Getting Around — WITHOUT the Circ Highway

Sandy Levine | @CLFLevine

After decades of fighting the Circ Highway – an outdated massive highway ring-road once planned around Burlington Vermont – CLF is now part of the unanimous support for the final round of projects that will replace the Circ.

The very good news is that the 34 projects being advanced will improve existing roadways and intersections, significantly advance bicycle, pedestrian and transit, protect floodways and go a very long way toward better matching transportation in the areas outside of Burlington with the long-term community needs.  Supporting growth centers instead of sprawl and making sure EVERY project includes facilities for bicycles and pedestrians will help more people get around.

And perhaps best of all, the entire suite of alternatives comes in at HALF THE COST of the full Circ highway.

More details on the performance metrics are here.

The final projects make great strides and include many alternatives CLF and others advanced nearly a decade ago, as well as many projects that have been priorities for towns near Burlington.

The unanimous support for a broad suite of projects bodes well. The Governor of Vermont attended the final meeting of the “Circ Alternatives Task Force” – a big group of state and town officials, environmental & business advocates and others that spent the past 30 months developing these recommendations, which were put forward in three phases. Governor Shumlin praised the group’s hard work and commented that our efforts exceeded his expectations when he announced in 2011 that the Circ Highway would not be built as planned and established the Task Force to come up with alternate solutions. Unlike the Circ, these projects are all do-able and many are already underway.

By the numbers this is what the projects look like:

  • Roadway miles enhanced and shared shoulders created          7.5
  • Number of intersections improved                                          26
  • Interstate Interchanges upgraded                                            2
  • Park & Ride spaces created                                                  ~120
  • New Transit Services created                                                   4
  • Miles of shared Use Paths and sidewalks created                        8
  • Flood Hazard Mitigation Projects                                               1

More work remains, but it is terrific that some much needed and more environmentally friendly projects will move forward.

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