At long last, Burlington has released PlanBTV Walk/Bike for review! Before it is submitted to Council in fall, it needs some "ground truthing" from people who walk and bike regularly. You can download the plan at this link, or view a hard copy at Fletcher Free Library, City Hall, and DPW. Submit comments by September 23 via email to Lucy Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy email@example.com. Read on for Local Motion's take on how the plan can be improved.
Local Motion has been involved in the creation of PlanBTV Walk/Bike from the start. We've pushed hard to make it a visionary but practical plan that will serve as a blueprint for transforming Burlington into a place where everyone feels comfortable walking or biking anywhere.
Our assessment is that, on most counts, this is a solid plan that will serve Burlington well. There are a whole lot of great things in the plan, from intersection redesigns to protected bike lanes to neighborhood traffic calming. The plan has enough specificity that it can reasonably be used as a basis for action—not just sit on a shelf.
Our major critique of the plan is that—at least in the first year—it is far too timid when it comes to improving conditions for biking. The plan includes "12-month Priority Action Plans" for each part of the city with a list of near-term goals. Problem is, new bike lanes are almost nowhere to be found in those action plans. We combed through the document, and we found only four new bike lanes planned for the first year, only one of them—Pine Street—a game changer for everyday biking. (They are Austin Drive, Ledge Road, Pine Street south of Lakeside, and Pearl Street west of St. Paul Street.)
What's more, there are lots of easy, low-cost improvements for biking that don't even need to wait for the master plan. Local Motion outlined a series of proposed changes as part of our recently launched More Stripes on Streets campaign. These and many other improvements can and should be done now—not next year or five years from now.
So if you're wondering what to say about the plan, here it is in a nutshell: MORE STRIPES ON STREETS! Let DPW know that you expect more bike lanes on streets where people actually bike, and sooner rather than later. Submit your comments to Lucy Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy email@example.com. Thanks!