Loop Road Concept
Information Relating to the So-Called Loop Road Concept
This page has been developed to provide information to residents regarding the so-called Loop Road Concept.
History of the Loop Road
The so-called Loop Road has been discussed in Shelburne since the early 1960s. At that time, residents of the Town appear to have been concerned about both traffic issues and economic vitality in the Village.
The current Town Plan (readopted in January of 2012 after hearings by the Planning Commission and the Selectboard) also recognizes the Loop Road.
The original Loop-Road concept was further considered and refined as part of the development of the 1988 Village Plan. The plan for the village had evolved to include significant streetscape improvements along Falls Road. The improvements coincided with conversion of a portion of Falls Road (from Route 7 intersection to the entrance to the Shelburne Shopping Park) to one direction.
The Shelburne Village Plan was updated in 2006. The updated version of the Village Plan continued to recommend significant streetscape improvements along Falls Road and elsewhere. However, in the illustrations of these improvements, Falls Road is presented as a two way street. No portion is depicted as a one way street.
A traffic analysis prepared at the same time as the 2006 Village Plan Update, and which is summarized in it, examined several alternatives for addressing traffic congestion at the US 7-Falls Road-Harbor Road intersection. One of the alternatives examined closely is the Loop Road. The report documenting the traffic analysis notes as follows:
There are a number of options for improving vehicular traffic in the center of Shelburne Village, with consideration to Village planning goals of a vital business environment, growth in appropriately design housing in the village area, and high levels of pedestrian safety and comfort.
Among the important decisions that should be made in advance of pursuing an intersection improvement strategy is whether or not the Loop Road concept is viable and should be pursued, as this will indicate which alternatives should be considered.
In 2008, more detailed streetscape improvement plans were developed for the section of Falls Road between the US 7-Falls Road-Harbor Road intersection and Church Street. As is the case with the Village Plan update, in the detailed streetscape improvement plans Falls Road is presented as a two way street.
2012-2013 Stantec Engineering Shelburne Village Traffic Studies
In 2012, in the course of discussing the updating of the Town's Capital Program (which helps guide the development of future budget proposals), Shelburne's Selectboard identified the Loop Road project as a priority. In late 2012, the Town approached the Chittenden Country Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) seeking assistance with the task of identifying improvements that would address traffic congestion at the intersection of US 7-Falls Road-Harbor Road.
CCRPC responded to the Town’s request by assigning a consulting firm (Stantec) to conduct a study. The type of study Stantec was asked to complete results in the preparation of what is known as a Scoping Report. Scoping studies follow a defined process that includes public involvement, evaluation of alternatives, and selection of a preferred alternative. For more information about the scoping study, including its relationship to the Loop Road concepts, visit the Scoping Study Page.
Also in late 2012, the Shelburne Development Review Board was continuing its review of the Harrington Village development project. As part of that project, a new street is proposed to intersect Route 7 and provide access to lands that lie at the northern terminus of the Loop Road as that road was conceptually developed in 1988. A short time later, at the end of 2012, ownership of the Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park changed. The Mobile Home Park also lies in an area identified as being served by the 1988 version of the Loop Road concept. At roughly the same time Shelburne's Planning Commission and Selectboard both endorsed a grant application seeking funds for a Planning study relating to the Loop Road. The aim of the study is to better understand any market potential, parking, and regulatory impacts a Loop Road--if built at all--would bring. For more information, visit the Planning Studies.
Shortly after initiating the scoping study, it became evident that one alternative potentially under consideration by Stantec would be the Loop Road. However, before going forward with the scoping study, Stantec and the CCRPC developed a supplemental agreement allowing an initial, more general traffic analysis of the Loop road concept. This was done with the expectation that the results of the traffic analysis might inform whether, or how, the Loop Road should be considered in the scoping analysis.
A conceptual alignment for the Loop Road was developed by the Town's Director of Public Works working in consultation with Civil Engineering Associates (CEA) and a local wetland consultant. It should be noted that a conceptual alignment is only conceptual and cannot be used to build a project. However, the conceptual alignment was of use to Stantec in carrying out their supplemental traffic analysis.
Stantec recently resumed work on the scoping study. Town staff also recently issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from consultants who might assist in the completion of the Planning study endorsed by the Planning Commission and Selectboard.
Citizen Input Survey Re: Loop Road and Intersection Improvements
Extensive public involvement is planned in conjunction with the scoping study being completed by Stantec and with the Planning studies that are the subject of the RFQ. Public involvement--including meetings with directly affected landowners and presentations to public bodies--will be held before the presentation of any preferred alternative. The result of the Planning studies will be information that is intended to assist the Town in making decisions regarding public investments in the village.