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BCRC Completes Plan for Franklin Lane Improvements in Downtown Bennington

Franklin Lane connects South Street and Washington Street in the center of Bennington’s downtown, just one block south of Main Street. This public street is beset with numerous problems: unattractive appearance, poor lighting, complete lack of pedestrian facilities, excessive vehicle speeds, and lack of traffic controls among them. Bennington received a Transportation Alternatives grant to study the problem and hired the BCRC to complete a plan for improvements to the Lane.

The BCRC worked with local officials and a civil engineer to develop a set of improvements that can be accomplished at relatively low cost to the town. Those plans include development of a “shared street” area in the narrow alley on the east end of the project area, improved lighting, addition of landscaping, a section of curbed sidewalk and pathway connections, as well as related improvements at the nearby intersection at South and Main Streets.

Plans for redevelopment of downtown Bennington’s Franklin Lane include a range of improvements to make this space a safe and attractive asset to the area. The alley will be transformed into a “shared street;” a treatment where all traffic control devices such as signals and stop signs, all markings such as crosswalks, and all signs have been removed. Curbing is removed to blur the lines between sidewalks and motorized travel way.

The philosophy is that absence of all of those features forces all users of the space — from pedestrians to drivers — to negotiate passage through the space via eye contact and person to person negotiation. Attractive pavers will replace the deteriorating asphalt surface.

The Town may implement some of the recommendations on its own and may apply for grants to cover other construction expenses. The report is available here.

The BCRC is working on several additional streetscape and pedestrian improvement projects in towns around the region. Contact Mark Anders, BCRC’s transportation program manager, for additional information.