FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 31, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962  

Downtown Burlington Parking Changes Coming Nov. 1 
New Technology, Rates, Policies Geared Toward Improving Customer Experience, Sustaining Parking System;
City Seeks Input at Nov. 19 Public Forum

Burlington, VT – This Saturday, November 1, 2014, the City of Burlington will initiate the first phase of changes to the downtown parking system, including new credit card reading parking meters, improved garage facilities, new rates, and new hours of enforcement.  The changes have been designed to improve the customer experience and create a financially sustainable parking system.  The community is invited and encouraged to provide feedback to the City and its parking consultant teams on all aspects of additional downtown and residential City parking at a public forum on Wednesday, November 19 from 7:00-9:30 pm in City Hall’s Contois Auditorium.

“Improving the parking system will drive our economy forward,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “New technology, a more efficient customer experience, and more sustainable parking infrastructure complement our exciting downtown.  These changes represent a significant investment in our City’s transportation system and a sustainable, data-driven future.”

“Good parking policy is responding directly to what customers want,” said Kelly Devine, Executive Director of the Burlington Business Association, one of the initiative’s leaders.  “Burlington businesses have identified smart parking policy and well-maintained infrastructure as critical to the health of downtown. The number one complaint we’ve heard over the past year is lack of payment options – being able to use a credit card and pay for as much parking as needed will result in a better customer experience.  We are thankful to the City for partnering with the BBA on this important initiative.”

“We look forward to leveraging the data collected from our new smart meters to help guide future changes in rates and times of enforcement to reflect market demand,” said Chapin Spencer, Director of the Department of Public Works.  “We will continuously fine-tune our parking system to reach our goal of ensuring that parking spaces are available whenever and wherever Burlingtonians and our visitors are parking downtown.”

The changes come after more than one year of stakeholder meetings and significant data-gathering to support multiple ongoing parking studies.  Key parking meter elements of the November 1 changes include:

  • Smart meters in the downtown core (Cherry to Main Streets and Pine to South Winooski Streets) to accept credit/debit cards and closely track parking data, enabling further experimentation with rates and enforcement times based on market demand
  • Smart meter rate of $1.50/hour with no time limit
  • Smart meter enforcement until 10:00 pm from Monday to Saturday, encouraging increased turnover and greater availability of spaces in the downtown core during evening hours

 

Meter rates, enforcement hours, and technology outside the downtown core will remain the same as they are today, as follows:

  • Free parking less than a block away in any direction from the downtown core to continue after 6:00 pm
  • Downtown meter parking on Sundays and holidays to remain free

For more information about current parking meter rates, please visit DPW’s parking web page.

City-owned, downtown garage parking also has been and will continue to be improved:

  • Two-hour free program to remain in place at all City garages
  • Recent garage improvements include:
    • Pressure-washed stair towers
    • Safety painting on curb lines
    • Cleaning of all parking attendant booths and gate infrastructure
    • Graffiti removal
    • Elevator rehabilitation (College Street Garage)
    • Added overnight and holiday security (beginning by Thanksgiving holiday)
  • Marketplace Garage (on Winooski Avenue)
    •  Hourly rates to increase over current rates by $2.00/hour, with a daily maximum fee of $10.00
    • Automated lane that accepts credit cards or two-hour free tickets installed
  • Lakeview Garage (behind Hotel Vermont) and College Street Garage (behind the Hilton Hotel)
    • Hourly rates to increase over current rates by $1.00/hour, with a daily maximum fee of $8.00
  • Downtown garage parking on Sundays and holidays to remain free

Other elements of the new changes include:

  • Grace period of five minutes on every smart meter that runs out of time
  • Daily internal report identifying any broken meters, resulting in more efficient repair times
  • New wayfinding and signage being installed during the 2015 construction season to better direct people to available parking spaces
  • Upcoming significant investments in the parking garages to extend their functional life-spans and improve aesthetics and security

Parking ambassadors will be downtown on November 1 to assist parkers with questions about the changes.  For detailed information about the City’s parking initiatives, please visit the newly-launched website www.parkburlington.com.

The Downtown Parking Improvement Initiative is a collaboration between the Burlington Business Association, the Department of Public Works, the Community and Economic Development Office, and the Burlington Police Department, with planning and outreach support from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission.  The Initiative is one of a series of ongoing studies, including studies on residential parking and downtown commuting, aimed at improving Burlington’s parking and transportation systems.  The studies are expected to be complete in spring 2015 and will guide further changes to the parking system. 

