Town weighs upgrades to Killington Road
By Josh O’Gorman
STAFF WRITER | June 14,2013
KILLINGTON — Improvements to mass transit and better year-round property maintenance were two of the ideas generated during a public forum on the future of Killington Road.
Earlier this year, the town received a $15,000 planning grant from the state Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development.
“This is a discussion about what’s appropriate for the future of Killington Road for the next 25 years,” Town Planner Richard Horner said to the two-dozen or so members of the public attending Wednesday night’s meeting of the Planning Commission.
The town has retained the services of LandWorks, a landscape architecture company from Middlebury, to develop a plan.
David Raphael, principal and landscape architect for LandWorks, led a brainstorming session, asking the public to think about what works and doesn’t work on Killington Road.
“The most important thing is for Killington Road to succeed as both a corridor and as a destination,” Raphael said, referring to the importance of having a road that both connects Route 4 to Killington Resort and also promotes the vitality of the shops and restaurants along the way.
Raphael had the audience break up into three groups, which considered questions of what works well on Killington Road, what doesn’t work well, what town can do and also what the private land and business owners can do to make things better.
The brainstorming session consumed the better part of an hour, with residents batting ideas back and forth and commiserating over heavy weekend traffic. But in the end, the ideas generated by the different groups were stunningly similar.
“It’s amazing, the synchronicity between groups one, two and three,” Raphael said.
There was a general agreement that there should be designated stops for the buses transporting guests and workers up and down Killington Road. Currently, the bus picks up and drops off wherever people request it
Raphael noted his time in Park City, Utah, during the 2002 Winter Olympics, when people huddled by the side of the road as they waited for buses, and suggested that construction of bus shelters along Killington Road might increase ridership.
Another common issue was the appearance of business signs up and down the road.
“There was discussion of a need for a consistent look from beginning to end,” Raphael said.
Horner noted the importance of businesses maintaining their properties — such as keeping the grass cut — during the summer months when many Killington Road shops are shuttered for the season.
“Sometimes it looks like you’re not only closed, but abandoned,” Horner said.
LandWorks will take the public comments and use them as it drafts a plan to present to the town Planning Commission, which — per the terms of the grant — has until June 2014 to put a plan in place.