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Department of Public Works

North Avenue Pilot Project


What's New:

North Avenue Pilot Project Community Meeting
The second community survey results, crash data, and traffic data will be presented to the community at 7pm on July 6, 2017 at the Miller Center (130 Gosse Ct).  
2017 Reports
All reports will be presented to City Council at their July 10 meeting (tentative date).
1st Quarter Report: 
The initial survey results and first quarter traffic and crash data were presented at the October 17 meeting of City Council.  
North Avenue Pilot and School Travels:

North Avenue is a crucial corridor for parents and students traveling to and from neighborhood and magnet schools in Burlington. If parents, students, staff, and/or administrators have any feedback on the pilot project or would like to learn more, please contact DPW.

We are continuing to make adjustments to the the pilot. Thank you for the emails, phone calls, and outreach to help us troubleshoot some areas:
  • Winter 2016/2017: Faulty hardware at Ethan Allen Parkway and at Route 127 has been replaced, allowing more green time for North Avenue traffic. 
  • Winter 2106/2017: In response to feedback in the fall survey, the barriers used for the protected bike lane were permanently removed. 
  • Fall 2016: Additional green-time has been added to North Avenue signals north of Shore Road to help with morning rush hour. 
  • Summer 2016: A bus pull off has been constructed at the southbound bus stop in front of the Ethan Allen Shopping Center. While the buses won't be entirely out of the roadway, people driving and bicycling will be able to see around and pass a stopped bus in either the 3-lane or 4-lane configuration. 
  • Fall 2016: After hearing from drivers, we took a close look at the Ethan Allen Parkway intersection and discovered it was not operating as intended. Adjustments were made to provide more green-light time for North Avenue traffic during morning and evening rush hours. 
  • Summer - Fall 2016: In response to concerns about the number of barriers in the protected bike lane and the lack of space to pull aside for emergency vehicles in this area, we removed many of the barriers for less visual clutter and to make rooom to pull to the right.  Additional barriers will be removed the week of September 12 to allow room to pull aside for emergency vehicles. 
  • Summer 2016: In response to concerns for bicycles riding in the wrong direction, "Wrong Way, Ride With Traffic Signs" have been installed along North Avenue. 
  • Fall 2016: In response to concerns for motorcycles crossing the scarified pavement, warning signs have been ordered and will be installed as soon as they arrive. 
As always, please use caution, be courteous, have patience, and give yourself additional time while traveling in this new configuration. Please contact us at any time with questions, comments, or general feedback on the pilot. 

For More Information:

Please contact Nicole Losch - Email:  Phone: 802-863-9094 x3

Opportunities for Public Input

Project Links

Public Opinion Survey Report - fall 2016

Crash Analysis: 
July 2016 - April 2017
July 2016 - Sept 2016

Pilot Project Data

Pilot FAQs

Pilot Budget

Road Segment Concepts:

Draft Plans

Task Force Meeting Materials 

Corridor Study Website

CCRPC Website Link 

June 7 presentation and video 

Sept 20 presentation and public forum comments

Oct 17 presentation and 1st Quarter Report to Council


   Pilot Overview 

The North Avenue Pilot Project involves signal improvements, measures  to make North Avenue safer for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and temporary restriping and intersection changes between Washington Street and Plattsburg Avenue.  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 North Avenue Pilot installation begin in June 2016. The 4-lane segments of North Avenue were reconfigured to 3 lanes, and bike lanes and other changes were made to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. For a comprehensive list of changes that were made, please click here

The city hopes that these pilot measures will decrease the number of and the severity of crashes, calm traffic, reduce speeding and make North Avenue safer for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists, while still providing efficient traffic flow. 

Results from the pilot will determine whether the middle section of North Avenue should optimally be designed with three or four lanes.  This determination is critical as it will direct the design of future improvements called for in the corridor study including signalization, transit stops, crosswalks and bike facilities.

This is a pilot. All the modifications that will be made are reversible, and DPW is committed to removing modifications that are problematic.


   Pilot Timeline



  Travel Times

The pilot is designed to calm traffic while still providing efficient travel times, so if you are one of the 86% of drivers who were speeding on North Avenue prior to the pilot installation, your driving time is likely to increase slightly. As we prepared for the pilot, we projected a travel time increase of up to 2 minutes in either direction. The pilot project will provide data to determine what effect the roadway changes will have on driving times. 