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact:

 

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Press Release Date: 
10/31/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 24, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962  

Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement about School District Leadership

As Mayor, I am committed, above all, to the children in our community, as well as to our parents and our teachers.

I am frustrated and disappointed that the School Board and interim schools administration have not been able to come together and move forward during this challenging time.

This is unacceptable.  Burlingtonians will not tolerate this failure of leadership, which puts our children’s education at risk.

Within my authority as Mayor, I can offer no easy answers – the School Board is independently elected and selects our superintendent. 

Upon hearing today’s news, I immediately spoke with School Board Chair Patrick Halladay and State Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe to ensure that all appropriate actions are being taken to protect the children and parents who will be impacted by today’s announcement and resulting events.

Last spring, I offered to help the schools manage their leadership transition.  That offer was politely declined, but I will repeat it today.  We are part of a shared community, and the City is here to provide any reasonable assistance it can to the Board in accomplishing the immediate tasks before it:  recruiting and appointing an interim superintendent and selecting the next superintendent.

It is important that we act decisively, but not precipitously, in a way that moves our community forward.

Finally, I am very grateful to the teachers, principals, and staff in all our schools who have continued their excellent work with students this school year, despite the uncertainty at the top of the district.  The importance of that work cannot be understated – we are fortunate to have such committed and talented educators in our City.
 

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Press Release Date: 
10/24/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 23, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962  

Improvements to Burlington Wayfinding Approved by City Council
Signs Will Give Downtown District a Comprehensive, Consistent, Understandable Wayfinding System

Burlington, VT – At Monday night’s meeting, the City Council approved the Burlington Wayfinding Improvements project, which consists of the removal of existing signs and the fabrication and installation of approximately 100 new signs of different types throughout Burlington’s downtown district.  The signs and related infrastructure, long desired by many in the downtown, will be fabricated during the winter and installed next spring to give the downtown district a comprehensive, consistent, and readily understandable wayfinding system.

“I am excited that the long-anticipated effort to modernize and enhance our downtown signage to improve safety, access, and awareness of key downtown features is about to happen,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The wayfinding improvements will make our City more livable and inviting to all, for everything from simply parking your car to accessing our celebrated waterfront.”

“A great signage program is a hallmark of a great city,” said Kelly Devine, Executive Director of the Burlington Business Association.  “Burlington businesses have been asking for a new signage and wayfinding system. We are grateful to Mayor Weinberger and his Administration for making it happen.  This new system will make it easier for customers and visitors to find their way to amenities and parking.  The result will be less congestion in the downtown and a more welcoming city.”

PROJECT TIMELINE:

  • Preparation, materials sourcing, and sign fabrication:  October – March
  • Delivery of signs:  End of April – early May
  • Field activities – including removal of existing signs, preparation of individual sites for installation, foundations, final installation:  March – July 

Project completion is expected by July 2015.

PROJECT BENEFITS:

Once the project is completed, the wayfinding signs and information will allow residents and visitors alike to benefit from a comprehensive, consistent sign plan. The project includes the installation of pedestrian-scale wayfinding signs, various types of parking facility signs, and hairpin signs. Benefits from the project include:

  • Enabling efficient transport for drivers by providing directional signs to parking and popular destinations;
  • Encouraging walking and bicycle trips by providing directional signs for bicyclists and pedestrians;
  • Reducing traffic congestion and environmental impact caused by drivers circling or waiting for parking or directional information; and
  • Directing visitors to tourism, cultural, and recreational amenities.

 

For more information about the City’s grant-funded wayfinding project, please click here.

*Please see attached wayfinding graphics (image 1, image 2, image 3).

 

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Press Release Date: 
10/23/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 22, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962                 

City Attorney Letter to Uber

On October 21, 2014, City Attorney Eileen Blackwood sent the attached letter to Dave Barmore at Uber.

 

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Press Release Date: 
10/22/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 21, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962                 

Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement on Burlington College Proposed Land Sale

“I am pleased to see Burlington College taking decisive, proactive steps to address its serious financial challenges.  I support the efforts of the Board and its new management team to save this important Burlington institution.  The City has a variety of interests with respect to the property - for example, an east-west public connection to the bike path is a goal that has been well-defined in multiple Parks, Recreation & Waterfront planning efforts and documents - and we will continue to be engaged in the development and conservation discussions about the land in the months and years ahead.”

