Top: The stormwater treatment concept extends the public realm with a series of ponds, most of which are encircled by walking paths. Bottom: Dorset Street to the future Garden Street has the most ‘downtown’ and formal feel. 

Market Street Plans Unfold

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Thursday March 13, 2014

Project Director Ilona Blanchard reports that the Market Street project is nearly ready to be submitted for permits, with most of the preliminary issues sorted out.  The engineering team has been meeting with adjacent property owners, checking numbers and ensuring that  stormwater is appropriately addressed.  

Market Street, which connects Dorset Street and Hinesburg Road, will serve as the anchor to City Center.   It was partially paved in late 2013, and final construction is slated for 2017.

According to Blanchard, the plans largely incorporate a joint recommendation from city committees including the type, width and location of the pedestrian/bicycle facilities. 

The future downtown street will have a continuous shared use path along it from Hinesburg Road to Dorset Street.  The path will be paved with reinforced cement, and joints will be smooth (saw cut) to ensure an even surface for all users.  

Decorative pedestrian-oriented lights (LED) will provide lighting along the whole length and landscaping will be installed and grow in overtime to create seasonal interest, shade, and improved stormwater absorption.  

The plans have three distinct environments – Dorset Street to the future Garden Street, the future Garden Street to Potash Brook, and Potash Brook to Hinesburg Road.  These environments each respond to the proposed development intensities contained in the working draft of the Form Based Codes (the update to the Land Development Regulations currently under consideration by the Planning Commission).   

The portion from Dorset Street to the future Garden Street has the most ‘downtown’ and formal feel. Here future retail/food businesses are expected to line the street.  The shared use path will use decoratively scored concrete. A recommendation for a flexible portion of street with no curb was closely examined; however, Blanchard says this feature ultimately had to be removed due to safety issues.  The area between the path and curb is to be filled with brick with minimized tree wells.  Trees are paired to maximize soil area shared by tree roots in protective structures under the pavement.  These paired plantings will provide a unique rhythm to the street.   

The streetscape from the future Garden Street to Potash Brook makes a transition by combining formal tree spacing and paving but integrating it with substantial more greenery.  The area between the path and curb is mainly green with regularly spaced trees and landscaping.  Brick “bridges” will assist people in reaching the shared use path across the green area from parked cars.  

The easternmost section from Potash Brook to Hinesburg Road will have the most green and informal feel.  The shared use path has the most simple and unobtrusive scoring pattern.  A green swath separates the path from the street and it is dotted with groupings of trees and greenery. A swale meanders along this swath to capture stormwater on both sides.

The streetscape design infiltrates a great deal of stormwater, but it cannot treat nor capture all of it.  The stormwater treatment concept extends the public realm with a series of ponds, most of which are encircled by walking paths.  A set of south facing steps off Market Street, just west of Potash Brook, serve as an impromptu seating area overlooking the ponds.  Once this engineered plan set is done, it will be presented to the City Council prior to submittal for permitting.

To see the updated designs, go to and select “City Center/TIF” and “Market Street” or stop by City Hall.  If you have any comments, please e-mail, call or write Ilona Blanchard, Project Director, at, 846-4123, 575 Dorset Street, South Burlington, VT 05403.  All written comments will be addressed by VHB and posted online and in City Hall, as well as provided to the Council at the time of plan presentation.