On Monday, June 1, Moretown residents donned rained jackets and umbrellas for a site walkthrough of the new village sidewalks, which will run along the east side of Route 100B from its intersection with Hurdle Road to its intersection with Moretown Mountain Road.
Upon returning inside to the Moretown Select Board’s public hearing, those residents—most of whom were adjacent property owners—expressed their concerns about the new sidewalk increasing the speed of cars driving through town.
The new sidewalks will be 5 feet wide and will be bordered by a curb, a 4-foot shoulder and an 11-foot travel lane. While the road will be widened in order to meet state standards, installing the walkways should actually have a calming effect on traffic, local project manager Pat Travers said, because “of the psychological feeling you get when you see a curb,” he said. “You think, oh, I must be in a village right now.”
Besides speed, other property owners were worried about the elevation of the new pathways, which varies relative to the ground throughout the project.
When one property owner asked why the sidewalk couldn’t dip down when it crosses her driveway in order to be flush with the existing pavement, “It seems like something we can accomplish,” Doug Henson of Lamoureux & Dickinson Engineering said, explaining that the sidewalk would most likely dip down at every driveway and not just for the property owners who request it.
“If we can accomplish it and it will fit through the parameters of the project, we’ll do it,” select board chair Tom Martin told residents.
In early 2014, Moretown applied for and received a $375,000 grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Bicycle and Pedestrian Program to construct the sidewalk, for which the town is responsible for a 10 percent match. Last June, it hired Travers to serve as local project manager and last November it accepted a bid from Lamoureux & Dickinson for $38,500 to do the engineering.
Moving forward, Henson will take into account the public’s comments in finalizing the plans for the new sidewalk and the town will hold another hearing to go over them.