Study Weighs Options for High Crash Zone

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Some people say driving through the Colchester Ave./Riverside Ave. intersection is confusing and unsafe.  Chittenden County’s Regional Planning Commission is taking notice.  It’s in the process of conducting a traffic study that began six months ago to assess improvement options.

“All the proposals make the intersection simpler, and just easier to understand for anyone who has ever been or never been through the intersection,” says Project Manager Jason Charest with CCRPC.

The study suggests short-term and long-term proposals.  Short-term options include bike lanes and lighted crosswalks.  The three long-term proposals are a roundabout, a four-lane intersection, and a four-lane intersection with a separate right turning lane.

“One of the struggles is Mill Street because right now under one of the proposals, we’re looking at taking away the traffic light there,” says Charest.  “There’s a low enough traffic flow though that it should work fine without a signal light there.”

Charest says this intersection is also a high crash zone.  Vermont’s Agency of Transportation conducted its last High Crash Location report for 2010-2014.  The Colchester Ave./Riverside Ave. intersection ranked #22 out of 132 in Vermont.  There were 55 crashes, mostly rear ends, during those years.  

 “There are pedestrian and bicycle enhancements under each of the alternatives,” says Charest.

Thursday night was the second public meeting for the study, held at UVMMC.  People were invited to learn about each option and vote on which one they like best.  Charest says a final presentation of the study will happen this fall in front of Winooski and Burlington City Councilors.

“One of the key things we’re looking at is whether we can have one southbound lane coming into Burlington over the bridge and using the extra space to provide a wider shared use path for walkers and bicyclists,” says Charest.

The North Prospect/South Prospect intersection went through a similar study.  Charest says improvements have already been made there.  These studies stem from the Colchester Avenue Corridor Study that was completed in 2011. 

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