Strip Mall Rebirth?

One of the busiest roads in Brattleboro will get sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian crosswalks. The 1.2 mile section of Putney Road that is between the West River bridge and the traffic circle at exit 3 on Interstate 91, will get the upgrades four to six years from now, Chris Cole told the Valley Post on February 1. He is a spokesman for the Vermont transportation agency. Putney Road is also Route 5.

Some parts of that 1.2 mile section of road, which includes a giant supermarket, three gas stations, and a dozen fast food restaurants and other businesses, have no sidewalks or bike lanes. In places, the road's shoulders are about one foot wide and are frequently used by pedestrians and bicycle riders. The 40 mph speed limit will be reduced.

Only one of the several busy intersections on the road has pedestrian crosswalks. All the intersections will get crosswalks.

The number and size of so-called “curb cuts” will be reduced. These are places where cars are allowed to cross sidewalks and bike paths.

The planned changes, which will result in sidewalks and bike paths along the entire 1.2 miles, are the result of lobbying by the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition. There are similar organizations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Riding a bicycle or walking, rather than driving a car, prevents climate change. The world's leading scientists say climate change is a major threat to earth's ability to support human life.

About 200 feet north of the exit 3 traffic circle, still on Route 5, is an eight-acre field that for decades was open to the public and was used for softball and soccer games. In early 2007, the owner of the field put up “no trespassing” and “building lots for sale” signs on the field.

The “for sale” signs disappeared after a couple of years and the field is still undeveloped. The “no trespassing” signs remain.

A group of local people raised money to buy the field and turn it into a public park, but in late 2007, the owner rejected their offer, saying it was too low.

In February 2015, the owner of the field, Peter Moore of the Moore Company in Rhode Island, did not respond to a phone message and an e-mail from the Valley Post asking if he would reconsider the park group's offer.

On the section of Putney Road that will be getting sidewalks, bike paths, and pedestrian crosswalks, is a giant vacant Home Depot. The building has been vacant since 2008. In Mashpee, Massachusetts, another vacant “big box” store and its acres of parking lots were converted to a neighborhood that looks like downtown Brattleboro, with apartments upstairs from stores, wide sidewalks, narrow streets, and a grassy park with trees and flowers.

The vacant Brattleboro Home Depot is owned by Gibraltar Management of Tarrytown, New York. Scott Zelekowitz, a spokesman for Gibraltar, said in a February 2015 interview with the Valley Post that his company can't do anything with the building because it is still leased by Home Depot. He declined to say when the lease expires. Zelekowitz said Home Depot has been trying unsuccessfully to find someone to “sublease” the building.

Meghan Basinger is a spokeswoman for Home Depot. On February 6, she told the Valley Post that her company “would be open to conversations [about] terminating our lease if there were other interests in the property.” Basinger declined to say when the lease expires.

Another option would be to turn the vacant Home Depot and its parking lot back into a farm field, or a forest. About a mile from downtown Brattleboro is a vacant Walmart that has been empty for years.

Comments

Putney road

Build malls. We all go to Keene now.

Thank you to everyone for

Thank you to everyone for your comments. The Valley Post encourages people to post their real name (first and last) and the town/city and state where they live with their comments. If you're willing to post your contact info, that's even better.

-Eesha Williams (My contact info is at www.ValleyPost.org/contact.)

strip mall

If a strip mall is proposed for Putney, I will come and join the protest. There is a wonderful opportunity to morph the big box into a marketplace, boutiques, or whatever our vision is for an attractive, productive town center. Perhaps someone could tell us what the planning process is, and who to contact with our visions of the future of Putney.

Folks please READ articles

Folks please READ articles before responding... Smfh...

Putney

This proposal is for Putney Road in Brattleboro. It has nothing to do with Putney. Rest assured, there is no chance that Putney will ever have a strip mall.

strip mall rebirth

The traffic plan to allow walking and biking sounds great. So do the ideas to turn those vacant lots and big box sites into places to walk and bike to.

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