US 7/Harbor Road/Falls Road "Scoping Study"
This page has been created to provide information to residents and others regarding the US 7/ Harbor Road/ Falls Road “Scoping” Study. Scoping studies follow a defined process that includes public involvement, evaluation of alternatives, and selection of a preferred alternative.
A highly detailed description of the Scoping process (scoping manual) can be found here: http://vtransengineering.vermont.gov/sites/aot_program_development/files/documents/publications/ProjScopMan1995.pdf
To be consistent with this manual, decisions regarding the selection of a preferred alternative must be made collaboratively (i.e., the decision is not made by any particular interest group or by staff).
Initiation of the Study
In late 2012, the Town approached the Chittenden Country Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) seeking assistance with the task of identifying improvements that would address traffic congestion at the intersection of US 7-Falls Road-Harbor Road. CCRPC responded to the Town’s request by assigning a consulting firm (Stantec) to conduct a Scoping study. A report by Stantec on the existing conditions found near the intersection is available here:
Study Hiatus to Conduct Initial Loop Road Evaluation
Shortly after initiating the scoping study, it became evident that one alternative potentially under consideration by Stantec would be the Loop Road. However, before going forward with the scoping study, Stantec and the CCRPC developed a supplemental agreement allowing an initial, more general traffic analysis of the Loop road concept. This was done with the expectation that the results of the traffic analysis might inform whether, or how, the Loop Road should be considered in the scoping analysis.
A conceptual alignment for the Loop Road was developed by the Town's then-Director of Public Works working in consultation with Civil Engineering Associates (CEA) and a local wetland consultant. It should be noted that a conceptual alignment is only conceptual and cannot be used to build a project. However, the conceptual alignment was of use to Stantec in carrying out their supplemental traffic analysis.
Resumption of Study
After completing the supplemental analysis Stantec resumed work on the scoping study. The focus of the firm’s recent efforts has been on the identification of possible alternative improvements that might be implemented to address conditions at the intersection.
A meeting to present the result of the recent analysis to stakeholders and other members of the public was conducted on April 11, 2013. A second meeting with Stakeholders was held on May 13th, and a third was held on June 18th.
The team working on the project presented the results of their work to the Planning Commission on September 12 and to the Selectboard on September 24th. The Selectboard tabled discussion but is expected to take action—by endorsing a preferred alternative—on October 8. The Selectboard meeting on October 8 will take place in meeting room 1 of the Shelburne Town offices at 5420 Shelburne Road.
Alternative improvements currently under active consideration by the consultants have been summarized as follows:
•Strategy 1 – Intersection Upgrades Only Strategy
•Strategy 2 – One-Way Falls Road with Intersection Upgrades
•Strategy 3 – Right Turns Only from Falls Road with Intersection Upgrades
•Strategy 4 - Intersection upgrades without US 7 southbound right turn lane
If you have comments on the alternative strategies or suggestions for improvements that are not recognized in these strategies, please provide your ideas here: http://us7-harborroad-fallsroad-scopingstudy.blogspot.com/.
In October of 2013 the Selectboard endorsed Strategy 4 as their preferred alternative with the exception of the parallel parking spaces on Harbor Road. In light of business concerns the Selectboard preferred five drive-in angled spaces over three parallel spaces.
Comment on Alternative
To make comments on any aspect of the strategies or improvements, please email your ideas to the Town of Shelburne by clicking here or visit the Scoping Study Commenting Page.
The stakeholders group has been created to improve scoping process and supplement the public input that is expected to be gained at public hearings meeting and other events. For more information about the Stakeholders Group, visit the Stakeholders Group Page.