We’re hearing from a number of people about their experiences on North Avenue. Here are a few. If you have story, contact us and we’ll consider posting it here, online.

We’ve also gathered some comments posted on various Front Porch Forums here.

Name: Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne

Age: 41

How do you use North Ave?
Car, bike, walk

What’s your take on the current conditions of the Avenue?
Terrible. North Ave does not work for anyone, regardless if you are driving, biking, or walking. The number of automobile accidents on North Ave makes it one of the most dangerous roads in the state. I don’t feel safe driving, biking, or walking on North Ave. The lack of a comprehensive street design means that my children cannot bike safely to soccer practice. Making the left turn into the Hannaford parking lot when I drive to get groceries is treacherous.

Why is redesigning North Avenue important to you?
My group at work is expanding, and I am trying to recruit people to come and work in Burlington. People are attracted to Burlington because of its livability, and the New North End is a great place to find family-friendly affordable housing. Unfortunately, our transportation infrastructure in the New North End is not family friendly. When we have roads that are only accessible to automobiles, we force people into dual-car ownership households. With the cost of owning a car being $4000+/year, this equates to a six-figure loss of earnings. I find it challenging to recruit talented individuals given that I am competing with other cities that have much lower living costs due to better transportation infrastructure.

Name: Peter McConville

Age: 38

How do you use North Ave?
I live in a neighborhood off of the Avenue, so I travel on it daily both north and south. I mainly travel by car since, given what little time I have as a young(ish) parent, most places I need to go are too far to walk and riding my bike on North Ave feels unsafe.

What do you think about the current conditions of North Avenue?
As a person who drives a car, I feel unsafe due to unpredictable merging and traffic patterns. Turning left out of my neighborhood is notoriously difficult, especially during peak travel times. As a person who walks, I wish I had more options to cross North Avenue and felt safer crossing the Ethan Allen Parkway Intersection, especially with my family. As a person who rides a bicycle, North Avenue feels unsafe for travel due to both the number of potholes and the unpredictable ways that some drivers treat cyclists – verbal and physical threats are fairly commonly reported by people who ride North Ave regularly. The sidewalks are a less than favorable option given the types of riding I like to do.

Why is improving North Avenue important to you?
If we can improve the safety of North Avenue, I would be much more likely to take my bicycle places where I currently take my car, I would ride bikes with my own children to places where we currently walk or drive, and I would feel better about the increasing numbers of students currently riding their bikes to the four Burlington schools along North Ave. A safer infrastructure would encourage many folks to walk or ride bicycles to places where they currently drive, benefiting their physical, emotional, and psychological health.

Name: Lauren Morley Wilkinson

Age: 27

How do you use North Ave?
I currently commute to and from work on North Ave, get to the grocery store, hardware store, go get a creemee, etc. using North Ave. I also run about 20-30 miles per week and run on the sidewalks of North Ave a lot. I do not bike on the four-lane section because it is very unsafe. This prohibits me from biking to the Hannafords shopping area to run errands although I would very much like to be able to do so.

What do you think about the current conditions of North Avenue?
The current conditions leave much to be desired. Planning a safe bike route currently involves a lot advanced planning and going way out of your way to go around North Ave. Cars also travel very fast on North Ave despite the posted speed limits. There are few places to cross North Ave on a crosswalk safely, which further limits travel on foot.

Why is improving North Avenue important to you?
I bought a house in the New North End of Burlington in 2013 and am always encouraging my friends to move to the neighborhood. Leddy Park, the bike path, the Intervale, and the proximity to downtown make this neighborhood an amazing place to live. One thing many people say is that it is hard to get to the NNE. I think this will continue to be true if we do not take steps to make transportation safe and accessible for people walking, on bikes, or in cars. I want to see this neighborhood continue to thrive and flourish!