Rebalancing the right-of-way: City to begin safety improvements on South Winooski Avenue


For immediate release:

October 5, 2020


For more information, contact:

Robert Goulding, DPW Public Information Manager




Rebalancing the right-of-way:

City to begin safety improvements on South Winooski Avenue


Burlington, VT – Starting Tuesday October 6th, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will implement a significant rebalancing of South Winooski Avenue between Pearl Street and Maple Street. This work is based on key findings from the 18-month long Winooski Avenue Corridor Study that included City staff and community stakeholders, and comes at the direction of a City Council resolution from March 2020. From Pearl to Main, the rebalancing includes the conversion of four automobile lanes to three and the addition of two bike lanes, a type of roadway conversion that is increasingly popular nationally and that many studies show has little impact on traffic flow but substantial safety and livability benefits.


“This improvement to South Winooski Avenue will dramatically improve this key downtown street, making it safer and more enjoyable for walkers, bikers, and drivers, and better connected with the streets, sidewalks, and businesses around it,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “While there is never a great time for street construction, completing the project now, while Covid-19 is reducing congestion pressure on the downtown, will create less disruption than normal, and ensure that the downtown is ready to welcome crowds back to Burlington when the pandemic ends. I’m grateful to the project team and many members of the public who have shaped this project over many months, and whose work is now bringing this substantive improvement to the heart of our city.”


This street rebalancing will consist of:

  • Pearl to Main: bike lanes in each direction, one travel lane in each direction, and a center lane for left turns.
  • Main to King: on-street parking on the east side of South Winooski Avenue will be removed (parking will be maintained on the west side), bike lanes in each direction, and one travel lane in each direction
  • King to Maple: one travel lane will be removed, traffic circulation will change to southbound only for vehicles (which is consistent with the traffic pattern south of Maple), bike lanes in each direction.
  • A curb extension at the corner of Main Street, protected bike lanes between Main St and College St, and removable planted medians between Bank St and Pearl St


Details of the construction work:

  • Work will begin on Tuesday October 6th and last for approximately 3 weeks
  • This project will include the installation of new traffic signs, removing existing pavement markings, applying new pavement markings, and limited quick-build construction.
  • Pavement marking removal and application may occur at night
  • The project budget is approximately $130K
  • Expect delays but no road closures.
  • Schedules are weather dependent.


Next steps for Winooski Ave safety improvements

Public Works monitors completed projects for safety and effectiveness. Staff will be on-site observing the new configuration and welcomes community feedback on the changes. You are encouraged to email or call 802-863-9094 with feedback.

As requested by City Council, DPW will also convene a North Winooski Avenue Stakeholder Committee before beginning the Parking Management Plan, directed by resolution, for north of Pearl Street. More information on this phase of the project will be shared in the coming months.


“While the City has invested millions of dollars in tripling the number of sidewalks rebuilt, and doubling the number of roads repaved annually, we’ve also been hard at work implementing the lower cost planBTV Walk Bike recommendations,” said Chapin Spencer, Director of Public Works. “We have added dozens of new crosswalks, many with flashing beacons like in the New North End, installed miles of new bike lanes and are rebuilding challenging intersections like ‘Five Corners’ in the South End. The City’s mission over the last few years has been to create safer streets for all of our residents and visitors.”

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