BRATTLEBORO — Consultants are being hired to look at ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety on a section of Route 9 and Western Avenue.
During a special meeting Tuesday, the Select Board awarded $40,000 to Dufresne Group for a bicycle and pedestrian scoping project along an approximately 1-mile stretch of the road from Exit 2 to Main Street.
Brattleboro Planning Director Sue Fillion said the primary goal is to figure out how to accommodate bike lanes.
"There's some challenges," she said. "So having a consultant come do that work is important."
The group also is anticipated to explore potential improvements to pedestrian crossings. Surveys will be issued and meetings will be held later for public input.
The town received a $32,000 grant for the project from the Vermont Agency of Transportation in January. A request for proposals was issued in May and four were reviewed in June by a small subcommittee that included two staff members from both the town's planning and public works departments, and a state project supervisor from the state.
"Dufresne Group ranked the highest," Fillion said, adding that the consultants had "good observations" about the project area and an experienced team. "We felt that they would be good for the project."
Since the town has been exploring bicycle and pedestrian issues for many years, Select Board Vice Chairwoman Elizabeth McLoughlin called the project "very important."
Applauding the project, board member Ian Goodnow said he bikes a portion of the road during his commute.
"It's a really heavily used area and it brings people right into downtown," he said.
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org
and at @CMaysBR on Twitter.