Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I am emailing you as a Burlington supporter of Local Motion who wants to see our city become a truly great place for people-powered transportation.  Next week -- on Monday, October 6 -- we have the opportunity to take a huge step forward for walking and biking in Burlington, and we need your help.  

Over the last year or so, Local Motion has been intensively involved in a project to chart a new future for North Avenue, Burlington's longest street and the backbone of the New North End.  With strong leadership from New North End residents, a consensus has emerged around a series of commonsense changes that will make North Avenue safe and accessible for everyone, whether you are walking, biking, taking the bus, or driving.

On Monday, October 6 at 7 PM, the Burlington City Council will decide whether to approve these important changes to North Avenue.  They need to hear from you!  Click here to join the movement to make North Avenue safe for everyone.  There is a small but vocal minority of residents who do not want any change on North Avenue at all.  The City Council needs to know that support for change is broad and deep.

Will you commit to speaking out at Monday's City Council meeting for a walkable, bikeable, liveable future for North Avenue and for our city as a whole?  Click here to let us know that we can count on you to be there on Monday.  See below for FAQs, talking points, and resources.

Together, we will make North Avenue -- and Burlington as a whole -- the kind of place where everyone feels safe walking or biking anywhere.  

Jason Van Driesche 
Director of Advocacy and Education

New to the North Avenue project?  Need more info?  Here are answers to some FAQs.

I don't live in the New North End.  Why should I care?

Great question!  There are two reasons why the vote on North Avenue matters for the city as a whole.  

First, many of Burlington's most important institutions and destinations are in the New North End, including the high school and one of our two middle schools, three of our four regional-scale parks, and more.  So chances are you or your kids travel to or through the New North End regularly, and making North Avenue safer for walking, biking, and driving would give you more options and some peace of mind.  

Second, North Avenue is the first major corridor that has undergone an in-depth study of this kind since Mayor Weinberger came into office.  This means that the City's decision about North Avenue will send a strong signal about how serious this administration is about improving conditions for walking and biking city-wide.  So if you want Winooski Avenue or Pearl Street or Shelburne Street or anyplace else in Burlington to get a real makeover in the near future, you need to speak out for the same on North Avenue.

I don't know enough about what the recommended changes are.  Where can I learn more?

Here is a very brief overview of the proposed near-term improvements (which means in the next one to three years) as recommended by the Transportation, Energy, and Utilities Committee (TEUC) of the City Council, with a summary of the benefits of each improvement:

  • 4-TO-3 LANE CONVERSION:  With a center turn lane, commuter traffic will flow more smoothly and crashes will be fewer, with the new center turn lane from 127 to Shore Road allowing people who need to make a turn to get out of the travel lane
  • SAFER INTERSECTIONS:  Crash risk will decline at intersections as turning lanes are redesigned to discourage high-speed right turns (particularly at Ethan Allen Parkway and Plattsburgh Avenue)
  • IMPROVED CROSSWALKS:  People will feel more comfortable crossing North Avenue with exclusive pedestrian phases, blinking lights at new mid-block crosswalks, and many other upgrades
  • CONTINUOUS BIKE LANES:  People riding in the new bike lanes along almost the entire length of North Avenue (Washington Street to Plattsburgh Avenue) will have fewer conflicts with motorists, resulting in lower blood pressure and improved safety all around
  • A BUFFER FOR PEDESTRIANS:  People walking to the store or to school will breathe easier as cars are seven or eight feet away from the curb instead of just two -- and as bikes ride in the bike lane instead of on the sidewalk
  • MORE SPACE FOR BUSES:  Buses will integrate more smoothly into traffic with consistent 10.5 foot lanes plus a buffer on either side, which give them a little more room to maneuver than the current 10 foot lanes in the four-lane section
Click here for the full text of the minutes from the final Advisory Committee meeting (where these recommendations were finalized for consideration by the TEUC).

How can I get involved in making other Burlington streets better for walking and biking?

First, join Local Motion if you aren't a member already!  You can join at http://www.localmotion.org/give/members.  Our members fuel our work to make Burlington -- and Vermont as a whole -- a great place to get around under your own power.

Second, sign up to be an advocate for a walkable and bikeable Burlington!  While Local Motion is the hub for making Burlington a great place to walk and bike, you are the spokes -- and the wheel, and the rest of the bike.  Reply to this email to get periodic alerts on opportunities to make a difference for a walkable, bikeable city.

Third, get out on the streets and make yourself heard!  There's a fantastic new group calledBikeable Burlington Now that is organizing rides and other events to highlight the demand for a more bikeable city.  Join in the conversation, and stand up with them for better biking!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment with fact-checked information only, and cite sources. Thanks.