Colchester Avenue Corridor
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the Colchester Avenue Corridor Plan is to expand on past corridor work (Colchester Avenue Task Force and Burlington’s Transportation Plan) to identify existing and future transportation system deficiencies for all modes; further develop the future vision and goals for the corridor identified in the Task Force final report; and develop a series of short-term and longer-term strategies that will assist in realizing the corridor vision and goals. The outcome of the study will be a system-wide approach that addresses all transportation issues and balances all modes in the corridor including passenger and commercial vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit.
Corridor boundaries extend from the intersection of South Prospect & Pearl Street in Burlington to the Winooski Bridge.
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Colchester Avenue is a major arterial in the City of Burlington that connects the city and its waterfront with areas in the North and East. Colchester Avenue accommodates high volumes of through vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, while providing access to neighborhoods and local businesses as well as serving the University of Vermont, Fletcher Allen Health Care and other institutions on the “Hill”.
The multiple functions of this corridor present a challenge on how to enhance safety and balance mobility with access needs for all users in the corridor. In addition, the Colchester Avenue Corridor contains three high crash intersections within its boundaries (Vermont Agency of Transportation, High Crash Location Report ~ 2003-2007) — the Colchester Avenue intersections with Barrett Street, East Avenue and South Prospect Street.
Planning in Action: Colchester Avenue Complete Street Pilot Test
The 2007 Burlington Transportation Plan recommends that Burlington’s gateway streets—Colchester Avenue is one of these streets—should be redesigned as a “Complete Street” accommodating the safe and efficient travel of all modes of transportation. The reconfiguration of Colchester Avenue as a Complete Street has been reiterated in numerous past initiatives as well as the current Colchester Avenue Corridor Plan effort. During a scheduled repaving of Colchester Avenue between Prospect Street and East Avenue, in the fall of 2010, the City has taken the opportunity to test (in the interim between base course and top course of paving) the Complete Streets concept by reducing the vehicle lanes of travel from four to three—one travel lane each direction and a middle lane accommodating left turns.
Evaluating the feasibility of the complete street concept is a critical step towards developing the Colchester Avenue Corridor Plan. The demonstration project provides a unique opportunity to test a planning concept in action and the results will guide the recommendations to be included in the plan.
The performance of the Colchester Avenue demonstration project was closely monitored through the fall, winter and spring (2010 & 2011) months and a technical memorandum on the data collection and evaluation of the demonstration project was prepared and can be viewed from this link. A presentation on the Colchester Avenue Complete Streets Demonstration project is also available for viewing (Project Presentation).