I am writing out of a love for my city and neighborhood, and an honest fear for my safety and the safety of my family. My concern is the intersection where the beltline (Rte. 127) meets Park Street at Manhattan Drive. This intersection is one of the most dangerous places in Burlington, and unfortunately it is my daughter’s route to school every morning.
I realize that the Beltline is a VTrans road, but VTrans doesn't do enforcement. This makes it the City’s problem. And it is a problem. Every day--especially during the morning commute--many, many drivers run the red light. They do so brazenly, often not even “squeezing the yellow,” but instead pushing through a clear red light, at 50+ mph. As soon as they hit Park Street, it should be a 25 mph speed limit, but these drivers are always pushing 50 when they careen through the intersection.
Over the past three days, my wife and I have seen four drivers run this light--and it is not as if we’re hanging out at the intersection. Those four incidents took place in about 3-4 minutes, as we were trying to cross on foot with our 5 year-old and our 9 year-old. On Thursday, when I was walking West, after having dropped off my girls at IAA, I was crossing with the “walk sign” when a sedan blew through the light. This car was followed by a pickup truck, which entered the intersection nearly a second after the light had turned red. It nearly hit me as it screamed South.
This intersection and road are notorious. VTrans has labeled it as a “High Crash Location.” See the following report:. https://vtrans.vermont.gov/sites/aot/files/highway/documents/highway/Formal%202012-2016%20High%20Crash%20Location%20Report.pdf
I am not an urban planner, but it is still easy to envision a number of potential calming measures. First, the city could add a "Red Signal Ahead" warning light on Rt. 127 that is timed with the traffic light to alert vehicles of the red light ahead. See the following link: https://www.orangetraffic.com/product/red-signal-ahead-advance-traffic-light-warning-road-sign/
Second, the city could add transverse rumble strips at regular intervals across the entire South-bound lane, as cars approach the intersection. This would alert all vehicles to reduce their speed. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/hsis/12047/12047.pdf
Third, the city could install a flashing pedestrian crossing (similar to those on North Avenue). This could either be connected to the crossing/button system OR timed to the traffic light--or both. Perhaps it could be programmed with high pedestrian traffic periods in mind (e.g., the IAA school commute). (See: https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/sites/default/files/u214/RRFB%20Public%20Education%20Brochure%20-%20Burlington%20DPW.pdf)
Please know that I appreciate your time and care--and that I trust that you work every day to ensure the safety of Burlington’s residents. Here, we have a tragedy waiting to happen. I sincerely hope you will act quickly.