Stop the road - Let's get community-driven transportation options for Champlain Elementary School!
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The Burlington School District is planning a new roadway adjacent to Champlain Elementary School. We, South End parents and residents, respectfully request that the district pause plans on this project, including all actions to obtain permits, until a community-driven alternative can be developed.
The two-way road will create a new curb cut off Pine Street, head up over the school blacktop, orchard, garden, and forest, up to the district-owned lot on Route 7 where they are building the new District offices and a preschool. That means 56,000 square feet of new asphalt. The width of the road will go from the southern retaining wall to the public community garden.
Marty Spaulding, of District Facilities, was clear at the Tuesday, April 10th Burlington School Board meeting that this roadway is intended to benefit Champlain Elementary School. We appreciate that, however the school community appears to be uniformly opposed to it. The plan only deals with the vehicular traffic problem. It creates myriad other problems for the school.
The plan presented on April 10th is enormously disruptive and unsafe to the plethora of pedestrian and bicycle traffic to and from the school, much of which is children. As a result it discourages sustainable commutes and encourages vehicular commutes which are less sustainable and go against the PlanBTV mission. This will only exacerbate the problem it purports to solve.
The road destroys many key outside education tools for the school: our blacktop, our school garden, orchard, shed, some of our fields and forest. The school garden has been cultivated over years by the students, educators and parent volunteers. The shed was donated to the school by our PTO president in memory of her late father. These assets are essential to the ethos of our school. They are also an equity an open space justice issue in that not all kids have a place to play outside at home. The school tries to meet that need for all.
This plan was drawn up entirely without the input of any Champlain Elementary staff or families. While the district has said there will be time to weigh in, that is not possible given the current timeline. If the district proceeds with its plans to seek permits and obtain construction bids by July, that is not acceptable. The current plans need to be paused until a consensus around a solution can be achieved. We thank you in advance for your flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of the South End.
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