At the June 14 Selectboard meeting the Bike & Pedestrian Paths Committee (BPPC) presented updated sidewalk, bike and pedestrian maps. The maps, which had been discussed at the Planning Commission’s March 10 meeting, will replace two existing maps within Shelburne’s Comprehensive Plan: Priority Paths and Sidewalks, and Priority Sidewalks and Crosswalks (Conceptual Location).
The updated maps are part of a committee-developed document called the “Shelburne Bicycle & Pedestrian Infrastructure Development Plan,” which was created with assistance from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC).
Within the Comprehensive Plan, it is stated that, “Despite the recent surge in the construction of sidewalks in the Town, however, the system of sidewalks and crosswalks has been deemed to have gaps… It is the position of the BPPC that deficient areas include locations where crosswalks and pedestrian signals are missing or lacking at heavily traveled intersections. Deficiencies also include densely settled areas that sidewalks do not serve or where existing sidewalks do not connect. The BPCC, as part of its work, has also identified path and bikeway priorities. Goals of the BPCC include walkability, bike ability, access to neighborhoods, safe streets, and developing plans for sidewalks, crosswalks, and such.”
A stated goal within the Comprehensive Plan is linking key locations, such as the Village and the beach, as well as connecting neighborhoods to main paths. This vision is shared by a variety of community members.
“[I] love the idea of making us a more walkable community,” Gail Albert, Shelburne Vineyards co-owner, said. She and her husband, Ken, said that they wished there had been more walkability within the town when their kids were growing up.
Other residents have expressed concern about making such connections within the town. At the Selectboard meeting, Bill Supple voiced worries over what impact a proposed path near his home may have on his neighborhood and property values.
The maps are, according to BPPC Co-Chairs Steve Antinozzi and Marc Gamble, more of a wish list of what the committee would like to see rather than an approved plan. The availability of funds, neighborhood input, and other factors will come into play when deciding whether the paths will be created.
There are many steps between idea and reality when it comes to such projects. That will certainly be true of the route for any path included within the maps follows.
“The Plan can provide ideas that are refined and go into the Capital Program,” Dean Pierce, Director of Planning & Zoning, said. He noted that it is unclear how many, or even if any, of the possible paths will be created.
The updated maps will also be revisited at a later date. Pierce said that there is a statutory obligation to periodically update them.
The June 14 meeting was the first public hearing on the new maps. The second public hearing will be at the Selectboard’s June 28 meeting.