When I found out that the planned Champlain Parkway would “dead end” at the corner of Pine Street and Queen City Park Road, I became concerned. I knew this would have a major impact on people traveling to and from Burlington. The more I learned about the Champlain Parkway, the more I became aware of other parkway issues, including bottlenecks and traffic congestion at Lakeside Avenue where the parkway ends, plus light pollution, multiple traffic lights and increased air pollution.
Moving cars downtown was once acceptable. That is no longer the case. Burlington was the first city in the Eastern U.S. with a climate action plan and the parkway is in violation of that plan. There is a group called the Pine Street Coalition that is attempting to make changes to the Champlain Parkway. The coalition is challenging the current design of the Champlain Parkway in federal court. Its goal is to make major changes, including bike and walking paths and roundabouts, including one at Pine Street and Queen City Park.
In the future, I would propose a sustainable model using a “light rail” system that would move people from Route 7/Shelburne Road to and from the Burlington Waterfront every 10 minutes. Bus spurs could move people to Church Street, UVM and the hospital. This model would provide a healthy alternative to our addiction to automobiles and provide well-being to the South End neighborhoods in Burlington.
The Pine Street Coalition is asking Gov. Scott, the Federal Highway Administrator and Mayor Weinberger to stop this dangerous, wasteful, unwalkable, un-bikeable Champlain Parkway now. Contact Tony Reddington of the coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Citizen groups in Red Rocks and Queen City Park are organizing with the Pine Street Coalition to change the current design of the Champlain Parkway.
So, why don’t you get involved? Create an action group in your neighborhood. Use social media and Front Porch Forum to educate your neighbors. And stand with the newly formed Parkway Alliance. If you would like to get involved, email email@example.com.