Thursday February 25, 2016
“What could the city’s Garden Street look like?”
This question was initially posed to the community at a September 2014 brainstorming workshop.
Garden Street is a proposed support street for City Center. It would create an alternative connection between Dorset Street and Williston Road as a cross street to Market Street. Since the September 2014 workshop, a purpose and need statement has been adopted by the Planning Commission, a Garden Street alternatives workshop was held in January of 2015, the city council approved Garden Street in April of 2015, and a Williston Road alternatives workshop was held in November 2015. At the February 16 city council meeting, Project Director Ilona Blanchard and Greg Goyette a project consultant from Stantec, presented the short and long term recommendations for Garden Street at the Williston Road intersections.
The purpose of the project, as approved by the Planning Commission is to “support South Burlington’s new, sustainable, livable downtown, promote economic development in City Center, create comfortable and attractive public spaces that establish a distinctive identity, improve transportation network connectivity, and enhance multi-modal travel and safety.”
During the brainstorming sessions with the community, which received robust feedback both in person and online, staff repeatedly heard that intersections in the area are difficult to cross, business access and parking are issues, biking can be dangerous, and the speed and volume of traffic can present intimidating situations for all modes of transportation.
To that end, Goyette and Blanchard presented their alternative 3B to the council, which took both community and business concerns to heart. The preferred, short-term alternative includes reducing the width of travel lanes from 12 feet to 10 feet to help slow down traffic. An off road bicycle facility or protected bikeway that would end at Midas, but transition to an on-road bikeway at some point would address cyclists concerns. The two sidewalks currently present would remain at five feet, and six feet green belts would provide an inviting area for pedestrians while potentially creating landscaping opportunities. In addition, the realignment of Midas Drive at White Street, which includes reducing the radius of curbs, would shorten crossing distances. New crosswalks, both north and south, updated signals, timing, and controllers were all included in this alternative.
The long-term vision of alternative 3B would involve adding dedicated left turn lanes, the project design phase, engineering, environmental permitting, and ads for construction bids as well as coordination with other projects like Market Street, Dumont Park/City Center Park, and the Williston road corridor study. After hearing the presentation, the council unanimously approved the alternatives.
The city contracted with Stantec Consulting, an engineering firm, to lead the project in 2014. The team includes Greenman-Pedersen, Inc (formerly ORW), a landscape design and planning firm, and Chester Engineering (formerly BioEngineering Group). This consultant team will carry the project through project definition, engineering/project design, and permitting.
Want to learn more about this project’s process and progress? Check for regular updates on the city’s website at www.sburl.com.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent