Burlington Bike Path, Burlington, Vermont - Parks, Recreation & Waterfront

Welcome to the Burlington Bike Path Website!
The City is currently working on enhancing the Burlington Bike Path through a multi-phase rehabilitation project. For more information please refer to this website frequently and check out the Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Facebook page and twitter account.

Bike Path Rehabilitation Project


The Bike Path Rehabilitation Project proposes the rehabilitation of the approximate 8 mile multi-use path that runs through downtown Burlington and along the Lake Champlain waterfront. The project limits extend throughout the entire City of Burlington beginning with the southern terminus of the project at the path intersection with Queen City Park Road and extending northerly to the Winooski River Bridge. This project will be a phased effort with full preliminary design beginning for the entire length of the path in July of 2013. Phase 1 of the project will consist of Phase 1a, encompassing the length of the path from Perkins Pier to Penny Lane, and Phase 1b, encompassing the length of the path from Penny Lane to the North Beach Overpass.

Contract Plans for Phase 1a will be submitted in summer 2014 with construction scheduled to begin in October 2014. Phase 1b will include Contract Plans being submitted during winter 2015 and will be ready for construction in the spring of 2015. The timeframe for future construction phasing of the bike path remains to be determined.

For additional details regarding the Rehabilitation Project please see the Project Overview Presentation (Adobe PDF file 2.3MB).

Bike Path Rehabilitation

Project Objective

The objective of this project is to rehabilitate the Burlington Bike Path to update it to current multi-use path standards to serve its ever increasing use, to increase resiliency, and to ensure it withstands the test of time to continue serving Burlington residents and visitors.

Project Updates

Bike Path Rehabilitation & King Street Cottonwood 

There has been much community dialogue related to the removal of the large cottonwood tree located at King Street in relation to the Bike Path Rehabilitation project.  As per final design plans, this fall the cottonwood must be removed in order to safely & sustainably rebuild the path.  Unfortunately there are many spatial constrictions in this high-use section of the path.  Below is a list of facts and considerations that have been taken into account with respect to the removal of this particular tree.  Read BPRW Director Jesse Bridges full response.

  • Compromised tree in an urban environment
    • Cottonwoods are a fast growing, weak-wooded species with shallow, aggressive root systems that are highly susceptible to failure from high winds and snow load.
    • While beautiful, this particular cottonwood has a compromised, three-stem structure and that has already sustained substantial storm damage and is an isolated tree in a high-wind area.
  • The bike path from Maple to College presents safety challenges that require users to navigate multiple intersections crossings and railroad tracks within a short distance. 
    • Set between the Railroad right-of-way and a private parcels, there are limited options for modifying path alignment.
    • It is the City’s responsibility to ensure that path rehabilitation makes this area as safe as possible for all users.
  • Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront is the steward of more than 10,000 trees in the city
    • BTV’s 43% canopy coverage exceeds the national average and is rapidly headed towards the goal of 50%.
    • Annually, twice as many trees (or more) are planted than removed.
    • Extensive measures have been taken to protect ALL trees proximate to the bike path.  While an incredibly difficult decision, the City Arborist, PRW staff and engineering team agree that removal of this cottonwood is the best solution to ensure public safety and longevity of the path.
  • The project and its details have been the subject of 4 public meetings beginning in October 2013, and plans that show the removal of the tree have been publicly available online (BTVbikepath.com), through hard copies of plan sets at Pine Street, and presented publically since January of 2014.
    • These plans have been reviewed and approved by the Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Commission, Conservation Board, Development Review Board, Parks, Art & Culture Committee and others.
    • The Mayor’s Office, BPRW Commissioner/Chair Nancy Kaplan, Parks Commissioner, Parks Foundation member and former Bike Path Task Force Chair John Bossange and have all offered their opinion in support of removal of the tree.
  • The new path, accessible to all, will last for decades, serving & supporting the ever-growing numbers of users and future generations.

» The bids for construction of the “Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation, Phase 1a” project were read aloud at a public Bid Opening on Monday August 18th, 2014 at the Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Office on Pine Street. A Bid Analysis has been completed and the recommendation to award the low bidding contractor is being reviewed by the City Council and Board of Finance for approval.

» Construction will result in closures of the path over certain periods of time. The City understands that public outreach is essential during this time and will be utilizing many different media platforms to create awareness of any closures and detours. Standard traffic control signage will be used in the field and this website, email blasts, and Facebook posts will all include more detailed information as it becomes available. Also, please feel free to submit any questions or comments through this website via the link at the bottom of this page and the "Get Involved" tab to the left.

» VHB submitted Contract (100%) Plans for the “Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation, Phase 1a” project on July 25th, 2014. Over the following weeks, the Contract Plans were reviewed and two addendums were made to the plan set. The final Contract (100%) Plans can be viewed at the following link: Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation, Phase 1a Contract Plans (Adobe PDF, 8.0MB).

