Killington Road plan would add path
By Josh O’Gorman
staff writer | January 25,2013
This image created by the engineering firm Dubois & King depicts a proposed multiple-use path along the main access road to Killington Resort.
KILLINGTON — The town Planning Commission is considering a plan to reduce the number of lanes on Killington Road.
The commission and public reviewed a presentation by Lucy Gibson, project engineer with Dubois & King of Rutland, who offered a plan to add a multiple-use path along the main access road to Killington Resort between West Hill and School House roads.
Gibson offered a pair of proposals to make the quarter-mile stretch of road more attractive to pedestrians and cyclists, safer for motorists and more lucrative for merchants.
The first proposal is to extend the existing sidewalk — which is on the west side of the road — farther south beyond School House Road. The second proposal would add a multiple-use path on the east side of Killington Road. After explaining both alternatives, Gibson discussed why she preferred plan two.
Extending the sidewalk might require wetlands work, utility relocation, obtaining rights-of-way, and would result in a sidewalk next to the road with no buffer.
“There are fairly high speeds, and with no protections it’s not an ideal walking scenario,” Gibson said.
She also called the idea for new sidewalk construction on the east side “pretty much impossible because of the wetlands.”
The second proposal reconfigures the existing road, eliminating one of the two northbound lanes and using the remaining space to create an 8-foot-wide path for both pedestrians and cyclists. This configuration would also allow the introduction of a grassy strip of land between the road and path.
The multiple-use plan is also more fiscally attractive, costing $283,000 to $331,000, compared to $385,000 to build the sidewalk.
Members of the Planning Commission and the audience expressed concern that the loss of a travel lane might hurt traffic flow.
“It took us 30 years to get three lanes,” said commission member and longtime resident Walter Linnemayr.
He recalled a time when townsfolk would put out traffic cones every weekend to create more lanes for guests to leave the mountain.
“This plan will create a bottleneck, traffic will back up and people will go elsewhere,” Linnemayr said.
Gibson cited the positive effect that slower traffic might have on local business.
“Traffic congestion isn’t something to fear,” she said. “Some of our most favorite places to visit have heavy traffic.”
Gibson also noted that, right now, a northbound driver who wishes to turn left is doing so from the passing lane — a scenario ripe for a car crash.
Commission member Ken Crompton asked about the feasibility of different road configurations for summer and winter.
“We don’t see a lot of bikers during the winter,” he said.
Chris Carr, president of the Killington Chamber of Commerce, asked how the two-lane plan would affect emergency services.
“What’s going to happen on a busy weekend afternoon when we need to get a fire truck to the bottom of the road?” Carr asked.
Gibson’s proposals are available on the town’s website under the Planning Commission tab at www.killingtontown.com.