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Temporary Bridges Update #41

Adjusting to Main Street; ACTR Winners; More on Merchants Row

We’re in the early days of getting used to the new layout on Main Street but already I’ve noticed two things that I want to bring to your attention.

The first is jaywalking. Folks are walking across the neck of the narrowed temporary bridge and even walking down the bridge itself. Believe me, you do not want to be caught on the bridge at the same time as one of the large tanker trucks hauling milk up to Agri-Mark. This is dangerous. So why are people doing it?

I think people parking on the Village Green side of Main Street are noticing for the first time that the sidewalk on that side of Main Street dead ends at the rail line and rather than walk back to the crosswalk they are just dodging traffic and walking across Main Street. Improved signage will help, and I’m working on that. Others I think see that the roadway is narrower and that it’s just a quick few steps to the other side. But please, spread the word: take an extra minute or two to be safe. Cross Main Street at the crosswalks. Those are in the same place they’ve always been.

The other thing I noticed yesterday is someone attempting to turn left into the new diagonal parking spaces alongside Triangle Park from the southbound lane of Main Street. This involved a three-point turn and held up traffic on Main Street in both directions. We could get away with this with a wider roadway. Now, it’s really not a good idea.

More Winners To Announce. We have five more winners in the ACTR Main Street Express weekly ridership drawing. Each of the following has won a $50 Middlebury Money gift certificate. You can pick up your gift certificate at the Chamber of Commerce HQ on Court Street between 9:30 AM and 4 PM. The winners are: Ross Conrad, Alice Eckles, Greeley Dishaw, B. Putnam, and Anne (sorry, no last name given, hope you know who you are!). Congrats to all.

Monday Wrap-Up. Kubricky worked primarily on the upper end of Merchants Row on Monday, reconfiguring storm drainage lines under the roadway and then backfilling the upper roadway in preparation for paving midweek. They also began installing the deck panels on the Mabey bridge until the late afternoon rain brought that work to a halt.

What’s on Tap Tuesday. Backfilling and grading is the order of the day on the upper end of Merchants Row as Kubricky also completes installing the deck panels on the Mabey bridge. Weather permitting, paving on both sections of the roadway will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Parking on Merchants Row. This week I’m previewing Merchants Row before we reopen the roadway on Saturday. As on Main Street, the Merchants Row temporary bridge sits higher than previously in order to maintain the same vertical clearance for the railroad with a thicker bridge structure now in place. Today, let’s look at the impact on parking.

Here’s where we end up with parking on Merchants Row: 9 spaces in front of the Battell Block, 10 in front of Bourdon Insurance and The Diner, and 14 alongside the Village Green in the upper stretch of Merchants Row for a total of 33 spaces on Merchants Row. This compares with 42 spaces before the temporary bridge, for a net loss of 9 spaces. The most noticeable changes are that the five parking spaces alongside Triangle Park have been converted into a truck loading zone so that delivery trucks are out of the travel lane and there are three fewer spaces in front of the Battell Block to allow safe access in and out of Battell’s parking lot. There are two handicapped spots: one in front of the Battell Block at the intersection with Main Street and one in front of Bourdon Insurance.

Downtown Information Booth Lineup for Tuesday. Staffing the Middlebury Rail & Bridge Project information booth in Cannon Park on Tuesday are Linda Horn (10-12), Susan McGarry (12-2), and Janet Winkler (2-4). Stop by and say hello to our volunteers, who will be showcasing all the great info on our town available at the booth.

A Gem of a Store. So not long ago I was thinking about what to give my wife for a milestone birthday. I decided that I wanted to mark the occasion with a custom bracelet that she could enjoy and then eventually pass on to our granddaughter. So I went to see my friend John Wallace at Autumn Gold. “Sure, Jim, no problem. When do you need it?” “On Saturday, John.” OK . . . the long and short of this story is that John brought in his gifted designer, Josh Riney, who created a beautiful Scottish-themed silver bracelet that will be in our family for generations to come. And they moved heaven and earth to make it happen in time. These are the kind of people who make our town the special place it is. Autumn Gold specializes in new jewelry and estate pieces, custom jewelry and design, jewelry repair and restoration, jewelry appraisal, and watch services. Right on Main Street.

That’s all for today. See you downtown.

Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.

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