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On the Road in Addison County

September 5, 2023

Here’s the best part of working public outreach in a new transportation project.  You get to meet people from all walks of life and to see the world through their eyes.

I learned this truth while working as Community Liaison during the six years of Middlebury’s Bridge & Rail Project.

The best part of working public outreach for the Vergennes PEL Study is that the community I’m liaising with has now expanded from one town to seven:  Panton, New Haven, Ferrisburgh, Addison, Weybridge, Waltham, and, of course, Vergennes.  More people, more opinions, more food for thought.

Meet You at the County Fair

You may remember in my last post we talked about how the Federal Highway Administration developed the PEL study process to improve decision-making in large transportation projects.  And that one of the essential steps in doing that is identifying and engaging with all stakeholders in the community.

With that goal in mind we packed up our tabletop displays and informational handouts and headed to New Haven for the 75th annual Addison County Field Days.

Navigating occasional downpours and muddy pasture parking, the Vergennes PEL Study team set up in the Lucien Paquette Exhibit Building and, over the course of five days, met with dozens of fairgoers who stopped by to ask questions about the alternate truck routes under study and to offer their opinion and advice.  Everyone around here has a story about traveling on VT 22A through Addison County, and we heard them all!

Next Stop, Vergennes Day

On Saturday, August 26, the PEL Study team set up the exhibit booth for Vergennes Day, that annual celebration of the Little City that takes place downtown on the green.

The photo below shows our booth and two members of the PEL Study team engaging with the public:  Katharine Otto of the Vermont Agency of Transportation and Mike Winslow of the Addison County Regional Planning Commission.

Two days before Vergennes Day, the PEL Study team released a major new public survey.  Its goal is to gather feedback on the five routes under study from as many locals as possible.  Dozens of people stopped by our booth on that Saturday, and we were surprised and delighted to learn how many had already filled out the survey.

We Want To Hear From You!

As our exhibit materials boldly stated, “If you live, work, or travel through northern Addison County, we want to hear from you!”

The new public survey, which closes September 25, is a great opportunity for you to weigh in on the future of your community.  Please take a few minutes to add your voice to the hundreds who have already made their voice heard!  You can take the survey here:  Public Survey | Vergennes PEL Study

And if you have an event you’d like us to attend or just have questions about the project, do get in touch.  You can email me at jgish@vhb.com or give me a call at 802 989-0608.