Shelburne Road may become Safer for Cyclists & Pedestrians

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Thursday July 19, 2012

As anyone who has tried to navigate his/her way along I-89 and Shelburne Road during peak times is aware, the road can be quite treacherous for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. If several of the recommendations included in the final draft report regarding the Shelburne Road I-89 corridor study are implemented, morning and evening commutes could become a lot safer for everyone. Public Works Director Justin Rabidoux and lead consultant Steve Raleigh presented their extremely thorough study overview at the Planning Commission meeting on July 11.

Rabidoux and Raleigh presented the following corridor vision: “As South Burlington grows in the coming decades, Shelburne Road will continue to serve as a key travel corridor for both the neighboring community and the region. Through a combination of actions, Shelburne Road will become safer, more attractive, and better integrated with the surrounding community.” 

Currently, it can be quite challenging to cross Shelburne Road. There are only four crosswalks: Queen City Park Road, IDX Drive, the Hannaford Plaza, and Fayette Drive/MacIntosh Avenue. These crosswalks are almost a quarter of a mile apart in distance as well.  The suggestions of the study were made with the aim of improving visibility and the quality and safety of pedestrian crossings including leading pedestrian intervals, turn restrictions, regulatory signs, and pedestrian countdown signals. The study suggested additional crosswalks at signalized intersections and a crosswalk with a median refuge at Imperial Drive.

Since the Shelburne Road corridor is currently dominated by vehicles, the study addressed making the road safer for cyclists as well. Presently, there are no bike lanes provided in the corridor, only south of IDX Drive. The study shows that the crossing at Queen City Park Road to is incomplete and poorly defined. There is a lack of alternative and parallel routes as well.  The study proposes an on-street bike route on Fayette Drive and pursuing a feasibility study of a multi-use path on Fayette Drive. A way finding and signed bike route system in neighborhoods was also proposed.

At the wrap-up of the presentation, Commission member Chris Cole motioned that the Planning Commission accept the report; all members were in favor. It was made clear that the motion did not include an endorsement of any of the points brought forth by the scoping study.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent