MONTPELIER — Recommendations to address the most conflicted intersection and other traffic issues in the Capital City were approved unanimously the City Council last week.
The approval followed a mix of presentations and proposals to the council, as well as two public meetings over the past year.
Findings in The Main Street/Barre Street Bicycle and Pedestrian Scoping Study were presented by consultants from Dubois & King, and funded by a $20,000 grant from the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program with a matching grant from the city.
The scoping study is named for the Barre Street/Main Street intersection, the most conflicted intersection in the city for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. It also looked at other conflicts on Main and Barre streets.
The Barre and Main streets intersection presents the most pressing problem for the city with the imminent completion of the shared-use recreation path between Taylor and Main streets that will bring more pedestrians and cyclists into conflict with traffic.
Recommendations from staff and the Transportation Infrastructure Committee to City Council approved include retaining existing traffic signals at Memorial Drive and State Street and signalizing the Main and Barre streets intersection.
The council agreed they would like to place a mini-roundabout at the intersection of Main and School streets, instead of a traffic signal.
The Traffic Infrastructure Committee had favored placing mini roundabouts at all Main Street intersections but were not recommended by staff because of a variety of problems, especially a conflict with the railway line at the intersection of Main and Barre streets.
To aid the flow of traffic with yet another signalized intersection at Main and Barre streets, the recommendations propose the use of adaptive signals along Main Street that use real-time videos monitoring traffic to avoid congestion. The recommendations said all new signal phasing should include an exclusive pedestrian phase, similar to other existing traffic signals.
The recommendations also called for the relocation of the crosswalk at Langdon Street to move north to Hazen Place to reduce interference with traffic flow at the Main and State streets intersection.
The council discussed the need to have a painted “cross-hatch” box at the intersection of Main and Langdon streets, to notify motorists not to block the intersection while waiting at a red light at Main and State streets.
The M1 category of proposals recommended unprotected bike lanes along Main Street in the short term, with the ultimate goal of providing protected lanes in the future, although that would require the loss of parking on one side of Main Street.
Corey Line, city project manager for the scoping study, said the first project that the city could undertake would be the shared-use path along Barre Street to connect the new shared-use path from Taylor Street to Main Street, with the Recreation Center on Barre Street where users can link up with the shared-use path on Stone Cutters Way.
Line said it is possible that project could begin in the spring and would result in the loss of 18 parking spaces.
Estimates in the study said the rapid implementation of the Barre Street shared use path would cost $50,000. A more costly option with side path reconstruction, moving stormwater infrastructure and other measures would cost $190,000.
The adaptive signal control cost for the Main and Barre streets intersection – and coordinated with other signals at Main Street intersections with Memorial Drive and State Street – would cost $250,000.
A mini-roundabout at the intersection of Main and School streets would cost $30,000 for a rapid implementation or $175,000 for a more elaborate project that would include curb extension reconstruction, utility changes, pavement markings, traffic control and repaving.
Short-term provision of bike lanes on Main Street would cost $565,000 for repaving, re-striping and traffic control, while a more elaborate buffered bike lane project would cost $1.2 million.