[Talk-us] Burlington, Vermont road classification

Andrew Guertin andrew.guertin at uvm.edu
Fri Oct 19 18:22:00 BST 2012

On 10/19/2012 07:55 AM, Greg Troxel wrote:
>> Primary highways generally lack stop signs; however, stop signs may
>> control major intersections in rural areas with low traffic volumes
>> and occur rarely elsewhere.
>> The most notable example of this is North Willard Street[2]. It is 
>> part of US Route 7, but as can be seen with Bing Imagery, it is 
>> narrow, made narrower by street parking on both sides, and is 
>> controlled by stop signs. Similarly, Main Street is part of US 
>> Route 2, but has many lights, and does not even satisfy the "near 
>> the highest speed generally allowed on surface streets" note about 
>> secondary streets.
> My take from dealing with this (around Mass):
> If it's a US highway, then it's highway=primary, period.  A US 
> highway is important simply by virtue of being designated US 
> highway.

Good to hear. Which area of Massachusetts is this from? My experience
with driving there is mostly on 93 and 2 and in Boston, so I don't
really have a good handle on what a US highway "feels" like there.

> Note that speed limits etc. should be tagged, so routing is not just
>  on classification.

A good reminder, yes. I should add this to my plans.

> But I don't know anywhere where a US highway is not important in 
> terms of cultural/transportation geography, even if it isn't the 
> first choice for long-distance travel. [...]

> An example in vermont that's kind of iffy is 100.  I see parts of it
>  are primary, and parts of it secondary.  As a non-local who's driven
>  it only a few times I have no basis for questioning local judgement.
>  But I would tend to think that 100 is more important than most other
>  NS roads that aren't US5 and US7. But, the other state roads that
> 100 are more important than should be secondary, so it's really in 
> between primary and secondary and thus a tough call.

I'm not actually too familiar with 100--I don't know that I've actually
ever been on it myself. VPR had a long repeated segment on it recently,
where a pair of commentators traveled its length and talked about one
town each week. My impression is that it has cultural significance, but
that for going from the bottom of the state to the top, most people
would find their way 7 or 91/89 first.

> US7 should really be primary.  Even if it's slow in cities, it's the 
> main road where it goes (I89 aside, and generally the 'is it primary'
> test discounts interstates).  I am assuming that if you are in
> Shelburne and going to Colchester (and we stipulate that interstates
> are unusable), you'd drive on 7, including North Willard street.  Or
> at least someone not really familiar with the area would. Is that off
> base?

I can't really speak for what someone unfamiliar with the area would do,
but I have made that trip many many times, and there are many different
ways, each approximately equally good:
* 7 the whole way
* 7 -> Colchester Ave
* 7 -> Cliff -> Prospect -> Colchester
* 7 ->-> Union -> Winooski -> 7
* (if starting farther south) Spear -> East -> Colchester
* 7 -> 189 -> 89
* 7 ->-> Pine ->-> Battery -> Pearl/Colchester
* ...

Of these, I see most people take the interstate, followed by 7 ->
Colchester Ave, with Spear Street being a popular choice for a calmer,
lower-traffic drive. Staying on 7 is probably more common than the
weirder routes involving Cliff or Pine, but it wouldn't get you there
significantly faster than them (or slower than the more popular ones).

I took a look at traffic numbers from

The traffic on various parts of North Willard Street ranges from ~7000
cars/day in some areas to only 2900 for "US 7 North of North St."
Meanwhile, both Colchester Ave and Riverside Ave are usually ~15000 and
never below 10000.

I'm not really sure how to interpret this.


More information about the Talk-us mailing list