Our Position on BTV Questions 1, 3, 4, & 6


Local Motion urges all of its Burlington supporters to vote YES on Questions 1, 3, 4, and 6 on November 8. Approval of these ballot items—in particular, question #1—is crucial for making Burlington the best small city for biking and walking on the East Coast. Please help us get there by voting YES on Election Day.  Click here for information on where and when to vote.

Local Motion rarely takes a position on ballot questions, but given the historic importance of these votes for Burlington, we are speaking up. Here is Local Motion's take on why a YES vote on Questions 1, 3, 4, and 6 is so important.


Question #1 authorizes the city to issue about $27.5 million in general obligation bonds to fund half of a city-wide capital improvement plan. (The other half is funded by non-property tax sources.)  Key items in the plan include finishing reconstruction of the bike path, getting our sidewalks in good shape, and rebuilding our streets for 21st century transportation. If we want to be able to walk and bike safely across Burlington anytime in this generation, this bond must gain 2/3 voter approval.

Click here for details on the bond.

mall_aerial.jpgQuestion #3 updates our city's zoning ordinance to allow for a transformation of the downtown mall into a thriving mixed-use development with a re-connected street grid.
 It allows for moderately higher buildings than at present (four more stories), but only a small portion of the property (less than 20%) can go that high. It requires very progressive design standards, with all parking either hidden inside the building or designed so it is indistinguishable from non-parking uses, a minimum of 20% inclusionary housing units, LEED Gold environmentally friendly certification, and more. And it requires the re-establishment of Pine Street and St. Paul Street, reconnecting our street grid and making it much easier to walk and bike north to south. Without voter approval of this zoning change, we will likely be stuck with a broken street grid and an antiquated, dying mall for another generation.

Click here for details on the zoning changes and what they will make possible for our city, and click here for current renderings of the proposed mall redevelopment.

Question #4 authorizes the City to use TIF funding to rebuild Pine and St. Paul streets as well as completely overhaul Bank and Cherry streets.
 Pine and St. Paul will be built from scratch. Cherry and Bank will get new sidewalks, bike facilities, seating, street trees, green stormwater infrastructure, and more. The investment in these complete, publicly owned streets will be paid for entirely by new taxes generated by the redeveloped mall—not by existing taxpayers. Without voter approval of the TIF funding, we will not have the money to rebuild these key downtown streets, and will miss an historic opportunity to re-establish our street grid.

Click here for details on how TIF works and what the funding will be used for.

Question #6 calls on the City to move the Lakeshore Bike Path to the west side of the railroad tracks between King and College streets.
 This redesign makes sense, and will likely be required when Amtrak comes to town in a couple of years. Local Motion supports the concept of moving the path.  However, we do not support the use of eminent domain, and believe a better solution can be arrived at collaboratively.

Additional details regarding Local Motion's position on each of these ballot items can be found at this link. 

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Carolyn Bates
    commented 2016-11-06 21:23:31 -0500
    Since way in the beginning I have been a big supporter of Local Motion. Going to help them get the ferry idea in place at the Winooski River. Taking photos of every move they made. Then we went on to help support the idea of the bridge, then the ferry at the cut, and most recently made a video for them, gratis, about the latest hottest new ferry boat, with Brian Costello aboard.
    Local Motion was under different LEADERSHIP then and they refused to enter into ANY politics
    even when Leddy Park was under siege by the disc golfers who would be throwing their lethal (50-90 mph made out of metal) discs across the entire bike path on Leddy Park they remained SILENT.
    Which is what they should be doing NOW. Get OUT of politics. STop trying to influence the vote in Burlington, which should be decided by the citizens of Burlington, and NOT by some of our (former) favorite groups to belong to. I am totally disgusted. Totally, totally, totally disgusted.
  • Jack Dylan
    commented 2016-10-27 21:13:32 -0400
    Local Motion, Miro and so-called “progressives” are anything but, in my book. They are all great at green-washing, using the terminology of “sustainable”, “innovative” and all the other vague words that boil down to one thing: development rules, bigger is better.
    The usual corporate mindset. I’ve had conversations with Local Motion in the past and have been appalled at their never-ending quest to “develop” and “improve” landscapes.
    I’m all for bikes but not at the expense of ecological sensitivity. I am soooooooooo disappointed, disillusioned and saddened by the developer mentality that has overtaken
  • Genese Gorilekova
    commented 2016-10-27 19:59:17 -0400
    Why localmotion would endorse a project with 3 1/2 floors of above-ground parking garages, 80 units of student housing, a bunch of high end retail and high end apartments and only 54 units of so-called affordable units (1000 a month for a one-bedroom anyone?) is beyond me. All of the environmental assets of this project could be attained without busting our community-driven zoning laws and without betraying the vision of the people in Plan BTV. The project and the new zoning do not combat sprawl, but just push out people who already live and work here to replace them with new, richer people who will be the only ones who can afford to live in this area of town or the rest of the town too if this absurd catering to the interests of developers continues. Local motion may pretend to be groovy, but, once again, they are in the mayor’s pocket. What a travesty.
  • Ibnar Avilix
    commented 2016-10-27 18:21:49 -0400
    I’m APPALLED that Local Motion is saying it’s membership supports voting yes on ballot items 1, 3 & 4.
    My bicycle IS my horse. I own no Auto~mobile. Without hesitation, I’m Voting NO on Ballot Items 1, 3 & 4.
    We will be in a better place, be able to thoughtfully move together as a healthy Livable City, without this rush-job and threats of this or disaster. This fear mongering is Ludicrous and an abuse of your position as a non-profit partisan, neutral, community driven organization.
  • Leanora Terhune
    commented 2016-10-27 18:02:14 -0400
    Everything here is straight from canned promotional material lobbying for the 14 story town center redevelopment with $23 million TIF indebtedness. Everything you like about downtown development is possible within our current zoning, maintaining human scale for our unique city.
    I’ve talked with tourists and residents — new residents, old residents, young people, old people — and overwhelmingly they oppose the radically increased height and mass included in the zoning amendment (ballot item #3). If voters reject #3, it can come back on the ballot in March minus the drastic height and mass increase, thus maintaining the human scale guidelines of our current zoning and Plan BTV.