Burlington’s Public Works Department is making room for all modes of travel on North Avenue.
“This is a high crash location that the state has identified, we’re hoping that this redesign improves that safety while at the same time ensuring smooth traffic flow,” Director of the Department of Public Works Chapin Spencer said.
According to a study, between 2006 and 2010 there were more than 200 crashes on this street.
Public Works started changing traffic patterns a week and a half ago, reducing the four lanes near the Ethan Allen Parkway to three.
“One travel lane in each direction and a two way center turning lane in the middle,” Spencer said.
The North Avenue Pilot Project also added new bike lanes, now going in both directions.
“In some of the areas to the north we have a little bit more room on the roadway so we are able to add a two to three foot buffer, it’s just an extra area of paint. so you’ll see two white lines,” Senior Transportation Planner Nicole Losch said.
Losch says there will be some areas of the roadway that will have physical barriers put up between motorists and bicyclists, adding more protection on the roadway.
At the end of the summer, crews will take a look at how things are going. The department will be studying how traffic has been impacted on the road, and officials are also looking for residents’ input. The study will be presented to Burlington’s city council in the fall. Then, the city will decide whether to continue the pilot through the winter and into the spring.
Public Works says some drivers have already expressed mixed feelings about it, citing signage concerns at some intersections.
But for Margaret Wallace, who’s been living on Washington Street for the past decade, she already sees an improvement.
“It’s easier and it makes it less congested and where easier to follow where you’re going, you sort of have less people cutting in and out of traffic,” Wallace said.
Gary Viens from Colchester took advantage of the new bike lanes on Thursday.
“You need that safety, you need that confidence that you’re not going to get hit by a car like a day today it’s beautiful out,” Viens said.
Some new markings are still being painted in the area, but crews up to have everything wrapped up in the next few weeks.