September 12, 2008
Shelburne residents and property owners are encouraged to meet on Monday, Sept. 15 to discuss alternative alignments relating to a segment of the Longmeadow-Webster Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Path. The segment undergoing evaluation would link the Harbor Road section of Shelburne Village with the western end of Webster Road.
Jim Donavon, a consultant who helped prepare a feasibility study for the path, completed in April of 2004, will moderate the meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. and take place in Shelburne's municipal complex. Donovan will report on his renewed efforts to identify and evaluate alignment alternatives and understand issues associated with construction of this portion of the pedestrian/bicycle path. The presentation will be followed by a public comment period.
The original feasibility study for the project was accepted by the Shelburne Selectboard in April of 2004. Following release of the study, Vermont Railway, Inc., and the Rail Division of the Vermont Agency of Transportation felt conditions had changed since the completion of the study and expressed new opposition to portions of the proposed route located within the railroad corridor right-of-way. Funding to reexamine those sections of the path was obtained from the State of Vermont through the Transportation Enhancement Grant Program.
According to Bike and Pedestrian Paths Committee Chairmen Rob Donahue, the alternatives analysis is an important stage of the study. "Alternatives must be fully investigated before a preferred route can be identified," said Donahue. "Impacts on natural resources need to be well-understood, so we don't expend effort pursuing ideas that couldn't, for example, receive environmental permits."
Town Planner Dean Pierce points out that the upcoming meeting will be the second time that alternatives for the path segment are discussed. "A change in land ownership along the previously selected preferred route after the initial alternatives analysis was done convinced us it would be good to revisit some of our options," said Pierce.
The Town plans to have this feasibility report completed by the end of December. The outcome of the report will say whether the path alignments are physically and technically possible. It will then be determined whether or not the alignments will be economically possible. Provided both of these issues are passed, the Selectboard will then discuss how the town will go about financing the reasonable changes.
Individuals with questions about the meeting are encouraged to contact the Shelburne Planning Office by calling 985-5118 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.