To the Editor:

Let us honor the first anniversary of South Burlington City Hall, community library and senior center at 180 Market Street. Six years ago, our bicycle and pedestrian committee pushed for a cycle track (protected bike lane) along Market Street. Instead, a compromise resulted in wider sidewalks and on-street parking.

A cycle track at Market and Garden streets was deemed a “bridge too far.” This prioritization of cars comes at the expense of bicycles and pedestrians.

Visionary cities like Montreal and Boston have cycle tracks. More visionary cities like Burlington, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Amsterdam and Seoul, South Korea have blocked off car traffic in their core. Their city halls and libraries sit amid walkable, bikeable and likeable spaces for open air dining, shopping, festivals and more.

With the promise of a bike and pedestrian bridge over I-89, it’s time for South Burlington to reconsider Market Street as a model connection. Build more than one walkable, bikeable connection from the airport to the University of Vermont and downtown.

Today, our city center embodies car culture. Bike circuits with protected lanes are needed. Make our spaces invite people, not cars.

Let’s reconsider. Fulfill the promise of a “festival” street and the “public square” that was envisioned. Consider one-ways or a traffic-free block — take back a lane or the whole street for people. Vehicle access to city hall, library and school can still work behind city hall via Mary Street.

City planners, please be bold and give us the public space that our investment promised. It’s not too late. Let’s honor our un-car-bound future with the right action now.

Chris Shaw

South Burlington

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