Costly New Highways, or Clean Alternatives: Vermonters Must Choose | Conservation Law Foundation

Costly New Highways, or Clean Alternatives: Vermonters Must Choose

Sandy Levine | @CLFLevine

Does this look like fun? Vermonters are spending more time driving than ever before. We need clean, efficient alternatives. Credit: Little Miss Sunshine.

Are you tired of traffic, taxes and time pollution? I don’t know about you, but spending quality time with my family is not spending it either driving kids around from place to place or being stuck somewhere in a traffic jam.  And it is no surprise to me that others have found that long commutes are harmful to your health and happiness.

With $4 per gallon gasoline and transportation being the biggest source of global warming pollution in Vermont, we need better solutions, solutions that save our environment, our health and our pocketbooks.

With the cancellation of the Circ Highway – an expensive, ill-conceived, outdated and polluting new roadway around Burlington, Vermont – there are good opportunities to invest in better ways to get around:  ways that won’t cause more Moms and Dads to spend more useless hours in a car driving kids from place to place. Progress so far looks promising.

Cancelling the Circ has freed up funds for other, more worthy projects.  In place of the Circ, communities and transportation officials are now moving forward projects like the Crescent Connector in Essex Junction.  This $3,000,000 project near Five Corners will provide the same amount of traffic relief to this area as the Circ at a fraction (one-twentieth) of the cost.

  • Nearer to Burlington, a transit hub is being considered that will allow motorists to park nearer the city and the switch to bikes or busses to get into and around the city.
  • The Circ Alternative Task Force is considering longer term solutions as well that will likely include improving existing roadways, building new bikeways and transit centers and keeping our transportation dollars closer to our daily activities.

This is all good news for our sanity and for bolstering economic development. Real estate values increase in areas where daily activities are within walking distance.

In place of traffic jams, people have more opportunities to get around and get what they need without using their cars. Waiting for someone or something can include a visit to a restaurant or gym or picking up the groceries or dry cleaning. It’s no longer Mom or Dad sitting solo in the car waiting for the dance lesson to end. It’s reducing air pollution, time pollution, while saving money, our health and our sanity.

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