Monday, June 30, 2014

Health Dept Weighs in on Road Diet, and Separated Bike Lanes

Dear [North Avenue Corridor Study Advisory] Committee members:

The Burlington District Office of the Health Department was asked by the Advisory Committee to conduct and submit a desktop Health Impact Assessment (HIA) as part of the North Avenue Corridor Study. This type of HIA draws from existing data such as local reports, public meetings, and published literature about similar scenarios. Garnering and evaluating any new data was beyond the anticipated timeline.

Consideration of the public’s health in the planning process ensures that the potential impacts on the physical and mental well being of residents is evaluated and addressed.

The strategies for making the North Avenue Corridor provide safe, inviting, and convenient travel for all users of all ages and abilities overlap with those that promote health by increasing prospects for safer physical activity and by improving access to services and opportunities for users of all transport modes.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Leave it to AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) through their second "Livability Fact Sheet" released this month (June 2014) tackling "Road Diets" just as Burlington's North Avenue corridor study planning nears completion.   A short term and long term option being considered by the Advisory Committee is a "road diet"--four lanes to three lanes with a bike lane on each side from Shore Rd./Heineberg Rd. to VT 127.
Like the first Fact Sheet ("Roundabouts") "Road Diet" tackles the myths with carefully referenced responses to: "Road diets divert traffic...increase congestion...increase crashes...aren't good for public transit...bad for business..are being reversed...slows down emergency responders...people don't like road diets."  Plus examples of three road diets--Seattle, Orlando and Athens, GA--along with possible cross sections are included.
One Fact Sheet suggestion on "how to get it right" is undertaking a pilot project, one of the very options before the North Avenue Advisory Committee a their July 1 meeting.
AARP's Vermont office continues to work on livability issues in the Champlain Valley and Burlington in particular.