City of Burlington, Vermont City of Burlington, Vermont

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DPW Customer Service: 863-9094/EMAIL

 

Traffic Calming & Neighborhood Enhancement Program

 

WHAT'S NEW? 

 

Streets are public places for many activities and functions. The prime function of residential streets is to serve the land that abuts them -- providing access to homes while serving as travel routes for those who wish only to pass through an area. Conflict arises between the presence of moving vehicles and the quiet of a residential street.  

The design of the street network has a great influence on the livability, vitality and character of Burlington. Many residents feel that their neighborhoods have become overwhelmed with speeding and cut-through traffic that erodes their quality of life. Traffic calming can slow vehicle speeds, reduce cut-through traffic, and enhance a neighborhood's vitality. 

"For neighborhoods, traffic calming measures should begin with an assessment of the problem that identifies the sources of the problem and includes neighborhood participation. All efforts should be made to keep through traffic off local streets, and traffic calming techniques will help. Though residential collector and major streets will carry substantial amounts of through traffic, the city can enhance both the safety and the quality of residential life on these streets. Traffic calming improvements can soften the traffic-residential conflict on collector or major streets. Some traffic mobility is lost but the quality of residential life is improved."  
Excerpts from the Burlington Municipal Development Plan and the 2011 Burlington Transportation Plan, Street Design Guidelines
 

Interested in traffic calming on your street?
Currently, traffic calming in Burlington is initiated by residents. At least 1/3 of the affected street or neighborhood needs to be interested in traffic calming, which is demonstrated through a neighborhood petition (template available below). Once a petition is received, it enters the project queue. The DPW manages an average of 4 traffic calming projects at any one time and new projects are advanced in the order they are received. The process generally takes a minimum of 2 years and up to 4 years to complete, while the City balances staff to manage projects and budgets to install traffic calming.

When a project is ready to advance, traffic data is collected and analyzed to understand how much traffic uses the street, what kind of vehicles (cars, trucks/buses), and what speeds vehicles travel. At the first neighborhood meeting, residents are asked to describe their traffic concerns and identify any traffic calming features they may be interested in or want to avoid. At the same meeting, City staff will describe the traffic patterns and identify any traffic calming features that may not be recommended for your street. Through additional neighborhood meetings, the neighborhood and the City (DPW and Fire Department) will review concepts for traffic calming options and identify the best options to consider for installation. Some concepts may be tested for an afternoon or up to 30 days, and the final concept will be approved by the City and the neighborhood. If 1/3 of the neighborhood is opposed to the traffic calming concepts, the project does not advance and the traffic calming request is closed. If the neighborhood approves the concept, it will advance for construction.

The traffic calming program was initiated in the 1990's. As the City continues to grow, traffic-related impacts on our roadways, our waterways, and our neighborhoods becomes an increasing pressure. While the traffic calming program has traditionally been neighborhood-iniated, there will be new opportunities for the City to initiate traffic calming. City-intiated traffic calming may focus on Slow Street and Neighborhood Greenway priorities (see planBTV Walk Bike), stormwater infiltration projects, and redevelopment of private properties. The City will continue to engage neighborhoods in these traffic calming projects and the design process, ensuring that traffic calming provides neighborhood enhancements.  

RESOURCES 

 

TRAFFIC CALMING PROJECTS IN DEVELOPMENT

  • Grant Street: construction 90% complete, pending completion of a median at Union Street in 2017
  • King Street neighborhood: King Street construction to occur in 2017, west of Pine Street; other neighborhood concepts still in development   

UP NEXT: NEW REQUESTS FOR TRAFFIC CALMING

  • Scarff Avenue
  • Mansfield Avenue
  • Ferguson Avenue Neighborhood
  • Cayuga Court
  • Birchcliff Parkway Neighborhood

RECENTLY COMPLETED TRAFFIC CALMING  

  • Loomis Street: bumpouts and a speed hump was installed on Loomis Street between North Prospect and Willard Street in 2016. 
  • Hyde Street: Hyde Street was closed to motor vehicle traffic with construction of a raingarden and new sidewalk.  
  • Spring Street: Spring Street was closed between Walnut Street and Elmwood Avenue with semi-permanent expansion of Dewey Park. The Departmen tof Parks, Recreation and Waterfront will consider permanent expansion and redesign through a future parks-planning project.
  • North Street: 2 bumpouts, 2 speed humps and a textured traffic circle were constructed in June 2013. Follow up traffic data will be collected in 2014.  
  • Tracy Drive: 3 speed humps, a textured crosswalk and textured medians were constructed in May 2013. Follow up traffic data will be collected in 2014.    
  • Isham Street bumpouts and trees were installed in June 2012. Traffic data will be collected in 2013 to evaluate the effectiveness of calming traffic.
  • Decatur Street "raingarden" bumpouts were installed in October 2010. Traffic impacts: In 2004, only 66% of vehicles traveled at or below the 25 mph speed limit on Decatur Street. Traffic data in 2011 shows that 85% of the vehicles now travel at or below 25 mph.
  • Booth Street was repaved in 2012 and speed humps were installed to new specifications. After initial installation in 1998, 80% of vehicles traveled at or below 25 mph. After re-installation to new standards for design in 2012, 96% of the vehicles now travel at or below 25 mph. View the traffic data here

 

TRAFFIC CALMING REQUESTS COMPLETED WITHOUT CONSTRUCTION  

In some situations, traffic calming requests were received and neighborhood meetings were held, but ultimately residents determined that traffic calming options were not a solution to the problems on their street. As a result, new traffic requests on these streets won't be pursued by the city for 2 years:

  • Austin Drive: new traffic calming requests could be processed after February 2014. View the neighborhood meeting packet here
  • Bright Street: a neighborhood meeting was held in August 2006 to discuss impacts of commercial properties and drug use on the neighborhood's quality of life, but traffic calming solutions were not pursued.
  • Crombie Street: a 2009 poll of the neighborhood determined that traffic calming options were not desired. 
  • North Champlain Street: neighborhood request to review effectivness of reconstructed speed humps following street paving.

 

PROGRAM MANAGER: Nicole Losch