Mayor Miro Weinberger announced next steps for bike path enhancements and expansion

News Release — OFFICE OF MAYOR MIRO WEINBERGER
May 1, 2013

Contact: Mike Kanarick
802.735.7962

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced next steps for bike path enhancements and expansion, including: the commencement of construction on the Waterfront Access North project; the design and permitting of the entire 7.5-mile bike path by the City’s newly-selected design team; and the creation of the founding board of the new Parks Foundation, whose role is to raise private funds for the bike path to supplement public expenditures.

“With the bike path fully rebuilt from the spring 2011 floods, on this day – the first day of both Bike-Walk Month and the Vermont Bike Challenge – I’m thrilled to announce that the best is yet to come as we continue our forward progress toward an enhanced and widened bike path,” said Weinberger.

Construction of Waterfront Access North (WAN) – a project supported by 75 percent of the voters in the November 2012 election – will begin this construction season. WAN refers to the long-planned improvements to the site around the Moran plant that include remediating environmental concerns, burying power lines, creating new parking, establishing storm water treatment facilities to protect the lake, and building a new skate park.

“I’m pleased to report that Burlington will see shovels in the ground this construction season as we begin our work on Waterfront Access North,” said Weinberger.

After a competitive process, the nationally-recognized design team from Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB) has been selected to design and fully permit the bike path. VHB has designed bike paths in New England, including the 1.6-mile urban Piscataquog Trailway in Manchester, New Hampshire and the 93-mile Lamoille Valley Rail Trail from Swanton to St. Johnsbury, Vermont. This design and permitting effort is the next step in the widening and enhancement plan recommended in 2012 by the Burlington Bike Path Task Force after two years of public process and study. The accelerated schedule will allow the City to preliminarily design the entire path while, simultaneously, aggressively pursuing full design, permitting, and construction for that section of the bike path from Perkins Pier to North Beach. The process will include public information sessions this summer and has as its goal the beginning of bike path construction in the voter-approved tax increment financing (TIF) district in 2014.

“Our City is fortunate that a first-rate design team with a culture of successfully moving projects forward has earned the job of taking our bike path from good to great,” said Jesse Bridges, Director, Department of Parks and Recreation.

One of the elements of the proposed funding package recommended by the Bike Path Task Force was the establishment of a foundation created with the goal of raising $1 million in private funds toward the financial requirements for a fully modernized, rebuilt bike path. Recently the members of the founding board of the newly-created Parks Foundation were named – Steve Allen, John Bossange, John Ewing, and Sarah Muyskens. RunVermont, producers of the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon, has raised more than $5,500 to be used as the seed gift to the Foundation.

“On behalf of the foundation, I look forward to working with Steve, John, and Sarah, three pillars of our community, who have joined me in stepping up to make good on the long-standing commitment that private contributions would be part of the bike path modernization effort,” said Bossange, Chair, Parks Foundation and Chair, Bike Path Task Force.

At today’s news conference, which took place on the newly-repaved Lakeview Cemetery section of the bike path that underwent slope remediation last fall to repair a nearly 150-foot section of collapsed slope leading from the bike path to Lake Champlain, Weinberger was joined by the following City leaders and bike path advocates:

· John Bossange, Board Chair, Parks Foundation and Chair, Bike Path Task Force

· Sarah Muyskens, Board Member, Parks Foundation

· Chapin Spencer, Executive Director, Local Motion

· Jason Van Driesche, Director of Advocacy and Education, Local Motion

· Leandre Waldo-Johnson, Director of Communications, RunVermont

· Steve Goodkind, Director, Department of Public Works

· Norm Baldwin, Assistant Director, Department of Public Works

· David Allerton, Engineer, Department of Public Works

· Jesse Bridges, Director, Department of Parks and Recreation

· Deryk Roach, Superintendent of Park Operations and Maintenance, Department of Parks and Recreation

Under Weinberger’s leadership, both the Departments of Public Works and Parks and Recreation have been collaborating to complete a number of bike path and other spring 2011 flood repair projects, including:

· North Beach Boardwalk repair project

· Bike Path South repairs

· Lakeview Cemetery Slope Failure Recovery Project

· North Shore Slope Failure Recovery Project

· Route 127 Bike Path Slope Failure Recovery Project

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