Hard to be a pedestrian in Brattleboro

As a Burlington resident and veteran transportation-policy-development person, a few times a year I take a day excursion on the Vermonter using the discount rate to shop and enjoy Brattleboro.

But I find the lack of walkability an annoyance.

Every Main Street intersection involves a substantial wait at a stoplight - yet the town plan for the Putney Road commercial strip is for full conversion of signals to roundabouts with their typical five or six seconds delay for those using crosswalks. You can check that any time.

It turns out this is the 20th-anniversary year of the first cut roundabout analysis of all the town's major intersections, including from north to south, the intersection that became the Putney Road roundabout in 1999 to the Interstate 91 interchange.

Practically all the intersections from the “triangle” gateway to the downtown to the major south end business intersection (VT 119/US 5/Brattleboro Food Co-op) were suggested as convertible to roundabouts.

Some of these intersections, like Elliot/Main streets, Flat/Main streets and particularly High/Main streets intersection can host a mini-roundabout.

A mini-roundabout is sort of like a circular speed hump with traffic circulating around the central raised, mountable area. A mini can be demonstrated for a few thousand dollars, and a permanent one easily accommodated without resorting to federal or state support.

Manchester Center installed the first mini roundabout in the state in 2012 just north of the “function junction” roundabout at the Baptist Church - it is both beautiful and functional, and it is worth a trip and a coffee at the adjacent new Roundabout Café!

Until a series of roundabouts are in place, vehicle congestion does not get to resolution, but every mini roundabout drops the delay for those using crosswalks to a few seconds at most.

Good for everyone on foot. And for business, too - people shop, not cars.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates