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Comment Archives: Stories: News + Opinion: City

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Biking commuters quadruple according to statistics from a city survey included in the 233-page master plan? I don't believe that for one minute. I would question any "study" from the corrupt Burlington leadership - My experience is that they are slanted to get a certain result or are "apple vs. orange" results that should not be compared - Only the Press and Local Motion members believe those studies. Everyone else is on to them.

Seven Days usually only tells one side of the story as I witnessed during the so-called N. Ave. Pilot which was never a pilot at all. "He's done his best to be transparent, " referring to Chapin Spencer who repeatedly lied throughout the North Ave. project. Giving the press unscientific pie charts - letting them run off and report results that he KNEW were untrue. Also ADMITTING that he "may have counted each biker four times" when challenged on his results on increased biking on the Ave. The only thing he's done his best at is deception and manipulation. You can go to those meetings all you want - if you don't agree with Local Motion you WILL NOT be heard and your opinion will not be considered. The council has given Chapin/ Local Motion free reign to run this city even though it is a complete conflict of interest for him to do so and would be ILLEGAL anywhere else but Burlington. WAKE UP Vermonters - Stop voting in people from out of state who only have outside interests for our city. We need to start voting in Vermonters or out-of-stater's who LIKE Vermont and don't want to change it to wherever they came from - strictly agenda driven representatives. The only people in Burlington who get representation are Local Motion members and that's it!

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Biker on 08/08/2017 at 11:23 AM

Re: “New Winooski City Manager Jessie Baker Aims to Nurture a Layered, Dynamic Burg

Winooski schools are underrated. The test scores are lower because everyone has to take the standardized tests, including all the immigrant refugees, even if they have proverbially just gotten off the boat and lack the English language facility. But plenty of the immigrant refugee families have the raw intelligence and strong commitment to learning.

As for the fighter jets, the F-16s were really not a problem until around 2004 or 2005 when they increased the weight & reconfigured the planes to put the fuel tanks on the outside, necessitating take-offs at full after-burner. The noise went up dramatically at that point. Used to work out at the Woolen Mill Health Club and the change with the F-16's was immediately noticeable.

As the Air Force has acknowledged in their Environmental Impact Statement, the F-35 is about 4 times louder than the F-16, so, yes, this is going to really hurt Winooski and all the other impacted areas. Given the population density, this is why the Air Force rated Vermont as the least environmentally favorable location for basing the F-35. But as Bryan Bender reported in the Boston Globe, Patrick Leahy did his back room deals and pressure to force it here against their wishes and the rest is history. Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders, Peter Shumlin, etc. own that one. Most people I know love the convenience of Winooski but are trepidatious about making a long-term commitment to the community because of the fighter jets.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 08/05/2017 at 1:41 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

We own a building on N. Union. The city has allowed multi-tenant buildings with associated parking on N. Union - landlords did not create this arrangement. This is an interdependent system that has been in place since before most of you were born. This doesn't make it wrong or right. As we all can agree, unfortunately, most people drive cars and need a place to park.

Our argument against this plan is that within a month, (and unknown to the property owners before a June 30 letter was sent out) the DPW is removing parking in a densely populated area that will cause the equilibrium of the system to be significantly impacted. Transportation in the city is like a three-legged stool and with this decision they are kicking out one of the legs without any effort to ameliorate the effects. I realize that they have found scattered parking spots in the area, but this doesn't address the reality of the parking pressure that we are dealing with on N. Union. If the DPW had looked at each of the three legs - walking, biking & parking there could have been creative options considered that would have maintained parking and provided safe infrastructure for biking and walking. Did the DPW or anyone railing against us offer solutions to begin relieving parking pressure in this area? How do we keep employees and visitors from parking on N. Union instead of downtown where they have to pay? How about satellite parking for those students in the area who don't use their cars often? Or, 24-hour parking limits in the area to eliminate long term on street parking?

Finally, the July 19 DPW Commission final vote was 4-3. It was not an overwhelming vote of confidence for this plan.

6 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by lalavt on 08/05/2017 at 10:58 AM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Jane: No Dave Hartnett does not own a gas station. No conflict of interest here

3 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by marianne1 on 08/05/2017 at 7:35 AM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

phuzzie: you assumed that those who do not ride in the winter have never tried it. Interpretation: I like it and if you try it you will like it to. Because everyone should be like me.