A vehicle traveling at the speed limit (30 mph) that received all green lights would take 1 minute and 36 seconds to travel the 0.8 mile 4-lane section. Travel time data collected during the morning and evening commute hours in June and November 2015 found that, on average, it takes about two minutes to drive northbound, and slightly over two minutes to drive southbound.  With the pilot configuration installed in September 2016, travel time data collected during the morning and evening commute hours found that, on average, travel times increased approximately 30 seconds during the morning and 1 minute in the evening. This data is available in the 1st quarter report and will be updated based on new data collected in spring 2017. 

DPW will continue to monitor travel times and will, as needed and as possible, make modifications to optimize roadway and intersection efficiency. If pilot components result in unacceptable increases in driving times, it will be removed. 


    Speeding  and Crash Rates Prior to the Pilot Project

Between 127 and Ethan Allen Parkway, 86% of cars speed, and between the Shopping Center and Shore Road, 46% of cars speed[1]

The crash rate on North Ave[2] is significantly higher than that for comparable roads statewide.[3]   VTrans ranks high crash locations[4] on the 3,900 miles of federal aid highways in the state. 


   Project Cost

The pilot installation will cost approximately $155,000. DPW’s annual street and sidewalk capital budget is $2.4 million. 


   The Decision Making Process

The City Council directed the Department of Public Works to:

  • Collect data throughout the course of the pilot,
  • Conduct a public input survey,
  • Keep the project area City Councilors apprised of pilot developments, and
  • Make recommendations to the City Council 4 months into the pilot regarding the removal or continuation of the pilot components.


   Pilot Traffic Data

Traffic Data files collected from the Pilot will be posted on this project website. "Before" data is available on the Corridor Study website


info_icon.jpg   What We're Hearing (in development)

Can the yellow lines be crossed? 
Yes, the yellow lines can be crossed when it is safe to do so. Click here for a video depiction of how to use the center left turn lane.  

Can buses be passed when they're stopped? 
If it is safe to do so, buses may be passed when they're stopped. 

How can I access the 127 now that the ramps are closed? 
The 127 can be accessed from the signalized portion of the intersection on North Avenue. 

What do the flashing arrows mean?
Flashing yellow arrows mean you may turn when it is safe to do so, yielding to oncoming traffic or pedestrians in the crosswalk. Flashing red arrows mean you may turn, after coming to a stop and ensuring it is safe to turn. For a quick video tutorial courtesy of MNDOT, visit

What are the double white lines north of Shore Road? 
This area has a buffered bike lane, separated from motor vehicles by paint. If the new lane configuration is retained, the buffer area could be enhanced with additional paint, this area could become a protected bike lane, or the buffer could be removed to accommodate turn lanes or parking lanes.  

What are the white lines north of the VT 127 intersection?
For the pilot project, areas with excess pavement have been marked with fog lines to keep a single lane in each direction. If the new lane configuration is retained, this area will be remarked to better distinguish the travel lanes, turn lanes, and bike lanes. 

Q&A Related to the Protected Bike Lanes (removed in fall 2016)

What are the tall posts and low barriers in the roadway near BHS? 
Because this is a pilot project to determine how a revised lane configuration on North Avenue works, we are testing ways to ensure everyone's safety by separating the bike lane from cars, trucks, and buses. If the new lane configuration is retained, we will consider other ways to separate the lanes, such as planter boxes or elevating the bike lane. Click here for more information on protected bike lanes

We have installed two kinds of low-cost, removable lane separation devices for the pilot:


Bollards (also called flex posts) = vertical, flexible posts with reflective bands

Cycle lane delineators (also called "armadillos") = black and white oval mounds with reflective white stripes, accommodating passage of emergency vehicles and trash/recycling collection. 



What happens to the protected bike lanes during winter?
The materials in use for the pilot will be removed for winter snow removal, and other materials can be applied if a protected lane is desired for any area of North Avenue in its final configuration. In response to concerns with the number of bollards and the lack of space to pull aside for emergency vehicles, we have removed many of the barriers to create less visual clutter and make more room to pull to the right. Let us know if what we've tried is or isn't working: Does the roadway seem less cluttered? Is it easier to pull aside? Is a protected lane desired over a painted bike lane, but not with these materials?

How can emergency vehicles pass? 
Please put your hazard lights on and pull over to the right as far as possible. In order to make it easier for drivers to pull over near the protected bike lanes, we have increased the spacing of the bollards. If cars are traveling on both sides of the Avenue, it may be necessary to stagger vehicles or to pull off into a driveway to accommodate the emergency vehicle.


[1] Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. 

[2] This crash rate does not include crashes on side streets and in the shopping center.

[3] For more information on crash rates, please see pages 30-31 of the Corridor Study.

[4] High crash locations are locations that have 5 or more crashes in a 5-year period and have an Actual/Critical ratio of 1.0 or higher.