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Issue Position: The Complete Streets Traffic Pattern Trial

Issue Position

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This is from my e-mail to Justin Rabidoux. I was providing comment as an interested South Burlingtonian, following up on the general request for comment from Rick Hubbard, Chair of the City Recreation Path Committee:

On different days at different times, I have intentionally both driven and walked along the section of Williston Road which presently has the change in traffic pattern. Traffic moved smoothly, while lessening the "racetrack" feel. I had no problem whatever. Was I just lucky? Perhaps. But I drive quite often on the similarly marked section of Pearl Street in Essex Junction and have no problem there either.

I am aware that things on Williston Road were difficult while the lines were still being placed and workers, of necessity, were in the road. Personally, I do not think it fair to judge the trial in those circumstances. Any traffic pattern, including the two lanes in each direction to which we are accustomed, suffers badly when any kind of road work is factored in.

One component of the trial about which I have not heard a lot is the impact on neighborhood streets, where people might be driving so as to avoid the Complete Streets trial. This is important information to have. If there is the increased traffic, which was a legitimate concern voiced by the public, then that needs to be addressed. Tending to the optimistic, if there is increased traffic, it may be that that would change once drivers became used to a new pattern on the main thoroughfare. I must also say that I firmly believe the addition of some well-placed speed humps or speed tables would be important on neighborhood streets regardless of what is decided about a changed traffic pattern on Williston Road. Traffic just moves way too darned fast, and has done so well before the trial was even conceived.

Bottom line… Whatever way this all ultimately goes, I really, really hope that the Complete Streets trial is given a fair shot, including time for people to adapt. Change is hard.


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