St. Johnsbury Proposes Bike Lanes Additions

  • Print

bikelaneST. JOHNSBURY- The town of St. Johnsbury has made a proposal to add more bike lanes and crosswalks along Route 5 near Railroad Street and Main Street to make the intersection safer. 


The main reason for the need for bike lanes is the potential for more pedestrians and bicycle activity because of the extension of Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. There is currently no crosswalk at the intersection. 
The project is in the early stages right now, and is expected to take two years. Currently, the project is in the planning stage, but will then move into construction and painting, which is not expected to take long, nor is it expected to cause much noise.
The town says the project’s main purpose is for the safety of the users.
“The engineers really took a good  hard look at the intersections,” said St. Johnsbury Assistant Town Manager, Joe Kasprzak, "the trail head, and how best to take traffic so that pedestrians can get through the intersection safely, and how  bikers can move from the trail head into down town St. Johnsbury safely."
According to a report from DuBois & King, the company engineering the project, there are only about 5,000 cars which travel on the road per day. That number has been steady for the past 25 years. Although, Kasprzak expects there to be an increase to 80,000 users.
With the cars traveling along this area of Route 5, there have also been car accidents. Between 2008 and 2012, there have been seven crashes at the intersection. There was one injury in the crashes. 
Chief of Police in St. Johnsbury, Clement Houde commented, “we would want them to do this in the most safe way possible.”
As of right now, there has been no information on the bicycle data for the intersection, so there is only the potential for increased bicycle traffic. The number of pedestrians is also low, but has the defnite potential to increase.
The Vermont law states "everyone riding a bicycle is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to operators of vehicles, except as to those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.” Bicyclists are not required to use bike paths, and may ride on the road. The law also requires bicycle riders to use hand signals. If hand signals are not used, there is a penalty of two points, along with a $214 fine.
There is one part of the bike lane path that does turn into both a car and bike lane, on the opposite side of Pearl Street. This is where both drivers and bicyclists need to be careful. 
“In this case, we are going to try to separate between the bike lanes and the driving lanes, at least on the initial portion of the project, closer to the interstate, and closer to the bike path,” town manager Chad Whitehead explained. We’ll utilize some of the existing lanes, and it’ll be painted, and a delineation the vehicle travel lane and the bike lane.”