Those who cycle through Burlington this year will be greeted with renovations made to the city’s downtown bike path.
The path —which is now renamed the “Burlington Greenway” — has newly-added features that turn it into a linear park for recreation while improving views of Lake Champlain, said Diane Wood, the city’s marketing and outreach coordinator.
One mile of the path between the Moran Plant and North Beach has been completely rebuilt and refined. In the southern portion of the project, the path has been realigned to hug the lake’s shoreline, according to a Dec. 16 press release.
“The path itself was constructed with a new sturdy sub-base and paved to our new wider standards of 2-11-2 feet, with soft shoulders for runners,” Wood said.
Sophomore Nick Lando, whose “life revolves around cycling,” sees the renovations as a positive, he said.
“[The former path] was extremely bumpy,” Lando said. “[There were] no holes, but the pavement was broken up, which increased the risk of flat tires.”
With the new changes, he said he’s now more likely to cycle along the path.
“It is an excellent way to get a recovery spin in close to campus,” Lando said.
Other amenities were also incorporated into the renovations, such as improved access to the water via granite steps at the southern section of the path and a handicapped accessible ramp down to Texaco Beach, a newly acquired lakeshore property, according to Wood.
With the renovations came improvements to the path’s landscape, including the removal of 600 tons of asphalt and 800 tons of concrete, which were “relics from the waterfront’s industrial past,” she said.
Rich topsoil will be planted where pavement once was to support the growth of “126 new trees and 167 new woody shrubs, plus thousands of perennials,” Wood said.
She said that in the early stages of the project, the team realized what to expect from the process, including the environmental factors which played a role.
“[The team developed] a rigorous soil testing and management plan in collaboration with the Vermont department of environmental conservation and overseen by a qualified environmental professional,” she said.
More landscaping is also planned for the spring, including plans to plant 1,700 perennial grasses and wildflowers along the path, Wood said.
The project is estimated to cost $2.4 million, according to a Sep. 7 Seven Days article published Sep. 7. This figure is expected to cover the costs associated with the reconstruction of approximately two miles of the eight-mile path, according to the article.
The ultimate goal is to redo the entire path, parks director Jesse Bridges said. However, this will require the city to allocate more funding to the project, he said.
Nevertheless, planning and designs for the next phase are already underway, Wood said.
More work is scheduled to be completed this spring, including the installation of exercise equipment along certain parts of the path for the UVM Medical Center Fitness Trail, according to the press release.