Plans for bike path at South Burlington park stir controversy

Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 5:54 PM EDT
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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Plans for a bike path in a South Burlington park are stirring controversy among residents.

The South Burlington City Council recently approved a new shared-use bike path but some residents disagree.

“We kind of feel blindsided,” said Penny Pizer of South Burlington.

The paved, shared-use bike path would go through the Thomas Hubbard Recreation and Natural Area. It is a 60-acre stretch of meadow and woods, and city leaders say the plan has been in the works for a decade.

“Over the last couple years before COVID, we were master-planning the park-- what the community wanted to see at the park. We went through a number of different design meetings and identified amenities folks would like to see at the park,” South Burlington City Manager Jessie Baker said.

Baker says there will be a parking lot that can fit up to 30 cars with artificial lighting built on the space. Pizer, who lives nearby, says she’s concerned about the number of cars that could be in her neighborhood.

“It is very interesting people are worried that this isn’t going to be enough parking and it’s going to become a parking lot,” Pizer said. “I understand growth is important for the community but we also can’t keep displacing nature.”

Pizer enjoys the quiet neighborhood she lives in and does not want to see change at the Hubbard Recreation and Natural Area.

“I don’t think it’s needed or it is appropriate for the residential area that we live,” she said.

Some residents are in favor of the new add-ons to the area.

“I like the park. I like the idea to have a public park, additional public park to the Overlook Park over there. I like the public space so my family, my kids can walk there,” said Wei Jiang of South Burlington. “I have hope for the park to get it done sooner.”

Officials hope this plan can help people with families.

“We want to make sure folks with young children, folks with disabilities can easily access the shared-use path, and also that we are being respectful of neighbors who have small side streets around the park and ensure that they do not get inundated with parked cars, as well,” Baker said.

As of right now, City Hall tells me they will not be adding a pavilion.