We are delighted to report that the promised addition of bike lanes to Williston Road between Earl's Cyclery and Tafts Corners is happening—and we're bummed to report that it won't happen until 2017. (The delay is to accommodate a major subsurface utility upgrade, which is much better done before the road is repaved than after.) The delay is frustrating, but the bike lanes are baked into the design, which means they WILL get built. Read on for a few screenshots from the paving plans, so you know we aren't blowing smoke!
Now for a bit of history on this incredibly important project. A couple of years ago, Local Motion got wind of the fact that VTrans was planning to rebuild Route 2 from just east of Earl's all the way out past Route 2A. We knew that this section of road featured overly wide vehicle lanes—in some places as wide as 17 feet!—and was ripe for a redesign that would add in bike lanes without widening the road. So we brought it to VTrans' attention to the fact that the lanes were way too wide, and asked their engineers to take the travel lanes down to the agency's new standard lane width of 11 feet.
After a bit of back and forth, they did so, and discovered that they could indeed fit bike lanes for almost the entire length of the project. We gave the plans a thorough review and made a bunch of suggestions for how they could improve the design further still. (If you're a serious bike lane geek and want to see what we proposed, you can read our comments here.) Just about all of our suggestions got incorporated!
Here are screenshots from the paving plans. Note the consistent 11 foot vehicle lanes and the 5 foot (or wider!) bike lanes:
Even better, in the time it took to get the plans whipped into shape, VTrans also began experimenting with using green paint in bike lanes when they cross intersections to highlight the presence of bicyclists. They have since incorporated this design element into the Williston Road plans. (The image at right is a screenshot from VTrans' new standard.) This means that every crossing of an intersection, a side street, or a major driveway will be painted green!
This is the kind of quiet, behind-the-scenes work that Local Motion does every day to make Vermont better for biking. It isn't flashy and it takes a lot of patience, but the impact is real. And our ability to do this work all comes down to YOU. If impending bike lanes on Williston Road make your heart sing, consider a donation to Local Motion today. Thanks!