City Seeks Grants to Benefit Pedestrians and Cyclists

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Thursday July 13, 2017

If you are someone who enjoys walking, running, or biking around South Burlington, you know all too well that sometimes the terrain can be treacherous, especially along Williston Road where competition with cars for road space can be a challenge. In addition to Williston Road streetscape improvements, residents have also expressed a desire to extend the shared use recreation path along Dorset Street out to the Cider Mill. Marked improvements in these two areas could become a reality if the city receives the grant funding for which they are applying this month.

At the July 5 city council meeting, Project Director Ilona Blanchard gave a presentation on two 2017 VTrans pedestrian and bicycle grant opportunities and sought the council’s application approval in the form of letters of support. Chair Helen Riehle had drafted the letters in advance of the meeting and they were unanimously approved for submittal. The deadline for applying for both the small and large scale grants is July 14, therefore, time was of the essence.

Both of the proposed projects have been scoped by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) Unified Work Program and have the support of the city’s bike and pedestrian committee. The project proposed for the small scale grant application, for which $300,000 is available, is for work on the Dorset Street Recreation shared use path. The city’s application proposes an extension of the path from Old Cross Road out to the Cider Mill and has been deemed a high priority by the community. The project has a concept plan as well as a source of matching funds (impact fees) for this project. The city is requesting a 50 percent match on construction costs at $173,000 and the total project cost is $391,000. If the city receives grant funding, the project would begin in the next fiscal year.

The large scale project, of which $3 million is available through the federal government, is for Williston Road streetscape buffered bike facilities and pedestrian improvements, which would include a landscaped buffer, pedestrian oriented lighting, a widened sidewalk, and a two-way bike facility. This project is approved in the TIF district plan for 50 percent funding and the city plans to request 50 percent of all project costs ($1,103,500) via their grant application. The city would then seek TIF financing approval from the public for the city match. Construction would begin in FY 2021 or 2022 and the total cost of this project is $2,207,000 which includes design, right of way acquisition, construction, and construction management.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent