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The results are in and, according to Moretown residents, the section of village sidewalk they'd like to see built first is a connector between the upper and lower villages that includes a retaining wall to support the sidewalk along the west side of Route 100B from the post office to the town yard north of the town sandpit.
Dara Torres of the Moretown Safe Routes to School/Sidewalk Committee shared the results of the recent online survey with the Moretown Select Board at their meeting on Monday, June 3.
While the connector, or Phase A, received the most votes, Phase C, which would reconstruct the sidewalk on the east side of Route 100B in the upper village between Moretown Mountain Road and Hurdle Road, was "a very close second," Torres said. From the survey, "We can see that these are two clear priorities for people."
The phases were identified in a 2010 feasibility study of sidewalks in the village, which also developed price estimates for each project. Phase A would cost either $315,000 or $350,000, depending on the materials used. Phase C would cost $300,000.
There is currently a federal grant available through the Vermont Bike and Pedestrian Coalition that would cover 90 percent of costs and Moretown's matching 10 percent could consist of donated materials. According to Torres, "The scale of our project is right in the ballpark for this particular grant....We should probably just go for it," she said, "but we should choose which phase to go for first."
The other two phases of sidewalk identified in the feasibility study and in the survey were Phase B, which would construct a new sidewalk on the east side of Route 100B in the lower village from Moretown Town Garage to Dickerson Road, and Phase D, which would reconstruct the sidewalk on the west side of Route 100B in the upper village from Moretown Post Office and Moretown Library.
The select board agreed with residents that the Phase A construction project would be the most valuable to the town, but it would also be the most complicated. The intersection of Moretown Mountain Road and Route 100B—to put it kindly—"has issues," select board chair Tom Martin said. Other board members expressed concern about the cars that come down Moretown Mountain Road in winter and slide straight across Route 100B into the guardrail. Would it be wise to put a sidewalk in that same spot?
In the end, the board decided to look into including some provision for fixing the intersection in the application for the Vermont Bike and Pedestrian Coalition grant for Phase A. If they have any lingering concerns, Torres suggested, the town could apply for the grant for Phase C now and apply for grants for Phase A at a later date.