Champlain Parkway Redesign Guidelines: Let’s Do it Right

The following Champlain Parkway Redesign Guidelines emerged from two public meetings at Arts Riot and a number of community discussions in the South End. These are meant to shape a safe and complete streets concept. Ultimately the final Parkway design must include public discussion and use of current day solutions.

Plans evolve with time. The current version of the $43 million, 1960’s concept, limited-access Southern Connector highway project no longer addresses our current needs for safety and welfare of Burlington’s South End. In fact, it has become a distraction to good planning and a detriment to sustainable growth. The following general Redesign Guidelines recognize the original Purpose and Need Statement of the Southern Connector, while proposing solutions that are in conformity with 21 st century urban transportation concepts. The Guidelines are intended to provide a vision of what this project could/should be.

  1. PINE STREET at Queen City Park Road (QCP)
    The current Parkway design is engineered to cut off the south end of the Pine Street where it connects with South Burlington at Queen City Park Road. The dead-ending will worsen the impact on the Queen City Park Road one-way bridge and linkages to Industrial Avenue. This dead-ending will worsen the impact on the Queen City Park Road one-way bridge and linkages to Industrial Avenue.
    This is the appropriate location for a roundabout intersection. It is important to have roadway connectivity between Pine Street and QCP Road.
  2. PARKWAY C-1 Segment (built)
    The 1-189 C-1 Segment is the paved segment of highway currently being used for commuter parking, neighborhood dog walks, and children’s bike and skateboard practice. These community activities have take root over the last decades. How this highway is reclaimed is critical.The impact of truck traffic through the neighborhoods will be diminished by the C-1 Segment and its connection to Industry Avenue at Home Ave. The highway can best integrate into the street network with a roundabout connection.A park’ n’ ride/ multi-modal facility for Burlington. The Parkway right-of-way (ROW) provides a perfect opportunity. With the change from a 4-lane highway to a two-lane road, the ROW width can accommodate a linear transit or park ‘n’ ride facility.
  3. PARKWAY C-2 Segment (unbuilt)
    The Redesign Guidelines promote the change of the C-2 Segment from a segregated limited-access highway to a
    “Complete Street.” This means the length of Batchelder and Briggs continue to have active intersections at Morse, Lyman, and Ferguson.The dead-ending of streets or the need for separate service road are eliminated with the redesign. The Parkway intersections accommodate trucks and access to the proposed City Market grocery store and other businesses.
    The intersection at the Parkway and Flynn Avenue marks the end of the Parkway road. The connectivity north through Englesby Brook is eliminated. It is a remnant of the original highway design that no longer facilitates industrial truck access or neighborhood connectivity or provides the benefits as defined in the Purpose and Needs Statement.The natural area around Englesby Brook is a critical opportunity to remediate the highly impaired Brook and develop a healthy stormwater retention area.
  5. LAKESIDE INNOVATION ZONE (Lakeside to Sears Lane, and RR to Pine street)
    The existing parking lots and buildings south of the Innovation Building have been targeted by the City for redevelopment in PlanBTV. But bringing the Parkway as a limited-access highway through the middle of this open space does not facilitate better use of the zone.The Redesign Guidelines recognize the importance of the energy and industrial innovation which mark this area from its earliest days. This is about creating a South End innovation enclave that engages with the City’s food hub and energy production as a common goal.
    Major improvements are needed to create a network of pathways and bike routes for both commuters and school children. This includes a focus on “Safe Routes to School.”
  7. PINE STREET CORRIDOR as a Complete Street
    The length of Pine Street Corridor is to be repaved and realigned to best suit a Complete Streets Design with “low-stress” bikeways.Also critical are: stormwater infiltration; mechanisms such as rain gardens, stormwater planters, and green gutters; soils remediation; and open space protection for the Barge Canal as an ongoing remediation site.
    This alternative comes from the current planning study underway by Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) for Burlington Public Works Dept.As we know, the Maple and King Street intersections are not safe and have unacceptable traffic impacts on the residential neighborhood.The redesign concept begins at the City/CCRPCs proposed roundabout just south of Curtis Lumber. It goes north as a one-way street (complete street design) to Main Street. It returns south on South Champlain, meeting up at the roundabout. Both King and Maple remain as two-way streets.Complete Streets Design includes bike facilities, sidewalks, street trees, stormwater mechanisms, and bus route.
    The redesign has a separate bike/ped connection. This would follow the existing RR tracks and meet up with existing bike path at Battery Street. This is a greenway route that starts at 339 Pine Street and links people to the waterfront. By providing an appropriate bike/ped facility in conjunction with a one-way circulator we protect the existing buildings, accommodate railyard needs, and allow for urban stormwater mitigation.
  10. ROTARY ROUNDABOUT at Shelburne Street
    Look for this upcoming project. It might be the first Roundabout in Burlington!
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