» VHB submitted Final (85%) Plans for the “Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation, Phase 1a” project on June 27th, 2014. Since that date, the City reviewed and commented on these plans and the necessary design adjustments were made leading up to the Contract (100%) Plans submission. The Final (85%) Plans can be view at the following link: Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation, Phase 1a Final Plans (Adobe PDF, 6.7MB).

» VHB submitted Conceptual (25%) Plans for the Rehabilitation of the Burlington Bike Path (Adobe PDF, 23.0MB) to the City of Burlington on January 10th, 2014. Since this date, the City reviewed and commented on these plans, and VHB developed a "Response to Comments" document (Adobe PDF, 0.1MB) which outlines each comment that was made as well as the corresponding responses and actions that will be made for subsequent plan submissions. In addition, the Department of Parks & Recreation presented the 25% Bike Path design to the Parks & Recreation Commission in January to gather input and public comment.

» The City of Burlington painted mile markers on the bike path and we've been receiving a couple questions on why they are located differently than they used to be. There is a section of the Burlington bike path which is located at the southern end of the project that runs from Queen City Park Road to Home Avenue and then follows the road down to Austin Drive where the 0.0 mile marker used to be located. Previous studies did not include this section of the bike path in their projects, however, this piece of the path is within Burlington City limits and is a part of the Island Line Trail network. The City determined that this piece of the path should be included in the rehabilitation project and therefore the City marked mile locations accordingly beginning at 0.0 at Queen City Park Road. Please see the project location map above for more detail.

Fieldwork Sign

» The City and VHB have developed an informational sign which has been mounted in various locations along the bike path. The sign offers an overview of the project area and emphasizes that there will be field work occurring throughout the next year. It also requests that everyone please be aware of your surroundings and courteous to workers and other path users during this time.

» Please reference the “Bi-Weekly Project Updates” for more in depth information about what’s going on with the rehabilitation project.

Take a Tour!

» Take a tour of the proposed Burlington Bike Path rehabilitation improvements! The following Google Earth file (.kmz) is a graphical representation of the proposed work for the Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation Project. To view this file please be sure you have Google Earth installed on your computer (Free Google Earth download available here).

Please click on the following link to download the .kmz: Burlington Bike Path Rehabilitation Project Graphic

Brief description of graphic features:

  1. Zoom in to popular locations by double clicking on any of their names (eg. Oakledge Park, Waterfront Park, etc.) in the Navigation Pane on the left side of the screen.
  2. Expand "Levels" to turn on or off various features:
    • Bike Path Improvements – These are the improvements for the project including path reconstruction, widening, realignment, paint markings, new/relocated fence, new green space, and other features.
      • The path will be widened to an 11' paved width with a 2' aggregate shoulder on each side where possible. The path will also include centerline striping and appropriate pavement markings as shown.
      • A green surface will be used at roadway crossings and other paved locations to enhance path delineation.
      • Other green areas shown in the graphic are newly proposed grass areas and in the case of Waterfront Park, grass permeable pavers are being proposed along the path through the event grounds.
      • Blue and red lines on either side of the path signifies fence/railing work which varies between replacement and relocation.
    • Proposed Pause Places/Amenities – These levels represent proposed pause places and various amenities along the path. Pause places are in early design stages and are being shown at a conceptual level. Additional details and amenities will be added further along in the project development.
    • Shoreline Armoring – These blue shaded areas along Lake Champlain signify shoreline locations which will require further evaluation of protective measures.
    • Surface Removal – These red hatched areas represent locations for the potential removal of paved or concrete surfaces in the future.
Test Pit Example

» VHB, the project design engineer, has been moving forward with field efforts along the bike path. They recently marked 45 locations which are proposed for digging 18”x18”x30” deep test pits in order to sample the existing cross section of the path. The map below shows these approximate locations and each site is labeled in the field with a painted “VHB #” as seen in the photo below. These samples will lead to an in depth analysis of existing ground and allow appropriate design recommendations to be prepared for the bike path reconstruction. Actual digging in these locations will take place within the next few weeks but specific days have not yet been identified. More detailed information will follow as it's developed about this field work.
Adobe PDF fileTest Pit Locations (Adobe PDF, 3.0 MB)

Bi-Weekly Project Updates

Adobe PDF fileBike Path Update - September 12, 2014 (Adobe PDF, 0.1 MB)

Bi-Weekly Update Archive


Adobe PDF fileFinal Design Public Informational Meeting Presentation – May 13, 2014 (Adobe PDF, 5 MB)

Adobe PDF fileFinal Design Public Informational Meeting Notes – May 13, 2014 (Adobe PDF, 1 MB)

Adobe PDF filePreliminary Design Public Informational Meeting Notes – January 14, 2014 (Adobe PDF, 0.8 MB)

Adobe PDF fileConceptual Improvements Public Meeting - Presentation (Adobe PDF, 29.5 MB)

Adobe PDF fileConceptual Improvements Public Meeting – Notes (Adobe PDF, 0.7 MB)

Adobe PDF fileBike Path Rehabilitation - Location Map (Adobe PDF, 0.5 MB)

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