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.
Question #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.