Burlington Free Press
By Matt Sutkoski
October 27, 2008
WINOOSKI -- A planned sidewalk construction project long under discussion for an area near the Winooski Educational Center has taken a step forward.
The Winooski City Council this month formally adopted the proposal, which involves building sidewalks along Franklin, George and Bellevue streets.
City leaders are not sure how much the work will cost and when it will get under way.
Residential areas around Bellevue and Franklin streets are near Winooski Educational Center athletic fields. Many people use the local streets to reach a parking lot to attend sporting events. Or, they park along the streets and walk to the school.
Children going to and from the school also walk on the streets, and the city wants to provide sidewalks to ensure pedestrians are not too close to traffic.
"There are places in the city that need sidewalks," Mayor Michael O'Brien said. "That one was identified because it was one of the primary routes to school," he said of the Bellevue Street neighborhood.
O'Brien said proposals for sidewalks in the neighborhood have been discussed for years, but coming up with a firm plan has been delayed by disagreements among neighbors over how best to design the sidewalks and neighborhood improvements.
Some residents of the neighborhood remain opposed to the plan, but O'Brien said there appears to be enough consensus to move forward.
O'Brien said he hopes sidewalk construction could begin next year.
The city's schools are beginning to address safety associated with people parking on and near Bellevue Street during sporting events, School Board Chairman Jim Ticehurst said.
"Some people aren't very compassionate about the neighbors. They park right across the driveways," he said.
He said the school is encouraging visitors to use the Main Street entrance to the school property and park in the lot in front of the school whenever possible. The effort could help reduce the number of vehicles on streets where children are walking, he said.
The School Board's facilities subcommittee is also exploring other ways to help reduce traffic congestion and parking in the Bellevue Street neighborhood, Ticehurst said.
Contact Matt Sutkoski at 660-1846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.