 

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Press Release Date: 
10/21/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

For Immediate Release

October 10, 2014
Contact:  CAO Bob Rusten, 802.865.7012

NOTICE OF NOVEMBER GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT CORRECTION;
EARLY VOTING HAS RESUMED

On Monday, the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office notified the public about an error on the Vermont General Election Ballot, where the names of five Republican candidates for Justice of the Peace inadvertently were omitted from the November ballot.  The City had suspended early voting until corrected ballots were printed.

The corrected ballots now have been printed and will be mailed today, along with a copy of the attached letter, to the 422 early and absentee voters, who already had requested and been provided with ballots.  Additionally, beginning the week of October 20th, the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office will be calling individuals who voted the incorrect ballot, but have not yet returned the new, corrected ballot to ensure they are aware of the error and opportunity to vote the new ballot.  Early voting resumed today. 

The Clerk/Treasurer’s Office, in conjunction with the Secretary of State’s Office carefully reviewed the circumstances that led to our error, and steps will be taken to amend the manner in which candidates are placed on the ballot in an effort to prevent similar or other future mistakes.

Again, the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office recognizes and apologizes for the problems our error has caused for the impacted voters and candidates and for the additional financial cost to the City.

 

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Press Release Date: 
10/10/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 9, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962
                 

Mayor Miro Weinberger Statement after Meeting with Representatives from Uber

“Today, after a productive meeting with representatives from Uber, I’m encouraged by the possibility that Uber and its ride-sharing technology platform could improve Burlington’s transportation options.  Like everyone else, Uber will have to play by the rules.  To that end, I was pleased that Uber expressed a willingness to work with the City on a number of significant regulatory issues, including public safety, consumer protection, and municipal payments.  We are exploring whether, as has been done in other communities, the City may be able to enter into an interim operating agreement with Uber that would address Uber’s entry into the market.  I look forward to working with the City Council and existing stakeholders to investigate possible paths forward.” 

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Press Release Date: 
10/09/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

For Immediate Release

October 6, 2014
Contact:  CAO Bob Rusten, 802.865.7012

NOTICE OF NOVEMBER GENERAL ELECTION BALLOT ERROR
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF EARLY VOTING

The Clerk/Treasurer’s Office, after receiving an inquiry from the Burlington Republican Committee, has determined that five Republican candidates for Justice of the Peace inadvertently were omitted from the November General Election ballot.  This error impacts all Wards/Districts.  The City of Burlington has arranged to have the ballots reprinted at a cost to the City of approximately $10,000.  The City has suspended early voting until corrected ballots are printed; we expect to have new ballots printed by early next week. 

The 422 early and absentee voters, who already have requested and been provided with ballots, will be provided with corrected ballots and information on re-voting, and the incorrect ballots, whether voted or not, will be rendered spoiled.  Those voters will have to complete the reprinted, corrected ballots for their votes to be counted.  Additionally, election machines will be reprogrammed to reject the incorrect ballots.

The Clerk/Treasurer’s Office carefully has reviewed the circumstances that led to our error, and steps will be taken to amend the manner in which candidates are placed on the ballot in an effort to prevent similar or other future mistakes.

“I am disappointed that, for the second time in two years, the City finds itself in the position of having to correct a ballot,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger.  “These avoidable and costly errors must end.  I have directed CAO Bob Rusten to submit to me within 30 days after the election a new set of procedures for ensuring the accuracy of all ballot language, including verification of candidate information with Burlington’s political parties in advance of ballot publication.”

The Clerk/Treasurer’s Office offers thanks to the Burlington Republican Committee for alerting the City to the error.  Additionally, the Clerk/Treasurer’s Office recognizes and apologizes for the problems our error has caused for the impacted voters and candidates and for the additional financial cost to the City.

 

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Press Release Date: 
10/06/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 2, 2014
Contact:  Mike Kanarick
                 802.735.7962  

Governor Shumlin, Speaker Smith, Mayor Weinberger, other State and City Officials, Bike Path Stakeholders Break Ground on Enhanced, Expanded Bike Path Construction
TIF Funds Pave Way for Rebuilding Recreation Crown Jewel, Improving User Safety, and Continuing Economic Impact

Burlington, VT – Governor Peter Shumlin, Speaker of the House Shap Smith, Mayor Miro Weinberger, Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Director Jesse Bridges, other State and City officials, and bike path stakeholders today broke ground in Waterfront Park on the first phase of a multi-year effort to completely rebuild, expand, and enhance the entire eight-mile Burlington Bike Path.  State tax increment financing (TIF) funds have paved the way for the first phase of the rebuilding of the City’s recreation crown jewel, improving user safety, and continuing the annual economic impact benefit for our City. 

