Montpelier awaiting final plan for pedestrian-friendlier downtown

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The city of Montpelier wants to make it easier to get around the heart of its downtown on foot.

A study by the city’s engineering consultant has found that the Main and Barre street corridors aren’t particularly friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Montpelier resident Peter Kelman said the corner of Main and Barre can be hazardous for anyone not driving a car.

“It’s a very complicated intersection in a city that is very hard to get crosstown, and Barre Street is becoming more and more of a well-used street,” he said.

Sophie Sauvé of DuBois & King, the city’s consultant, said additional traffic control is needed to help people feel safe.

“It’s chaotic for everybody,” she said, “whether you’re a person driving a car or you’re a pedestrian or, in very few cases, a cyclist.”

The consultants have drawn up plans for a new traffic signal corridor, a series of new roundabouts — including one at Main and Barre — or a combination of the two.

For Barre Street, the study suggests either a single-use path for both pedestrians and bicycles or a two-lane bike path.

Kelman says he appreciates what Mayor Anne Watson and the City Council are doing to present the options and gather public feedback.

“There’s too much rumor-mongering, and people not really knowing and then feeling like they’ve been railroaded,” he said. “I think this is a good process.”

DuBois & King expects to present the final results of the study to the City Council soon.

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