Happy summer, Burlington. I hope you all enjoyed the fireworks display at our annual July 3rd show on the waterfront. Thanks to Parks, Recreation & Waterfront, and to all of those who made the show possible. As summer continues in full swing, I am excited to share news of progress across the City over the past month.
Newest Section of the Bike Path Rehabilitation Breaks Ground
Work on the next mile of the Bike Path, Phase 1b, began in mid-June. Phase 1b will update and realign the path from the new Andy A_Dog Williams Skatepark to North Beach, including the construction of three new pause places to provide expanded recreational opportunities along the waterfront. Phase 1b rehabilitation will last through December, with landscaping and finishing touches completed early in the spring of 2017.
Path rehabilitation through the Urban Reserve features a new path alignment that will bring the path closer to the lake, necessitating only occasional closures of the existing Bike Path for the crossing of construction equipment. The dog park within the Urban Reserve and the Phase 1b construction site will be closed this summer, but will reopen in 2017 as a restored facility with new fencing, gates, signage and improved water access.
After Labor Day, the second part of construction from the Urban Reserve to just south of North Beach will require a full path closure. During that time, a detour through the North Beach Campground to North Avenue and down Depot St., connecting back with the Bike Path in Waterfront Park, is planned for path users.
Parks, Recreation & Waterfront has been instrumental in leading the effort to rehabilitate the entire eight-mile Bike Path. Phase 1a, completed in the summer of 2015, encompassed the length of the path from Perkins Pier to Penny Lane. Phase 1b will bring the City a step closer to its five-year completion goal for the full eight miles. To date virtually all of the bike path rehabilitation has been paid for using funds from state and federal economic development and transportation programs. To finish the job and improve the entire bike path we will need to find other, local sources of funding – something we will be discussing a lot in the months ahead.
North Avenue Pilot Project Collects Data
The North Avenue Pilot Project continued to gather data this month to determine whether the pilot is accomplishing its goals of enhancing public safety on North Ave. The pilot involves signal improvements, temporary restriping and intersection changes between Washington Street and Plattsburg Avenue, and a reconfiguration of the 4-lane segments of North Avenue to 3 lanes, with bike lanes and other changes made to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. These changes were recommended in the North Avenue Corridor Study the first phase of a three-phase process for making North Avenue a “Complete Street.”
The Department of Public Works (DPW) will collect data throughout the course of the pilot, conduct a public input survey, and make recommendations regarding the removal or continuation of the pilot components. The City hopes that these pilot measures will decrease the number and the severity of crashes, calm traffic, reduce speeding and make North Avenue safer for all users, while still providing efficient traffic flow.
DPW will hold a public forum in mid-September, followed by a public input survey in mid- to late-September. Based on public input and the data collected, DPW will make the decision to remove or retain pilot configuration over winter in mid-October. DPW plans to present traffic data, survey results and recommendations to City Council on October 17.
For more information or to provide input, please email email@example.com, or visit https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/DPW/North-Avenue-Pilot-Project.
Building Homes Together Gathers Housing Coalition
Earlier this summer, dozens of Chittenden County leaders in the fields of housing, business, social services, and local and state government, announced a new campaign to increase the production of housing in Chittenden County. The “Building Homes Together” coalition set a target of 3,500 new homes created in the next five years. These homes will meet the needs of a variety of income levels, including 700 units slated as affordable housing.
Building Homes Together was formed by the Champlain Housing Trust, Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and Housing Vermont, and has earned the support of nearly 100 community leaders.
Here in Burlington, the high cost of housing is one of our greatest social challenges. Burlington has striven for three decades to solve this problem, and it has made some significant headway with the help of the country’s leading housing organizations. Yet housing still remains far more expensive than it should be for too many Burlingtonians. Burlington welcomes this new opportunity to partner with its neighbors to ensure broader regional solutions to the housing shortage – we need more of all types of housing if we are going to make progress on our serious affordability challenge.