Route 9 safety improvements requested

Brattleboro will be adding bike lanes to a section of Western Avenue.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

BRATTLEBORO — Getting around by bike and foot is about to get a bit easier on Western Avenue.

On Tuesday, the Select Board accepted and appropriated an $18,000 grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program to construct 5-foot bike lanes on a portion of Western Avenue from Green Street to Allerton Avenue. The project also includes two new crosswalks, at Speno Court and Allerton Avenue, with a rapid rectangular flashing beacon system at Allerton Avenue.

Brattleboro Planning Director Sue Fillion said the travel lanes will be reduced by about 1 foot and be 11 feet, and parking lanes will be changed.

“Right now, there’s parking on both the east and west bound lanes,” she said. “It’s going to kind of alternate. So it’s only going to be on one side of the street at the time to accommodate the bicycle lanes.”

Fillion said the plan previously was endorsed by the Select Board after being named “the preferred alternative of bike lane configurations” presented in a 2021 scoping study looking at how to add the lanes from High Street to Exit 2.

Altogether, the total project is estimated to cost about $36,000. The town included $12,000 in the current fiscal year’s capital fund for the project.

Fillion expects the line painting to happen in the spring.

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

“We’re looking forward to the project,” she said.

In January, community members asked the board to expedite the project instead of waiting on news about the grant. They had hopes of having it completed this year.

The board opted to wait for the funding. On Tuesday, board members expressed happiness about moving forward.

In August, VTrans announced the Brattleboro bike lanes were part of an investment of more than $3 million in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvement projects.

“The combination of construction projects and planning grants will benefit cities and towns statewide by improving connectivity and safety for travelers while also providing tangible economic benefits,” states a VTrans news release. “As in past years, there is ongoing interest throughout Vermont in making communities and streets more usable for all modes of transportation. In downtowns and village centers especially, municipalities are responding to public interest in better conditions for walking and bicycling.”

Eight communities received funds for small-scale projects. VTrans said it plans to help towns construct the projects “quickly with a minimum of delays.”

“Walking and bicycling, especially for the many short trips that are made, are a great way to reduce congestion and provide an opportunity for physical activity for Vermonters and visitors,” VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Jon Kaplan stated. “There are great positive effects on property values, tourism, and business growth, in addition to reductions in traffic congestion, improvements in public health, and a reduction in personal transportation costs.”