In April, the City of Burlington unveiled its designs for upgrades to Bank and Cherry Streets. These plans present a tremendous opportunity to enhance the quality of these two busy downtown streets.
We understand and have heard from our members that even amongst our group there exists a range of sometimes competing interests as it relates to the redevelopment of Bank and Cherry Streets. Generally, our group is unified in our support of downtown revitalization and streetscape projects which meet the following goals:
- Increase downtown vibrancy, especially on side streets and the waterfront
- Improve the downtown experience for visitors, residents, employees, and community members
- Connect downtown with the waterfront
- Well position our downtown as a leading 21st Century City
It is our hope that the City’s final plan will find creative ways to meet the needs of both bicycles and pedestrians while maintaining on-street parking to the fullest extent possible. PlanBTV Downtown and Waterfront, as well as, Burlington’s Bike Walk Masterplan provide a directives that can ensure that upgrades meet these goals.
Our business community is united in calling out the need for improvement in the condition of sidewalks, the green strip and streets downtown including Cherry and Bank. We understand the importance of a walkable, livable downtown and appreciate the City of Burlington’s efforts to move us forward in that direction. The proposed plans generally support more vibrant sidestreets.
In addition the BBA has a number of recommendations for the design:
- Inclusion of Parklets: we assert than any proposed parklets must be managed and maintained by either abutting businesses or a future downtown improvement district to be successful as public spaces
- Parklets are not needed so close to Church Street as that street provides a large number of such amenities.
- A parklet and reduced turning radius needs to eliminated at the loading zone entrance for CVS on Cherry Street.
- Any seating features should adhere to the City’s current policy on public seating and benches. Seating and respite areas should have clear site lines for safety and security reasons.
- Parking Kiosks: BBA has reached out to the Department of Public Works to discuss the use of kiosks for downtown on-street parking. We ask that the City accept additional comment from BBA and DPW jointly on this feature and allow time for us to meet and review this feature in context of the Downtown Parking & Transportation Management Plan adopted by City Council in December of 2015
- Bicycle Parking: while we support additional bicycle parking, we ask that any decision on location take into consideration the recommendations on locations for additional bike parking in downtown submitted to DPW as a part of the Downtown Parking and Transportation Management Plan
- Recycling/Trash Receptacles: these are a welcome addition to the location. As many as is manageable should be included in these areas
- Street Lighting: new street lighting should have a consistent design with existing street lighting. It should also accommodate decorative lighting with working outlets and street banners
- Bus Traffic Patterns: the plan should include eliminating any bus routes which include navigation over Church Street to improve pedestrian safety and quality of experience
- Loading Zones and other speciality purpose parking spaces should be configured to allow for public parking in the evenings and overnight.
The BBA will continue to monitor this process and look continue to work the City and stakeholders to ensure that the final product best meets the needs of local businesses.