At Tuesday night's meeting, the Selectboard voted unanimously to support the VTrans plan for replacing the deteriorating Main Street and Merchants Row bridges with temporary bridges this summer.
Last week, Town department heads and a group of downtown stakeholders met to review and provide feedback on the proposed plan.
At the Selectboard's request, VTrans presented a revised Main Street plan that restores all but a small number of parking spaces to Main Street in return for closing Printers Alley to vehicles. Printers Alley will remain open to pedestrians.
On Merchants Row, the Selectboard considered an idea that surfaced during stakeholder meetings of eliminating the roadway bridge and installing only a pedestrian bridge, effectively creating two separate parking areas on Merchants Row. Ultimately the Selectboard decided that it was in the best interests of traffic movement in town and of access to all of our local businesses to maintain Merchants Row as a through street. Chief Hanley and Chief Shaw supported this decision.
Merchants Row will run two way from Main Street to the temporary bridge and then one way eastbound up to South Pleasant Street and Court Square.
A plan is in the works to relocate ACTR from Merchants Row to South Pleasant Street. More to come on that in future posts.
The Selectboard also agreed to consider closing the single-lane temporary bridge on Merchants Row to traffic during downtown events and to consider eliminating the left-hand turn from Merchants Row onto Main Street, a topic that generated considerable discussion at the stakeholder meetings.
Finally, the Selectboard approved the timeline proposed by VTrans, which features preparatory work in June and replacement of the two bridges in the July 22 - August 5 timeframe.
Later next month I will be sharing a "tasks and timeline" visual with all of our downtown merchants and residents that clearly defines what will happen when during the temporary bridge installation.