Burlington bike path inches toward upgrades, despite coronavirus


Construction will resume next week to rehabilitate Burlington’s popular bike path, city planners say — though work will begin slowly due to limitations imposed by the coronavirus.

Small, thinly dispersed crews will begin rehabilitation work on a storm-battered section of the Greenway between Perkins Pier and the stormwater treatment plant, said Jon Adams-Kollitz, a project coordinator at Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront.

Access to that stretch of the path will remain off-bounds during construction.

Challenges that predate COVID-19, Adams-Kollitz added, will likely delay full connectivity to the Greenway’s southern reaches until 2021.

An intense storm system on Halloween 2019 topped off a record-wet October, raising Lake Champlain’s water levels by about two feet. The storm scuttled reinforcement work on a stretch from Blanchard Beach to Perkins Pier that is particularly vulnerable to wind-driven waves.

Crews will have to wait until late summer or early fall — when lake levels typically drop — to return to that job.

Walkers and cyclists, meanwhile, must circumvent construction onto city streets and sidewalks, well inland of one of the path’s most scenic vistas.

Plans are underway to construct a temporary bike lane on the path’s current detour on Pine Street, Adams Kollitz said, as part of a collaborative project with the city’s Department of Public Works, its volunteer Walk-Bike Council and transportation nonprofit Local Motion.

Greenway enthusiasts may notice other developments along the waterfront, spring through fall:

  • Amtrak’s plans to store trains for its upcoming passenger service will require portions of the path to be shifted between Maple and College streets.
  • A thick stand of ash trees at the Perkins Pier playground — vulnerable to quick destruction by emerald ash borers — will be thinned and replaced with a more diverse, resilient array of native trees.

Longer-term plans to upgrade the Greenway’s passage further south, through Oakledge Park, have been moved to the back burner due to uncertainty over city finances in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Parks, Recreation and Waterfront bulletin.

More: Coronavirus in Vermont: Recreation paths get crowded as people head outside for exercise

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 802-660-1843 or joelbaird@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @VTgoingUp.

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