2 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by marianne1 on 08/05/2017 at 7:31 AM

Re: “New Winooski City Manager Jessie Baker Aims to Nurture a Layered, Dynamic Burg

As a past resident of Winooski for 8 years, I would like to comment on this article and the referral of Winooski as a "voguish" city, a writer's term I would never use to describe this area! Although this old French town, with a newly diversified population and many likeable traits, it still has many BIG problems. The fast paced development is centered in one area by the historic Woolen Mill, where high rentals and low income apartments are being built on any available green space. The addition of the approved Strand entertainment center on the corner, north of the roundabout and the proposed hotel (which Baker approves) at the end of the Woolen Mill is already complicating an already frustrating parking issue. I would like to know where 2,000 available slots are, as Baker stated? It certainly would have saved me an $85/month fee I had to pay for my apartment garage as there wasn't any available parking around! The big elephant in the room, is the bulk of these developments are located in the flight path. The F-16's and commercial flights have increased over the years, and the upcoming F-35's with their supersonic noise, low flying maneuvers, night training and potential crash accidents on problematic technology, will further negatively impact Winooski's environment and safety for its neighborhoods. I think Baker should concentrate on what Winooski residents really want and need while she is driving in from Montpelier, instead of being so gung ho as a first time City Manager and pleasing only the developers.

5 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by GeishaGirl on 08/04/2017 at 6:24 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

There's an awful lot of mud being slung here. Please, let's engage in respectful dialogue and work collaboratively to come up with solutions that are mutually beneficial, respect the existing needs and circumstances in the city, and create a model multimodal city.

4 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by lsvt on 08/04/2017 at 5:58 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

marianne1 did you fail reading comprehension in school? I never said anything even close to: "we all should bike in the winter because he does".

I said: "Of course [committed motorists] think riding in Winter cannot be done, they've never tried it. "

Dispelling the demonstrably false notion that one cannot bike in Winter is hardly the same as saying everyone should do it, although plenty of people already do with more joining in every year. (_)

Get off your high horse and accept that folks are going to continue getting around lots of different ways. Focusing all our transportation resources on motoring fails the third of Burlingtonians who don't drive.

11 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by phuzzie on 08/04/2017 at 4:43 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

There absolutely is not enough parking in this city. One cause is because landlords turn, what used to be single family homes, into multi-rental units and then get signs posted on those streets that state that residents only can park on the street. How do they get away with it; it is not the responsibility of Burlington residents to provide parking in town. IT IS THE LANDLORD'S. All tax paying residents pay for the maintenance of those streets and ALL residents of Burlington should be allowed to use them.

I have lived my many decades in this city and raised three sons here. They all live outside of Burlington - they hate the congested traffic

To guy who thinks we all should bike in the winter because he does - pleassssse get off your high horse; others can decide for themselves. They don't need you ramming your narrowmindedness down their throats. Why, why, why are so-called progressives so obsessed with telling others how to live.

6 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by marianne1 on 08/04/2017 at 3:50 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

You know you've written a great story when advocates for both sides are complaining in the comments that the coverage is slanted against them. Excellent job, Katie.

5 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by stellaquarta on 08/04/2017 at 8:23 AM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

I am a landlord (and live in the house too) on the proposed route in an area that is not losing parking and I view the project positively. I think it is extremely predictable that the meeting would be full of opponents when DPW tried hardest to get the attention of people who are potentially negatively affected. I think the commission then did right by weighing what they heard last night with what they've heard from city residents overall.

I find it strange that the Council recently decided that they are traffic engineers. I worked at the UVM Transportation Research Center off of Colchester Ave when that road switched from four lanes to three. That process seemed much less controversial and more based on facts and data: the corridor had several high crash intersections and segments; four lane roads are an outdated and dangerous design; and 4-to-3 conversions have the co-benefit of allowing room for bike lanes, a mode that more people are choosing and is good for health and the environment. The North Ave process was entirely different, and now part-time Councilors want to micro manage the professionals at Public Works?

23 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Damon Lane on 08/03/2017 at 5:07 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

The Commission vote on the Old North End Wiggle and removal of parking on North Union St. was actually 6-1 in favor, not 4-3 as stated in the article (meeting minutes are available on the DPW site).

15 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Anonymous Reader on 08/03/2017 at 9:20 AM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Paco, I believe Burlington resident and former Mayor Peter Clavelle successfully initiated the 2 hour free parking at municipal garages. Something supported by the Burlington Business Association and thoughtful and progressive major business leaders like Melinda Moulton. Eliminating the 2 hour free parking would theoretically help pay for garage maintenance and capital costs but also make it even easier for people to just choose on-line shopping; and dining outside the city instead.

Good point about Union Street and it's not like the sky is falling, DPW has made the commitment to create 8 new parking spaces within a few blocks of Union.

9 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 08/03/2017 at 12:48 AM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Prospero Gogo, valid points about reality and market demand for parking. We may all wish that students brought fewer cars but the reality is they bring the cars they do. And, yes, as you say, it is immediately noticeable because of increased traffic volume downtown, in the UVM zone, etc. But students are of driving age and legally allowed to bring a car so it does no good to just wish it away. Tuition-paying students deserve a place to park, just the same as taxpaying residents, taxpaying business-owners, business employees (including those who commute from the suburbs), business-supporting tourists, shoppers, etc. It's why there's zoning and parking requirements.

