Pedestrian Safety in Waitsfield

Last updated: 10/7/21

The Town of Waitsfield prioritizes the need to provide safe corridors for pedestrian transportation throughout town, including along the Route 100 corridor.  In light of recent tragic events there has been a renewed call to continue improving safety features along this important travel route through town, especially in the vicinity of Waitsfield Village and Irasville.  In response, the Town of Waitsfield and the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) have been working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) to address immediate actions that can be taken at critical crossing points along Route 100 and to map out a process for longer term planning and coordination along this corridor.  Route 100 is a state highway that is owned and managed by VTrans.  As such, any improvements along Route 100 require approval by and coordination with VTrans. A team composed of Waitsfield and MRVPD staff have been assigned to work directly with VTrans to map these critical areas and develop a plan for additional safety solutions.  Through this work over the past months, VTrans has identified their typical approach to dealing with pedestrian visibility issues at crosswalks.  VTrans typically recommends a phased approach, using the following treatments in this order:

  1. Begin with an in-street sign at the crosswalk
  2. Next, the Town can submit a work order to VTrans to install a “gate post sign” at a crosswalk (“gatepost signs” are double faced signs that get placed on each side of a crosswalk)
  3. Gatepost signs can be striped with high visibility tape if additional safety measures are needed
  4. RRFBs are typically considered after these other treatments have been applied.

The following plan has been identified by the Tiger Team and is in progress:

  1. VTrans approved the “In-Road Signage Pilot Program,” with support from MRVPD and Local Motion, in-street signs were lent to the Town for a one-month trial program at high trafficked Route 100 crosswalks.  This program was paired with a community feedback form (with support from MRPVD) to evaluate pedestrian feedback at these crosswalk locations. A final report summarizing the results of this program can be found here.
  2. A work order has been submitted to VTrans for a gatepost sign at Carroll Road
  3. VTrans will work to prioritize painting the Route 100 crosswalks as a result of the successful collaboration between these two groups
  4. VTrans is planning a speed study of the Route 100 corridor through the Village this summer which will help inform future planning
  5. VTrans is open to continue discussing the best location for an RRFB at a crosswalk in town but does not have guidance at this time as to which location is best suited for this treatment. Town and MRVPD will review the results of the preliminary community survey and determine if another public safety survey combined with some simple data collection (counts of users at crosswalks during peak summer use) can help inform this decision.
  6. The group will check-in again in October 2021 to evaluate which treatments may or may not be working and continue to plan next steps at the identified locations in town.

Additionally, a significant number of pedestrian safety improvements will be implemented with the construction of the Village West Sidewalk. The project was completed in the summer of 2021 and adds a number of previously identified safety elements (bump-outs, additional crosswalks, signage, and better-defined crossings) to the Waitsfield Village portion of the Main Street/Route 100 corridor. 

Town staff are available to help answer any questions or address any concerns that the public might have related to pedestrian safety in town or the strategies identified above.  Please contact us at any time with questions, concerns, or to receive updates about this project at:

Annie Decker-Dell’Isola, Town Administrator at 802-496-2218 ext. 5 or via email at  [email protected]

Mud Season FAQs

Each spring, with the advent of mud season, the Town publishes the following set of, “frequently asked questions.”

“The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut’s now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.”

– from Robert Frost’s, “Two Tramps in Mud Time”

What is mud season?
Vermont’s unofficial “fifth season,” mud season occurs during the transition from winter to
spring, when the many miles of dirt roads in Vermont become muddy, rutted, and occasionally
impassable. In Waitsfield, nearly two-thirds of the road miles are unpaved.

Why does mud season happen?
Excess water produced by melting snow and ice does not have anywhere to go (the ground may
still be frozen, for example, preventing absorption). With nowhere to go, that excess water mixes
with the road materials to make mud.

What, if anything, can be done about mud season?
Unfortunately, not much. Adding more material to roads would simply make more mud.
Improvements to subsurface materials and drainage infrastructure can help by preventing water
from reaching the road surface, but can be costly to install and would not eliminate mud.
The Road Department works hard to keep roads passable for emergency vehicles and other
traffic. Please be patient, plan ahead, and exercise caution. The Town will do what it can to keep
roads open, but may not be able to in all cases. For better or worse, mud season is a part of life in
Vermont – thankfully this unofficial fifth season is also the shortest.

If I have a question or concern, whom should I contact?
To report an issue, please contact Road Foreman Rodney Jones at (802) 496-8897, or email
[email protected] (through April 9th).