Letter to the editor: Deadly stretch of Rt. 125 needs big safety upgrades

Route 125 from Middlebury until its intersection with Route 17 is approximately 20 miles long. It is one of the routes used for the annual Kelly Brush ride. It is an essential route for employees who live in New York and work in the Middlebury area. It is also one of the scariest routes to use if you’re walking or biking because there is no room for error.
On multiple occasions I have crested one of the two knolls that are between Cider Mill Road and the Middlebury College campus only to find a pedestrian walking in the direction of traffic wearing headphones just as it’s getting dark, or cyclists riding two and three abreast covering the east- or west-bound lane of motor traffic. I want to live in an area that encourages people to bike to work or take a walk during a lunch break. I also want it to be safe so if I crest a knoll at those points I won’t inadvertently hit someone because a drifting car is in my lane.
Depending on which estimate you pull up on Google, widening a road to include bike and pedestrian traffic heading east and west can cost between $500,000 to $1,250,000 per mile. I am hoping this letter can spawn a conversation that includes the DMV, Middlebury College and private businesses that benefit from any of the traffic that commutes along this roadway so financial resources can be pooled to make it safer on the stretch of road between the college and Lemon Fair Road, widening it enough to provide a safer place for cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles to coexist. Ideally, it would be terrific if the entire stretch of road between the college and Route 17 is widened to make it possible for cyclists and cars to travel more safely simultaneously.
Vermont and its citizens are strongest when people come together to fix things that make it better for everyone. How can we make this better, sooner?
Hannah Deming

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