Thursday, October 1, 2015


Each month, North End members of the North Avenue Corridor Task Force present current issues under discussion at task force meetings, and collect ideas. We are reminded that members of the public can make comments directly to the full Task Force at their regular meetings. All are welcome.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

First Northeast U.S. Modern Roundabout in Montpelier Celebrates its 20th Birthday in August/U.S. Highway Safety

The First Modern Roundabout East of Colorado and North of Maryland Reaches 20th Birthday This August: Keck Circle Montpelier, VT.
     By Tony Redington  TonyRVT08

North Avenue Corridor Task Force member R. J. Lalumiere video taken in field visit by NPA 3, 4, and 7 November 1, 2013: (5:43 clip best summary)

At eventide on August 16, 1995 just after application of the Spring and Main Streets modern roundabout's first course asphalt paving, two young bicyclists circled a time or two on the still hot circular travelway. A few minutes later after the paving equipment fully cleared, traffic barriers came down and the first modern roundabout in the northeast opened for four-wheeled vehicles too. So began the first hour of Keck Circle in Montpelier, Vermont's first roundabout--the first north of Maryland and east of Colorado, and 19th built in the U.S.

That roundabout, Keck Circle, so named by City Council action commemorates citizen-activist and member of the Montpelier Roundabout Committee Andy Keck who died just weeks before the opening of his namesake roundabout, is located a block from grades 6-8 Main Street Middle School. Keck Circle traffic calms a block or two along each leg including the main crossing to the school, and has never been found to require crossing guard protection at school times. To all Montpelier school students today Keck Circle has been in place their entire lives. The roundabout defines one of the four corners of the simple rectangular Vermont Capital City downtown street grid composed of north-south Main and Elm Streets and east-west Spring and State Streets.

Controversial up to and in its early operation, a survey a year later found 85% acceptance and support. That survey was the first U.S. public opinion survey undertaken on a roundabout after construction. To date in almost 20 years of operation no serious injuries were recorded and in the first decade injuries were less than the decade previous. With about 3,000 roundabouts built as of the end of 2014 in the U.S. and Canada not a single walk mode fatality was recorded. (In Burlington, VT two walk mode fatalities occurred at the City's 75 traffic signals between 1998-2014 alone and a third at a signal adjacent to the City border in South Burlington.)

The single lane roundabout with a diameter which averages about 106 feet continues to serve about the same traffic approaching along its three legs,12,000 total vehicles entering it on an average day. About 42 tractor trailers a day travel through the roundabout as it is located on Route 12, and large tour buses are a frequent users during the fall foliage season. Designed by Michael J. Wallwork, Alternate Street Design, Orange Park, FL, Montpelier leaders at the time were Mayor Charles Karparis, City Manager Ryan Cotton and Department of Public Works Director Steven Gray. The Montpelier Roundabout Committee members included: Peter Meyer and Tony Redington (co-chairs), Keck, Gray, then Police Chief Douglas Hoyt, Donna Bate, Alan Lendway and then City Planner Joseph Zehnder. Keck Circle cost $162,000 and involved only City funds. From concept to ready-to-construct, it took two years, then one additional to complete accommodation within the City budget.

Since the opening of the roundabout the other three major intersections along Main Street received favorable preliminary feasibility studies for roundabout conversion—Main and State, Main and Barre (now in detailed study), and across the Winooski Bridge at the south terminus of Main Street at River Street/Northfield Street/Memorial Drive. Montpelier's second roundabout, a single lane roundabout at US 2/302, opened in 2009. Through 2014 there are now 14 modern roundabouts with downtown roundabouts in addition to Keck Circle in Waterbury, Manchester Center (3) and Middlebury. The three roundabouts in Manchester Center with the last two completed in 2013 constitute the first Vermont corridor of roundabouts and first walkable busy corridor in the State.

Wallwork, one of a handful of engineers who designed and promoted roundabouts from their inception in the U.S. in 1990 through today, wrote in 1992: “...I predict that engineers will increasingly realize that traffic signals are not the cure-all and, adopting a more international outlook, roundabouts will proliferate in this last major bastion of the traffic signal. Roundabouts will be used in residential streets to reduce speeds and accidents, and on arterial roads to reduce accidents and provide higher capacity. In all instances they will be more cost effective and aesthetic...” (“Roundabouts for the U.S.A.” 1992).

In the United States, once first in highway safety, fatality rates continue to slide below now a total of 18 nations with top nations (including the U.K., birthplace of the roundabout, in first place). Roundabouts cut incapacitating and fatal injuries about 90% for all modes. The U.S. fatality rate per mlle of travel now is twice that of nations at the top of the list. This means about 20,000 additional deaths each year here, as reported by Malcolm Gladwell in New Yorker Magazine, May 4. Most of the nations ahead of the U.S. heavily invested in roundabouts as well as in urban areas a full range of safe walk and bike infrastructure.

To see Keck Circle in action at school closing one can view this 5 minute-43 second video taken on the afternoon of November 1, 2013 by R.J. Lalumiere of Burlington during a field visit of North Avenue Corridor Plan Advisory Committee members.

Notes: 1. The public opinion survey report referenced, Montpelier's Modern Roundabout at Keck Circle Neighborhohod Opinion Survey: January 1997” can be viewed at:
2. The New Yorker article referred to: “The Engineer's Lament” by Malcolm Gladwell, May 4, 2015 New Yorker Magazine
3. The base reference for the “about 90%” reduction of “incapacitating and fatal injuries” obtained by installing roundabouts is: R. Retting, B. Persaud, P. Garder, D. Lord. (2001) Crash and injury reduction following installation of roundabouts in the United States” American Journal of Public Health
. This study because of sample size did not apply directly to either bicycle or walk mode rates, only “all modes rate.” Separate studies of single lane roundabouts do show reductions of serious and fatal injury rates of about 90% for walk mode and bike mode.

