Saturday, December 5, 2015

Burlington Streets Challenge - The Grand Finale

Another installment in the series to ride every public road within Burlington's city limits in 2015.
Engine Co. #5, stationed in Burlington's South End neighborhood.
I never knew there were 324 public streets in Burlington! Well, give or take 324. This is an unofficial count after all (the city did not provide a complete list). I discovered that numerous roads were unaccounted for on the map and often streets that were indicated ended up being private roads.

Chase Street ended in a dirt parking lot with a view across the Winooski River,
border between Burlington and the city of Winooski. 
The city of Burlington claims there are 95 center-line miles of public roadways. In reality, as I pedaled every street, doubled back on dead ends, looped streets more than once to accommodate neighborhood districts, or just to reset the navigation for another day, making sure I covered every single street before moving on to another area of the city. I wouldn't be surprised that by the challenge's end, I might've covered 5 times 95 miles!

Old Chase Mill spillway, now adorned with metal sculpture. When the river is running high
the water rises to the arches.
I left the streets close to home unridden until on one of my last outings. If the weather had turned cold or rainy I knew I could manage those roads in 10 minute increments, scrambling home for shelter.

Head of Church Street, beginning of my foray onto its brick surface.
Busy two mile long Shelburne Road proved to be a tough street to complete. Normally I would ride the sidewalk or an alternate route, avoiding it altogether. However, because it was part of the challenge, I pedaled sections at a time, covering it's length in 4-5 installments.

Four block long Church Street was also an interesting accomplishment, not because of it's short length or hazardous traffic conditions but because it is mainly a pedestrian mall, thereby closed to bicycles, skateboards, and scooters. I considered skipping this short segment because of its special status, however, for brief periods every morning the brick-lined street is open to bicycles and delivery vehicles. And so on my way to work one morning I ambled down it's length, carefully riding around a few trucks parked near storefronts.

Looking south on Church Street at 7:30 am.
I started the challenge in April, claiming victory in early November, completing every street in Burlington. In some respects, the last miles felt anti-climactic. I started off this quest accompanied by family in the New North End, then gradually I was on my own with the added difficulties of hilly downtown region. I kept the miles alive by ticking off more streets in the height of foliage, rewarding myself with coffee or tea brew ups on beachfront locations, thus combining both Coffeeneuring Challenge and Burlington Streets outings on each weekend ride, which helped fulfill both missions. In the end I'm glad I stuck with my plan, documented each street by coloring in the map and listing each street name in a log book.

I give thanks to my family for riding with me in the early days of this challenge, to my husband for leading on countless zigzag journeys through the ONE district, and to all the folks who wondered why I pedaled down their dead end street and turned around with a big smile on my face. Honestly, I wasn't lost!

For a final review of all blog posts, see this list.

Completed Streets to date:
  1. Gove Court
  2. Birchcliff parkway
  3. Cherry Lane
  4. Linden Terrace
  5. Alder Lane
  6. Bittersweet Lane
  7. Beach Street
  8. Raymond Place
  9. Southmeadow Drvie
  10. Baird Street
  11. Home Avenue
  12. Scarff Avenue
  13. Morse Place
  14. Bachelder Street
  15. Lyman Avenue
  16. Ferguson Avenue
  17. Flynn Avenue
  18. Wells Street
  19. Richardson Street
  20. Foster Street
  21. South Crest Drive
  22. Biggs Court
  23. Fletcher Place
  24. Calarco Court
  25. Colchester Court
  26. Chase Lane
  27. Rumsey Lane
  28. Case Parkway
  29. University Drive
  30. Thibault Parkway
  31. Latham Court
  32. Nash Place
  33. Chase Street
  34. Grove Street
  35. Barrett Street
  36. Mill Street
  37. Church Street
  38. Shelburne Road


  1. Yay! You did it!! :) I am so glad to see you were able to stick to your goal and get through each street. Congratulations on a job well done!!

  2. Church street looks exactly like a typical European centrum, especially the ones in the Netherlands where bikes and pedestrians freely share the brick roadway. It's a shame that bicyclists are only allowed the same time as delivery vehicles-- maybe a petition to the city is in order?

  3. What a terrific project! It is wonderful to know a place so well.

  4. Congrats on finishing your challenge.


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