As former director of Public Works Steve Goodkind has said, the parking studies over at least 20+ years have shown Burlington needs more parking; not less. It's not like the Mayor and Chapin Spencer have ignored it; to the contrary, there has been some effort to maximize and modernize pre-existing parking. Thus, some surprise at the moves to now potentially reduce parking for bike lanes. An unintended consequence may be to aggravate sprawl by pushing more students to rent in South Burlington where they can find parking.

BTW, does anyone have more info on the recent legal settlement between developer Don Sinex and Attorney John Franco's group to add around 200 parking spaces to the new Tall Mall project? Originally the replacement garage for Burlington Town Center was reportedly going to be private valet and not open to general public? But if last month's legal settlement opens it to the public, looks like a net gain to downtown of around 100 to 120 new parking spaces (even after factoring in 1 parking spot for each of the 272 new housing units)?

8 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Chris in S. Burlington on 08/02/2017 at 11:53 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Chris-

You are in South Burlington and have no standing to comment. Union Street is a municipal road and not a VTrans road like St Paul/Shelburne or upper Main streets.

NEXT!

(....of course the out-of-town residents want Burlington taxpayers to subsidize free on-street and two-hour garage parking)

9 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/02/2017 at 3:33 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Doesn't Dave Hartnett "(D)" - ha! own a gas station?

Maybe he should consider his own conflict of interest before casting aspersions at the DPW director.

34 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Jane on 08/02/2017 at 2:44 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Why no voice to the possibility that a rental property on the safest, widest, quickest bike pathway between downtown/waterfront and UVM would not be highly desired because of that fact? The landlords state that most potential tenants ask about on-street parking, but have they considered a hard-sell to student tenants regarding the access to safe bike lanes?

IMHO, too many students bring their cars to school in Burlington. You can always tell in late August when classes are about to start, because the traffic volume on Main Street doubles literally overnight. I think most Burlingtonians (except the landlords perhaps) would appreciate less vehicular traffic in the downtown and UVM zone.

30 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Prospero Gogo on 08/02/2017 at 2:43 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

People. Bike. In. Winter. Where. There. Is. Infrastructure. https://copenhagenvikingbiking.tumblr.com/

People. Bike. Up. Hills. Where. There. Is. Infrastructure. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/jun/17/people-power-montreal-north-america-cycle-city

Looking at the few hardy souls who are willing to bike when there is very little decent infrastructure and extrapolating that to predict who would bike if the lanes were there is folly.

I have been parking cars in downtown Burlington for over 20 years. I have never not found a parking space within a 10 minute walk of my destination.

35 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Dusty_Freewheel on 08/02/2017 at 12:58 PM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Please do not slow down DPW! Streets are for transit; not for free vehicle storage. High quality multi-modal (bike, pedestrian, and yes, automobile) transit systems enhance our entire city's economy. Provided free storage for personal property on public streets subsidized by taxpayers harms the economy by creating economic waste.

The motive behind these landlords' objections is less NIMBYism and more based on their greed and selfishness. For years these mom-and-pop landlords (who own older, legacy buildings built before modern parking requirements became code) have not had to provide off-street parking for their tenants because there was ample free parking on PUBLIC streets (provided by taxpayers). I applaud DPW's work to take back these public assets for the public's best-interest: bike transit rather than free personal-property storage.

The use of city streets in the ONE for free vehicle storage rather than for transit is corporate welfare and generates inefficiencies in infrastructure that should be used for transit. These creates inequities in the services city government provides, using my tax dollars to bail out landlords who don't provide their tenants with private, off-street parking accommodations.

If there's a parking shortage in the ONE that's because there's no price for on-street parking. It's free. Selling parking permits for that area would mitigate some of the waste and could free up streets for more bike lanes.

42 likes, 28 dislikes
Posted by Paco DeFrancis on 08/02/2017 at 11:29 AM

Re: “Backpedaling: Burlington Residents Challenge Plans for More Bike Lanes

Why talk only to committed motorists Seven Days??? Of course they think riding in Winter cannot be done, they've never tried it.

Here's a hint, it's actually not hard! Put on some studded tires if you like, dress in layers like whenever you do outdoors activities in the winter and just ride. You'll make plenty of heat once you get going, in fact the rule of thumb is "If you're warm when you step outside you're overdressed."

We can have either on street parking or people on bikes not in the general purpose lanes, but there is not space for both, so decide which one pisses you off less :D

34 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by phuzzie on 08/02/2017 at 11:16 AM

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