Thursday November 02, 2017
Local Motion, Vermont’s only statewide nonprofit advocate for walkable and bikeable communities, hosted a celebration outside of Earl’s Cyclery Saturday, October 21. The event was in honor of new bike lanes on the much-traveled Williston Road between South Burlington and Williston. Local Motion Interim Executive Director Jason Van Driesche was on hand to speak as well as South Burlington City Councilor Tim Barritt. The gathered group of cyclists took an inaugural ride on the route from South Burlington to Taft Corners in Williston and back again.
Van Driesche described the day as eventful. “This project signals a major step forward in VTrans’ focus on and commitment to making the state highway system safer and more accessible for people on bikes.” He added, “Williston Road is a hugely important road for everyday transportation biking that, until now, has been a miserable road to ride a bike on. A whole lot of people will be a lot safer and happier now that there are bike lanes on this road. Not to mention, it’ll be easier and less stressful to drive on this stretch of road with bikes in their own lane.”
“The recent VTrans improvements on Williston Road will certainly make travel safer and smoother,” said Barritt at the event. A longtime advocate for bike lanes, he recalled being on the Spear Street bike path in 2000 and shaking Governor Howard Dean’s hand as he “politely complained that I still couldn’t commute safely by bike to IBM.”
Barritt said, “South Burlington has an amazing network of recreation paths that link many neighborhoods but as our Bike and Ped committee recently told the city council, we have to keep investing in this system to make it more connected and safe.”
According to Local Motion, there are currently bike lanes from the South Burlington/Williston town line almost to Hinesburg Road, with a gap at Airport Parkway. Van Driesche reported, “Our near-term goal is to close the gap at Airport and Kennedy and extend the lanes all the way to Hinesburg Road. Work is actively underway to redesign Williston Road between Hinesburg Road and Dorset Street to incorporate bike lanes, turn lanes, and other improvements. There is also a project in the works to build a bike-walk bridge over the interstate.” And for those who commute to Burlington, Van Driesche says that Burlington is currently in the planning stages for protected bike lanes on Main Street. He adds, “The pieces are coming together!”