MONTPELIER — A “scoping study” in the Capital City will explore options for the most conflicted intersection at Main and Barre streets at two upcoming public meetings.
Public meetings will be held at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center on Thursday and at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library on July 31. Both meetings begin at 6 p.m.
The “Main-and-Barre-Street-Corridors” study is a preliminary assessment of issues and potential solutions to problems along the length of Main Street, and along Barre Street between Main Street and the Recreation Center, where cyclists can pick up the recreation path on Stonecutters Way.
The study also will look at the Main and School streets intersection that can also be problematic for pedestrians and cyclists.
The study is funded by a $20,000 grant from the Agency of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian Program with the city also contributing $20,000. It precedes other work that aims to improve traffic-free pedestrian and cyclist recreation paths that will connect Taylor Street to Barre Street, and Granite Street to Gallison Hill, with both projects scheduled for completion this year.
Corey Line, project management director with the Public Works Department, will work with contractors Dubois & King to coordinate the study, and the public is invited to submit comments and suggestions online. A final report is expected by the end of the year.
“The public meetings will start off with a brief presentation and that will cover the inception of the project, how it started, when it started, and go through the timeline to where we are now and what we’ve heard for concerns,” Line said. “It will also cover the different possible alternatives.”
Line said there would be “stations” set up around the room at each meeting, with visual presentations of various locations in the city that have been identified by study participants online, and participants at meetings will have the chance to add their comments.
“Obviously, the Main and Barre street intersection has received a lot of interest in fixing that (problem),” Line said. “The Main and School streets intersection received a lot of interest in fixing that (problem) as well.”
City officials agree that the Main and Barre streets intersection is the most pressing problem to solve, particularly with the imminent opening of the recreation path connection between Taylor and Main streets that will bring more pedestrians and cyclists into conflict with the intersection.
Proposals discussed include: making the junction a four-way stop intersection; installing an “adaptive signal control” at a cost of about $200,000 that would adjust the timing of lights, depending on traffic conditions at the Memorial Drive and Main Street intersection and the Main and State streets intersection, to reduce congestion; or placing a roundabout at the Main and Barre streets intersection (although placing a roundabout between two sets of lights is likely to cause traffic congestion, officials concede).
A proposal to safely connect the recreation path link from Taylor Street to Main Street with the recreation path on Stone Cutters Way would require the removal of several parking spaces along the south side of Barre Street up to the Recreation Center, where users can access the recreation path heading east to Gallison Hill Road, a new section of the path due for completion this year.
Councilor Dona Bate, who has been involved as a member of the Scoping Study Committee, said she favors putting roundabouts on Main Street at its intersections with Memorial Drive, Barre Street, State Street and School Street.
“We’ve been looking at this for over a year and we have a lot of ideas, but we want to increase the amount of public participation,” Bate said. “We want to address the conflicts that are going on, make it safer and make it run smoother for everyone — pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles.”
To submit comments to the study, visit: www.montpelier-vt.org/999/Main-and-Barre-Street-Corridors.