Neighborhood to Schools Route

Neighborhood to Schools Route

Coming August 2024, the City of Burlington, in partnership with Local Motion, will be doing a “pop-up” demonstration project that will create a safe and welcoming route from Mayfair Park neighborhood through to the Middle and High Schools to encourage more students to walk, bike, or roll to school.

This “Neighborhood to School Route” is a pilot infrastructure project for the first 6 weeks of school in the fall. The project will use “quick-build tools and techniques—including lawn signs, temporary chalk paint, planters, and other items—to create slow streets and awareness for people driving vehicles to expect students walking, biking, and rolling in the area. This will not only allow for safety but also pleasantness, placemaking, and neighborhood calming. Streets will still function as today, and parking will be minimally impacted (at gateway entrances to the greenway).

Neighborhood Greenways are streets with low-vehicle volumes and speeds, designed to prioritize bicycling and enhance conditions for walking. Neighborhood Greenways are streets where people of all ages and abilities feel safe walking and biking. To create this condition, Neighborhood Greenways use a variety of traffic calming and place making treatments.” Source

The long-term vision is that the pilot project spurs investment in permanent infrastructure changes along the route—such as enhanced crosswalks, on-road combination sidewalks and bike lanes, street narrowing at certain points, paved paths through the woods, wayfinding signs and real paint to continue—to build momentum for students to get to school in healthy, social ways. Ultimately, with a crosswalk over Williston Road at Elsom, students from the Chamberlin neighborhood will also have a safe route to get to school.

FAQ’s

  • When did this get approved? This pilot project has been discussed at the South Burlington Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee for many years. The newly formed South Burlington Safe Routes to School Task Force recommended this pilot to the City Council in May 2024 and City Council approved this pilot on June 3, 2024. See the presentation to the City Council here.
  • What is the route? The route starts at the northern end of Elsom Parkway at Williston Road and heads south through the woods at the end of the street to Prouty The route crosses Hinesburg Road at the crosswalk at the end of Prouty and heads north for a short distance before turning west on Sunset Avenue. At the end of Sunset, a left onto Birch Street will put you onto the small gravel path that leads to O’Brien Drive. From there the route follows O’Brien to Barrett Street and into the back entrance to the schools. See image below.
  • How long will it take to walk or bike? Depends on how late for school you are! ;) From Williston Road to the High School bike rack it is 1.6 miles. It should take the average person 30 minutes to walk or 10 minutes to bike the entire route. But we guess that students living along the route will take even less depending on where they start. And keep in mind that if you live at the end of Elsom and DRIVE to the high school it will take 9 minutes anyway, so it may actually be quicker to bike!
  • Will I still be able to park on the street? Yes! While there may be pedestrian and bicycle stencils painted on the road, these will be advisory only. No parking prohibition or enforcement is proposed.
  • I live on one of the streets. Will I be impacted? We hope you will see a POSITIVE impact of people driving their cars more carefully and be able to wave and say hi to many more students as they walk to school. You can also use the route for walking the dog after work or attending a school function yourself.
  • Will it be accessible in the winter? While a couple of the path sections are not plowed, the route should be fully usable all year long. In fact, some already do use it year-round!
  • Why now? What are the benefits? South Burlington recently created a Climate Action Plan with a goal of reducing the amount of vehicle miles traveled by automobiles. So instead of dropping your student off by car, have them walk, bike, or roll! Other benefits of walking are that studies have “found after walking for 20 minutes, children responded to test questions with greater accuracy and had more brain activity than children who had been sitting. Children also completed learning tasks faster and more accurately following physical activity.” Plus, it is a very social way to spend time with friends and build community. You get to wave and say hi to many more people than if you are in a car or bus.

Neighborhood to Schools Route Map