“The Burlington Bike Path is a jewel in this great City and a treasure for our whole state,” said Governor Shumlin.  “The State of Vermont was glad to make TIF funding – a true economic generator – available for the Burlington Bike Path expansion and enhancements to make sure it continues to be a top destination for recreation and a community resource for years to come.”

Speaker Smith praised Mayor Weinberger and municipal leaders for making smart investments in Burlington’s future, stating:  “The revitalization of the Burlington Bike Path is an excellent example of what municipalities can accomplish when working in partnership with the state.  I look forward to engaging with our partners to find more opportunities to improve our downtown destinations.”

“Creation of the bike path nearly 30 years ago was an act of leadership, foresight, struggle, and innovation, and a big step towards making Burlington a great City,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger.  “It’s now our responsibility to ensure proper, long-term stewardship of this remarkable public resource by improving it to meet the 21st century infrastructure expectations of the people of Burlington and the thousands of visitors who use the path every year.”  

The newly-widened path – 11 feet of asphalt with two-foot gravel shoulders on each side (2-11-2 cross section) – will yield higher capacity and greater differentiation of user types and will be built to much higher engineering standards than the original bike path.  Jesse Bridges, Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Director, stated:  “I am excited by these ambitious plans.  User surveys we have conducted have told us that lake views, the bike path, and beaches are the most important assets we manage.  To meet growing demand for these healthy pursuits, we must enhance the quality of our design and continue to increase opportunities.”

The newly rebuilt bike path will include the following improvements:

  • Widening of the bike path.  The cross-section of the existing path varies from eight to 10 feet, with and without non-formalized shoulders.  Through the rehabilitation, the project will widen the path to the 2-11-2 cross section, with full-depth reconstruction, wherever conditions permit.
  • Higher engineering standards.  Engineering standards including consistently designed sub-base, uniform top coat, proper slope to better accommodate stormwater flow, formal aggregate shoulders, centerline striping, and delineation paint will improve the longevity, security, and appearance of the bike path.
  • User safety enhancements.  Intersection improvements and new path alignments, particularly in the Waterfront Park Event Grounds and in the Urban Reserve, will lead to user safety enhancements.
  • Improved connections.  These connections between the bike path and our parks, the lake, and cultural resources will be improved.
  • Improved wayfinding.  New signage and visual demarcations along the bike path will enhance the user experience.
  • Pause places.  These are special places along the path that will create more and varied opportunities for enjoyment along the path.  Three styles of pause place currently are in development including rest stops, information stops, and pocket parks.  These styles will offer varying amenities, from information kiosks to seating, drinking fountains, and artwork.
     

John Bossange, former Bike Path Task Force Chair and current Parks Commissioner and Parks Foundation Board Member, provided a link back to the hard work undertaken by the Task Force in 2010 and a look ahead, stating:  “The Task Force concluded overwhelmingly that the Burlington Bike Path was at a crossroads.  With our shovels in the ground here today, we say emphatically that we will not turn away.  Rather, we will invest in the future and the long-term viability of our beloved bike path.”

The construction phasing plan includes the following steps:

  • Phase 1a construction will start now in Waterfront Park, and crews will work their way south to Perkins Pier, meeting substantial completion next spring.  The cost of this work is $644,975.
  • During 2015, Parks and Recreation expects to complete any remaining Phase 1a construction items and begin/complete Phase 1b construction from the south end of the Urban Reserve (adjacent to the Waterfront Access North site) to North Beach.  Phase 1b is anticipated to cost more than Phase 1a because there will be more full-depth reconstruction involved.
  • Total TIF allocation for path rehabilitation from Perkins Pier through the Urban Reserve is $2.84 million for design and construction.

Future Phases of Rehabilitation

  • The overall cost of the full bike path rehabilitation is estimated between $12-16 million.
  • Funding of future phases will require more action.  The Administration will be coming forward soon with a plan to fund the next phase of rehabilitation to begin in spring 2016.

