By Evan Johnson
At a planning commission meeting last week, engineers and architects presented a plan for managing traffic in the main commercial center of Killington. Using local traffic data and case studies from other ski areas in Vermont and around the country, the plan is to foster traffic patterns that allow bike, automobile, bus and pedestrian traffic to move efficiently and safely in the busy area between the road’s intersection with West Hill Road and Glazerbrook.
The meeting was the first after the Nov. 9 meeting that discussed bus stops, crosswalks and sidewalks.
Unlike resorts with long access roads that can take up to two hours to negotiate, Killington resort is unique in that visitors can go from the main road to the resort parking lot in just minutes, even on the busiest weekends. However, high rates of travel and unclear turning lanes have resulted in confusion and even accidents. Lucy Gibson, senior transportation engineer with DuBois and King, and David Raphael, principal architect at LandWorks, presented accident records from 2011 to 2016 that showed four crashes near Glazerbrook and Basin Sports, four crashes at Green Mountain College’s Killington School of Resort Management, eight at the Fat Italian Deli, six at the Wobbly Barn Steakhouse, seven at the Killington Market and eight more on side streets and driveways intersecting with Killington Road.
Of these accidents, 35 percent were rear-end collisions, and 31 percent were sideswipe collisions by cars traveling the same direction.
Gibson said these collisions were attributed to a lack of a defined turning lane.
Gibson characterized the road’s accident history as “a bit elevated, but not extreme.”
Other areas of concern include pedestrian flow during late nighttime hours, a bus system that can block traffic, and little room for bike travel in the warmer months. The road was the site of one pedestrian fatality in 2013, when a 26-year-old man was struck by a car while walking.
To remedy these issues, the consultants recommended reducing speeds through lane reassignments, a revised transit system that uses well marked and evenly spaced bus stops and eight new sections of sidewalk and eight new crosswalks with flashing beacons to move people to safer areas for walking.
The project engineers are working to adjust the flow of traffic to accommodate the road’s busiest hours, during mornings and late afternoons. Gibson presented a plan to change an existing three lanes of travel to one for each direction with a two-way turning lane in the center. Meeting attendees including expressed concern about the plan’s ability to move traffic quickly to and from the resort.
The plan to redevelop the road is being designed in phases. Project designers will now identify costs, environmental impasses, right-of-way and potential sources of funding. A feasibility study will be presented on May 24.