My parents took me out to eat for my 58th birthday to the Dim Sum Cafe on St. Paul St. The food was fabulous, but there was no parking available nearby for my 80 year old dad who has a hard time walking. Eventually we found parking but had to walk by trash and hypodermic needles on our way to the car.
My husband and I wanted to go back to eat there again a few weeks later, but we had bikes on the back of our car and were worried they might get stolen. And then, wouldn't you know, there was a shooting in the afternoon on the very same day on St. Paul St. We were relieved we didn't go back to a place near a shooting.
There are too many other nice places in Vermont to go and I don't have to feel like I am putting my life in jeopardy. Burlington is in a sad state.
I’d definitely go eat on Church street more if the bus ran more frequently and comprehensively. On weekends I have to plan around hour headways and the nearest stop is still a half mile from my house. And then if I want to stay out late I can’t take the bus back. The bikeshare is a good option to get home if I need to, but they’re sadly a bit too expensive for regular use.
Other than that I just think a lot of the retail on Church street is luxury clothing or random goods that most people in Burlington can’t afford. Maybe they’d be more successful if rents came down and more affordable shops moved in. Because of high interest rates, it’s tough to start a business right now, and the housing shortage squeezes the labor market. The entire economic environment in Vermont is poor. It will be almost impossible for the city to change that in the near term through any policymaking.
I’ve always been proud of the fact that Church St and downtown BTV offer products and services for the locals as well as for visitors. I honestly don’t understand people complaining about parking when there are 3 parking garages within 4 blocks of Church Street and they’re never full at the same time. Plus, the waterfront has ample surface parking if that’s your destination. The fact that traffic is sometimes congested in downtown tells me that BTV is still a place people live and work and shop and study, so I can’t help but take those complaints with a hefty grain of salt. I live in the South End and drive a car sometimes, but mostly I walk and bike. The vast majority of my consumer spending happens locally because even in the internet age, it’s honestly more convenient for me to go to a store to try on clothes or to get fresh food than it is to gamble on the internet or deal with the Costco parking lot mishegas.
I understand why some people are concerned about crime and homelessness in BTV. Both are far more prevalent and visible than in the past, and it would be glib to deny that. Litter and public intoxication are unwelcoming sights on city streets, both for visitors as well as for locals. However, while these issues are certainly worth addressing, I think many people mistakenly treat them as the primary issue and try to solve them without addressing the underlying causes. Those underlying issues are, of course, the crisis of affordability in housing and food, and our state’s inability to treat people with addiction and mental illness. People suffering the worst deprivations of poverty and institutional neglect will inevitably end up on the street, where they have little chance at helping themselves and of course will never have the money to patronize local businesses. If small business owners truly want to see meaningful change in VT’s economic and social conditions, they will be in Montpelier this winter advocating for Medicare for All, more treatment facilities for addiction, and more shelters and affordable housing for people without a home to call their own. Forget about the person who lives in Starksboro and only comes to Burlington three times a year- what you need to be concerned with are the many, many Chittenden County residents who would like to be in your shops more often but who are increasingly forced out of the area due to its high cost of living.
I like the fact that I can bike to downtown easily on the bike path, and that there is generally bike parking available to do my shopping. While there are more visible drug users, and homeless than there were when I first moved here, I have never felt unsafe on church street.
I do think the structured parking could use a bit more monitoring.
Local consumers have much better choices than to shop in the new BTV.
The same is true for Local business owners, Everyone knows the two go hand in hand and both groups are leaving in droves. Anyone that can is or is thinking about it. There is no good for the BTV population without a strong economic base.
The sad truth is that BTV is rapidly falling from local and national grace it once enjoyed when it had more conservative values. A time when there was a sympathy for those less fortunate, jobs for those willing to sacrifice and put in a hard days work. A time when crimes were punished and criminals found no refuge as they do today.
It's over Burlington, you're progressing on a path to hell.
It makes me very sad to see what has happened to downtown Burlington. I have lived here for over 40 years and always felt proud of downtown. I enjoyed taking visitors there to walk on Church Street and eat in the restaurants. Sadly, I wouldn't do that now because it doesn't feel safe and it is hard to find parking and the public transportation is expensive and inconvenient. I feel our city and state government have not done what is needed to address the many social and environmental issues that face Vermont's largest city. It isn't simple, and requires a multi-faceted approach. I don't get the feeling that is happening.
I've lived in BTV for 40 years and always shop downtown when I know I can find what I'm looking for at a reasonable price. I have long bemoaned the fact that rents on and around Church St. escalated beyond what regular shop owners can afford, yet many have survived. When the national chains came, many local business owners could no longer afford rents. Fortunately, there's been a bit of a resurgence with ACE Hardware back downtown, and long-loved businesses like Phoenix Books, Leunigs, Stone Soup, Computers for Change, Kiss the Cook, and Homeport holding their own. I know people hear about crime increases in BTV, and it's true that there are more violent crimes, but the data will show that these crimes happen among people who know each other and are not random. The most difficult part of shopping on Church St. now is seeing the consequences of societal decay and late-stage capitalism from the accumulation and concentration of wealth that's occurred since Reagan, when tax rates on unearned wealth fell from 35% under Nixon to 22% under Trump. Our society no longer has tax revenue to create a safety net and now we see the after-effects on the people who society has thrown away, like litter, onto Church St.
Why would i shop in Burlington with a shortage of parking and high crime. Burlington is on its way to join other Democratic woke cities like Chicago, LA, SF, and NYC. The decision to become a Sanctuary comes with consequences! Restaurants are being to leave as well.
The increasing crime in Burlington is so scary that I have no interest in going there. In fact, my organization was looking at setting our annual meeting there and we are now contemplating going someplace else. Fix the crime, fix the homelessness, support the police!!