

Survey Results

Destination Votes by NPA Ward

Ward 1 Ward 2/3 Ward 4/7 Ward 5 Ward 6 Ward 7

Activity Centers

  6 10   2 18

Health Centers

  4 0   2 6


  5 1   11 17

Bus Routes

  4 4   3 11

Places of Worship

  1 1   3 5


  7 9   11 27


  0 11   6 17


  3 3   6 12

Number of Participants

  10 13   15 38