I would like to first state that I do not represent the town of Putney in any way regarding the proposed project. My reactions and thoughts about the proposed park and ride are my own, and those of other residents. I do have party status, because I attended the public meeting and I spoke.
I am collecting signatures to form an appeal. I will not lead an appeal unless there are over 100 signatures from Putney residents. We have 30 days to appeal the project to the Vermont Environmental court and it will cost $250 to submit an appeal.
As a member of the Putney Transition movement and the Putney energy committee, I think it is important to take a closer look at our transportation system. We as a society consistently think about future growth rather than livable communities. We overlook the devastation and downstream effects of these kinds of big projects, and do not look at how to create a future where making a living and working in one's own home town is more of a reality for more people. We often fail to plan for a system of using less energy (to avert climate change), and we often fail to plan to live in community to increase our self reliance and lower the isolation of our residents, this project highlights that failure.
This project has been in the works for over 10 years, yet no public meeting was held (to my knowledge) by the state or regional commissions to seek input from Putney or Dummerston residents. No real needs assessment was done, nor will it be done because this is an "all or nothing" proposition. The take it or leave it proposal for such a large project with a price tag of $500,000 to $800,000 is shocking.
Park and rides do help commuters, but no study was done on how park and rides help individual towns and what the effect of a large park and ride would have on a small community that relies on "small town" character to attract tourists.
According to Wiki there is no clear evidence that park and rides actually reduce congestion on roads, and since there is no cost to parking on the streets in Putney there would be no reduction in the cost for parking.
Park and rides work best at traffic hubs, where bridges from other locations or states connect to main highways. Putney is not near a bridge to New Hampshire. If a Putney resident wanted to commute they probably would not use the park and ride.
The 83 parking spots are partially in Dummerston and partially in Putney, both Development Review boards have approved the project. But the number of residents in Putney questioning such a large project has grown to over 50, as of Friday afternoon.
The new lighting, while dark-sky compliant, would still illuminate an area and cause a glow well beyond the parking area. The six 100Watt LED lights use 600 watts per hour, and running them at night (over 6,400 hours per year) would use 384,000 watts of electricity at 14 cents a Kw for a total cost of $537.00 annually. Hopefully this would be offset by new state solar electric generation facilities. I am not clear why there is so much resistance to high quality motion sensing for area lighting.
There are as yet no plans for a sidewalk to the park and ride from the existing sidewalk in Putney and this addition would be an expense born by the town of Putney.
The recycling roll-offs would be pushed to the edge of the project next to US Route 5, making them unsightly and one of the first things people see driving north into Putney.
Hundreds of trees will be removed at a time when we desperately need trees for shade, clean air, and noise reduction.
A large area will be cleared and leveled and paved at a time when we are realizing how destructive paved parking lots are for the environment.
The amount of bicycle parking is in adequate, it is simply a bike rack, no bike lockers or bike shelters were proposed.
There will be one 240V electric charging station and two 110 volt charging stations, with the electricity provided by the state.
Daniel Hoviss writes from Putney.