Monday, June 29, 2015


July 8 and 9, residents will have several different opportunities to learn about issues related to biking and walking in the city, and to share ideas with the advisory committee.

*You can hear updates from advisory committee members Liam, Kasie, and Kurt at NPA meetings. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015


For the first time in this landmark document the Burlington Walk Bike Council, the “Burlington Declaration” sets roundabouts and a cycle track network as part and parcel of a safe walkable and bikable plan for the City. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Where are we going to put the next roundabout?


When Arizona DOT first began touting this road intersection concept, people screamed. "They're not safe." "They slow down traffic." "Pedestrians will get mowed over." "They have them back East and they're dangerous." "The cement trucks will never be able to get through them. 
Locals chided the state for pushing roundabouts. 
Many saw themselves as authorities on roundabouts, even if they had never driven through one.
Now, less than 10 years later, the first thought shared when talking about building a new road or improving an existing one in Arizona is "Where are we going to put the roundabouts? 

Sound familiar? Before you're presented with another ill-informed hysterical petition (or politicians who will agree with you rather than share good information with you), please take the time to learn about roundabouts, and why they are the intersection of choice. 

View the presentations on the CCRPC's project website
Final plans for Shelburne St. Rotary

Sunday, February 8, 2015

North Avenue Task Force II

Task Force Members
  • NPA delegates: Ward 4 - Rich Nadworny, Representative; Pat Kearney, Alternate. Ward 7 - RJ LaLumier, Representative; Muffy Milens, Alternate. [Representatives and Alternates attend all meetings of the task force, and will be available at NPA meetings monthly for discussion and questions.]
  • City Councilors' recommendations to the mayor, mayor appoints: Ward 4 Dave Hartnett and Kurt Wright recommended Paul Sisson. Ward 7, Tom Ayres and Bianca LeGrand recommended Jason L'Ecuyer.
Nicole Losch, DPW, task force facilitator:

With the new year the City has received confirmation that the Regional Planning Commission can provide assistance with the North Avenue Pilot Project planning. In October 2014 City Council created a  North Avenue Task Force II to work with DPW as we implement the North Ave Corridor Study Recommendations, so in mid-January we contacted all of the Task Force organizations to identify the representatives who will convene the Task Force. We anticipate having a complete list of representatives in February and could then convene the kick-off meeting in March. Wards 4 and 7 have each been asked to provide a representative, and the area Councilors from each Ward will also be recommending a representative.

The Task Force will work with the City to identify the benchmarks, metrics, and outreach process (schedule, methods of reaching the public, etc.) – basically all of the components – of the pilot project. In 2015 we will identify the data that needs to be collected, begin to collect the data, and fully prepare for physical changes in 2016. 

Nicole Losch, PTP, Transportation Planner
645 Pine Street Suite A, Burlington VT 05401
802.865.5833 direct // 802.863.0466 fax

Mayor explains his support for the PILOT STUDY:  It will become a permanent feature if it makes sense.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

ROAD DIET PRIMER, RT 302 Barre-Montpelier Rd

This 3 minute VIDEO is a primer on ROAD DIET - reconfiguring existing lanes to make MORE EFFICIENT USE OF ROAD SPACE THAT WE HAVE and to make the road SAFER FOR ALL USERS.

Published on Dec 23, 2014
VTrans will be reconfiguring lanes on Barre-Montpelier Rd (Rt. 302) as part of a paving project in Spring 2015. The new lane configuration will be in place for a 60-day trial period, and will feature a reduction in vehicle traffic lanes. The new configuration is projected to reduce vehicle collisions along Barre-Monpelier Rd, while continuing to sufficiently handle the traffic volume. The extra space along the roadway will be used to implement a buffered bike lane that creates a safe and comfortable environment for bicycle traffic.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


The NORTH AVENUE CORRIDOR STUDY Advisory Committee delivered a best-practices set of recommendations to City Council in 2014. Attempts to sabotage the plan were resisted by Council, with the exception of an amendment by Kurt Wright (R Ward 4) that limits the duration of a pilot project demonstrating road diet. A demonstration needs to be of sufficient duration to correct for learning curve and knee-jerk resistance to change. Another amendment proposed by Wright and Councilor Tom Ayres would restore parking on the avenue. Details HERE.

A deceptively worded petition was circulated among residents who had not participated in or followed the planning process. Subsequently, a candidate for City Council has built opposition to the corridor plan into his campaign platform. (WARNING: Don't sign deceptive petitions, and don't vote for Michael Ly.)

Meanwhile, the BikeQ of the City increases steadily and the changing demographic of the North End is bringing savvy seniors, Gen Y, and young families together in common cause for safety of all users of The Avenue.

click to enlargeFILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
    "Losch referred to the robust citizen participation in the corridor study, and also to an overall sense that the city's "bicycle moment" may have arrived. "It seemed that every meeting had more and more people," she added. The project "just kind of snowballed.""

    A lot of excellent details here: THE BURLINGTON WALK/BIKE COUNCIL   

    Research and factual responses to misinformation on FPF -- BIKEABLE BURLINGTON NOW

    We've been discussing these issues since 1994, but Burlington is still using transportation funds for Southern Connector (aka Champlain parkway -- park way, LOL)  instead of investing in transportation systems.  Keep the vision.