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Sidewalk Study Grandview and Hawks

Posted on: 2022-09-21 2022


Wednesday, September 14, 2022
The meeting came to order in person at Cole Hall and remotely via the Zoom platform at 6 p.m. Present were town administrator David Kiernan, Kristi Haskins from the Dufresne Group, Mark Anders of the Bennington Regional Commission, and Select Board Chair Art Whitman.

Ms. Haskins presented a powerpoint presentation on the study, which is intended to research how to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and improve connectivity to the North Bennington sidewalk system. The study was financed by a grant from Vtrans.

The study looked at environmental constraints. Notably, soils in urban areas are considered contaminated, unless tested and proven otherwise. The study will look at the quantity of soils that would have to be dealt with should a project be implemented.

Ms. Haskins said the study project will produce a purpose and needs statement and an alternatives analysis. Another public meeting to present alternatives will be held in December 2022. A final presentation will be held in spring 2023. Public input is welcome throughout. Ms. Haskins noted that the Town could apply for a grant to implement the preferred alternative in early summer, 2023. Design and construction would likely require several years. Ms. Haskins requested public comment.

A Zoom attendee asked whether the project could be expedited. Ms. Haskins said the environmental review process through VTrans takes 8-9 months, assuming no issues are found by Vtrans. She said the consultants would make any effort to expedite the project. The questioner also asked about where the sidewalk might go, as their fence needs replacing. Mr. Kiernan said he thought it would be confined to the town right of way, twenty-five feet from the center line of the road. Mr. Kiernan said should the town construct the project, it would probably require a bond, which would have to voted on in March 2024.

Betsy Kane said the number of children in the neighborhood has grown greatly since they moved in. A lot of people would benefit from the project.

Maeve Richmond asked if there were other interim options for the meanwhile, including solar powered speed signs. Mr. Kiernan said additional signs, and speed bumps (problematic for snow plows) and other speed calming options are possibilities. Mr. Whitman noted that a proposed traffic speed ordinance would reduce the speed from 35 m.p.h. to 25 m.p.h.

A resident said expensive investments will be necessary to provide accessibility and safety. An attendee noted that two cars can’t pass one another safely when someone is walking along the side of the road. Naomi Bindman, who lives on Hawks, says she totally agrees with the need for sidewalks on Grandview, but that Grandview and Hawks are two different animals. Hawks doesn’t have the problems Grandview has. Mr. Whitman noted that Hawks was included in part because the grant process emphasizes connecting communities. Betsy Kane reiterated the importance of taking interim steps. An in-person attendee asked whether any sidewalk on Grandview would connect to the N. Bennington system. The answer was "yes."

Ms. Haskins said the Vtrans process would take about the same length of time no matter the size of the project. A question was asked about speed on Elm St. Mr. Kane asked about stop signs at Elm, Lamb, and Grandview. Mr. Kiernan said the town would look at it. Two others voiced agreement with the suggestion.

The meeting adjourned at 6:34 p.m.


Posted by: Cole Hall

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