Waitsfield, the Mad River Valley Planning District and VTrans are working collaboratively on the issue of pedestrian safety in Waitsfield and Irasville.
This working group met last week via Zoom on February 16, where members did a virtual walk through of Main Street using Google Maps and Streetview.
“We started at the Waitsfield Telecom sign and walked the entire way, talking about where there are conflicts and challenges, some specific to location, and some areas across the entire distance, speed and streetscape,” explained Joshua Schwartz, executive director of the Mad River Valley Planning District.
“That led to a discussion put together by the secretary of transportation, Kari, Waitsfield town staff, myself and folks from VTrans. VTrans wanted to fully understand the needs of the community. It was a really good conversation and VTrans was very supportive, Schwartz said.
He said that despite what had been the impression historically – that VTrans was not interested in working with local towns – the state agency was very collaborative and eager to work with the town and be responsive to the needs of the community.
VTrans put together a Tiger Team with point people from VTrans and asked the town to put together its own team to work with the VTrans Tiger Team.
“This group is a hyper-focused team looking at Waitsfield’s challenges and opportunities,” he explained. Schwartz and MRVPD community planner Kati Gallagher along with Waitsfield town administrator Trevor Lashua and Waitsfield planning and zoning administrator Annie Decker-Dell’Isola are working with the VTrans team.
Schwartz said that it is exciting that VTrans, the Route 100/Main Street property owner, is willing to explore options and has pedestrian/transportation engineers willing to engage with them.
Next steps for the locals involved in the Tiger Team is to drill down to four to five challenges that might be site specific or endemic to the system, put those on a map, figure out what has been done and what hasn’t and identify priorities.