Governor Peter Shumlin, other State and City of Burlington officials, and bike path stakeholders broke ground in Waterfront Park on the first phase of a multi-year effort to completely rebuild, expand, and Burlington’s eight mile Bike Path. State tax increment financing (TIF) funds are funding the first phase of Burlington’s recreational crown jewel’s rebuilding project: improving user safety, and continuing the annual economic impact benefit for the city.
“The Burlington Bike Path is a jewel in this great City and a treasure for our whole state. The State of Vermont was glad to make TIF funding – a true economic generator – available for the Burlington Bike Path expansion and enhancements to make sure it continues to be a top destination for recreation and a community resource for years to come.” ~ Governor Peter Shumlin
Vermont Speaker of the House Shap Smith praised Mayor Miro Weinberger and other municipal leaders for making smart investments in Burlington’s future, calling the project “… an excellent example of what municipalities can accomplish when working in partnership with the State. I look forward to engaging with our partners to find more opportunities to improve our downtown destinations.”
“Creation of the bike path nearly 30 years ago was an act of leadership, foresight, struggle, and innovation, and a big step towards making Burlington a great City. It’s now our responsibility to ensure proper, long-term stewardship of this remarkable public resource by improving it to meet the 21st century infrastructure expectations of the people of Burlington and the thousands of visitors who use the path every year.” ~ Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger
The newly-widened path will consist of asphalt (11 feet wide) and two-foot gravel shoulders on either side, will be built to much higher engineering standards than the original bike path, and will yield higher capacity and more varied user types. Jesse Bridges, Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Director said that he is “excited by these ambitious plans. User surveys we have conducted have told us that lake views, the bike path, and beaches are the most important assets we manage. To meet growing demand for these healthy pursuits, we must enhance the quality of our design and continue to increase opportunities.”
- Wider path: The current path cross-section varies from 8-10 feet, with and without non-formalized shoulders. After rehabilitation, the path will have the 2-11-2 cross section mentioned above, with full-depth reconstruction, wherever conditions permit.
- Higher engineering standards: Improved longevity, security, and appearance due to consistent sub-base, uniform top coat, proper slope to better accommodate stormwater flow, formal aggregate shoulders, centerline striping, and delineation paint.
- Safety enhancements: Intersection improvements and new path alignments,.
- Improved connections: Between the bike path and city parks, the lake, and cultural resources.
- Improved Signage: New signage and visual demarcations to enhance the user experience.
- Pause places: Special places along the path to create more opportunities for enjoyment. These will include rest stops, information stops, and pocket parks; they will offer varied amenities such as information kiosks, seating, drinking fountains, and artwork.
Phase 1a construction will start now in Waterfront Park, and crews will work their way south to Perkins Pier, meeting substantial completion next spring. The cost of this work is $644,975.
During 2015, Parks and Recreation expects to complete any remaining Phase 1a construction items and begin/complete Phase 1b construction from the south end of the Urban Reserve (adjacent to the Waterfront Access North site) to North Beach. Phase 1b is anticipated to cost more than Phase 1a because there will be more full-depth reconstruction involved.
Total TIF allocation for path rehabilitation from Perkins Pier through the Urban Reserve is $2.84 million for design and construction.
The overall cost of the full bike path rehabilitation is estimated between $12-16 million.
Funding of future phases will require more action. The Administration will be coming forward soon with a plan to fund the next phase of rehabilitation to begin in spring 2016.
- 1985-1986: The original bike path was constructed .
- 2004: Burlington and Colchester Trail Bridge over the Winooski River was built and opened.
- 2010: Bike Path Task Force recommended a $12-16 million expansion and enhancement plan to bring the bike path up to modern standards.
- April 2011: Lake Champlain flooding severely damaged five sections of the bike path.
- 2012: Burlington voters approved up to $2.84 million of TIF investment in the bike path expansion and enhancement from Perkins Pier to the northern boundary of the Urban Reserve. Voters also approved an annual allocation of approximately $173,000 for maintenance and improvement of the bike path.
- 2012-2013: major bike path and slope stabilization repairs completed, mostly funded through FEMA.
- 2012-2014: conceptual design for the entire bike path completed; design development and permitting per construction phase remains ongoing.
- Burlington Bike Path
- Making the Lake Champlain Islands a Biking Destination – video
- Update on Rehabbing the Burlington Waterfront Bike Path
- Tips for Spring Biking Along Lake Champlain
- VerMontreal 2015