City Councilor Karen Paul (Ward 6), past Chair of the Council’s Parks, Arts, and Culture Committee (PACC), also participated in the groundbreaking and stated:  “Today's announcement of the enhanced and expanded bike path construction is yet another historic milestone and step forward in realizing the City's goal for a vital waterfront as envisioned in our newly adopted and highly collaborative planBTV.  This great progress would not be possible without TIF funding and the enthusiastic support of Burlington's voters, to whom we are grateful.  This is an exciting day for our City.”

City Councilor Kurt Wright (Ward 4), current PACC Chair, was unable to attend today’s event, but shared the following thoughts about this project:  “From my perspectives as a New North End resident, Bike Path Task Force member, PACC Chair, and a state representative who believes in the positive impact of an effective state TIF policy, I am thrilled that this project to rebuild the entire bike path is moving forward.  Our rebuilt bike path – one of Burlington’s true treasures – will continue to serve as an amazing community amenity and as an economic engine for Burlington.”

The history of the bike path includes the following significant events:

  • The original bike path, which varied between approximately eight to 10 feet wide, was constructed in 1985 and 1986.
  • In 2004, the Burlington and Colchester Trail Bridge over the Winooski River was built and opened.
  • In 2010, the Bike Path Task Force convened and recommended a $12-16 million expansion and enhancement plan to bring the bike path up to modern standards.
  • In April 2011, Lake Champlain flooding badly damaged five sections of the bike path.
  • In November 2012, 75 percent of Burlington voters approved up to $2.84 million of TIF investment in the bike path expansion and enhancement from Perkins Pier to the northern boundary of the Urban Reserve.
  • Also in November 2012, 73 percent of Burlington voters approved an annual allocation of a half cent, or approximately $173,000, for maintenance and improvement of the bike path.
  • During fall 2012 and winter 2013, major bike path and slope stabilization repairs, largely FEMA-funded, were completed.
  • Between fall 2012 and spring 2014, the conceptual design for the entire bike path was completed; design development and permitting per construction phase remains ongoing.

 

*Please see the following attached renderings of the Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation Project:

  • Bird’s Eye View
  • Cross Section at Waterfront Park Event Grounds
  • Concept Plan

 

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Press Release Date: 
10/02/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

Leahy, Sanders, Welch, Weinberger:
HUD Awards City of Burlington $3.4 M. To Improve Housing Health And Safety

(TUESDAY, Sept. 30, 2014) -- Vermont’s Congressional Delegation – Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I) and Representative Peter Welch (D) -- and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger Tuesday announced a U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant of $3.4 million to the Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) for lead safety and to address home health and safety issues in low-income housing.

The CEDO Burlington Lead Program will be awarded $3 million in program funding, one of only twenty Lead-based Paint Hazard Control grant recipients in the nation.  CEDO will also receive $400,000 under the Healthy Homes grant program.  The funding comes from the HUD Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, which promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous hazards from homes, stimulate investment in lead hazard control and educate the public about the dangers of lead-based paint.  

In partnership with area nonprofit groups, CEDO will perform hazard assessments and perform remediation on 160 housing units.

In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said:  “Vermont has one of the oldest housing stocks in the nation, which makes our commitment to reducing the health hazards within our homes and community facilities a top priority.  Lead, asbestos and harmful allergens have the potential to harm children and their families, and these risks are avoidable.  This award will enable CEDO and its partners to continue to eliminate these risks, while raising the bar for rental housing safety and quality in our communities.”

Mayor Miro Weinberger said:  “In these times of reduced federal funds for solving pressing local challenges, I am especially thrilled that Burlington was chosen by HUD for funding to protect children from lead poisoning and other housing hazards.  The fact that we were selected from among a large group of communities in a competitive process is recognition of the strong performance of our staff and our top-notch program that makes older homes safe for Burlingtonians.  As the father of two young daughters, it is reassuring to know that the City has secured millions of additional dollars to protect Burlington children from the terrible risks of lead poisoning.” 

Brian Pine, assistant director for housing at CEDO, said:  “This is a great day for the low-income kids of our community.  This funding allows us to continue making their homes safe so they have a better chance of a healthy and prosperous future.”

To learn more information about lead or other health hazards in your home, call the CEDO Burlington Lead Program at 802-865-LEAD.

 

Contacts:

David Carle (Leahy): 202-224-3693
Michael Briggs (Sanders): 202-224-5141
Ryan Nickel (Welch): 202-225-4115

Mike Kanarick (Weinberger): 802-735-7962
Brian Pine (CEDO): 802-865-7144
 

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Press Release Date: 
09/30/2014
City Department: 
Mayor's Office

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