With Construction Underway, Vermont City Aims to Ease Visitors' Travels

Tools are available to help people find parking and navigate the streets of Burlington

As the city of Burlington, Vermont enters its busiest time of year—starting with the University of Vermont’s graduation this weekend and continuing with summer and fall tourism traffic for the Lake Champlain region—travelers may notice some significant changes due to construction.

Because of that, the city wants to get ahead of any inconveniences by helping people navigate the streets with ease.

“We’re trying to do a better job of helping people find those available [parking] spaces,” said Chapin Spencer, the director of the Burlington Public Works Department.

A transformation is now underway for downtown Burlington, with an old mall demolished to make way for a high-rise of housing, offices, retail and dining space.

Elsewhere in the city, infrastructure upgrades are taking shape, including this week’s paving work on Pine Street.

The various jobs have left frequent visitor to Burlington Samantha Marchessault struggling sometimes to navigate streets and park her car.

Marchessault, who lives in Enosburgh, said she experienced frustrations parking, especially on weekends and at night, because of construction and the mall’s old garage being out of the picture.

“It’s hectic, it’s really hectic,” Marchessault said of parking. “Finding a spot is ridiculous.”

That perception is exactly what the Burlington Business Association and the Burlington Public Works Department now want to reverse.

The BBA pointed people to the interactive website ParkBurlington for updated maps and rates, and advice on finding parking.

BBA executive director Kelly Devine said even at peak times, plenty of spaces are available if you know where to look.

“It’s a nice map there, that shows you where any traffic pattern changes are happening and where you can park,” she said of the ParkBurlington website.

Public works director Chapin Spencer encouraged people to download the ParkMobile smartphone app for digital meter-feeding and re-feeding.

“We’re here to help people have a great time in downtown, even in this time of generational reinvestment in our streets and our sidewalks,” Spencer told necn.

Business owner Moe O’Hara said she appreciates the public education campaign.

“The perception that there’s no parking around is kind of incorrect,” she said. “There is parking around.”

O’Hara just opened a new Pine Street shop for artist-made goods called Thirty Odd.

She said she hopes locals and visitors alike will be excited about exploring the creative Burlington business community this summer, and not deterred by the changes happening on city streets.

“Business is open,” O’Hara said of independent businesses throughout the Burlington area. “It’s time for you guys to come down here and support us!”

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