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The Path to Livability: A Citizen Survey of Burlington, VT Skip to content

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The Path to Livability: A Citizen Survey of Burlington, VT

In 2006 AARP Vermont launched the Burlington Livable Community Project, a collaborative approach to planning for the demands an aging population will place on Burlington as a city, its residents, and its resources while recognizing how older adults will continue to fuel economic activity far longer than past generations have.  Today AARP Vermont’s efforts for a “Livable Burlington” aim to provide direction, assess needs and resources, and develop recommendations in the areas of housing, transportation and mobility, and community engagement.  In support of this effort, in July 2015, AARP commissioned a community survey of Burlington registered voters age 45-plus to gauge their concerns and needs as they strive to stay in their homes and communities as they age.

Key findings include the following:

  • Burlington residents believe that Burlington residents age 45-plus believe their city is a good place for older adults to live (80%) and the large majority (74%) strongly agree that they want to stay in their neighborhood as they age.  Nearly half (48%) are very concerned that the cost of living will impact their ability to stay in Burlington, so it is not surprising that the majority (67%) favor a change in zoning laws that will allow moderate to low-income housing to be built in vacant areas across the city.

  • Most (83%) Burlington residents get around by driving themselves or riding with others (33%); many also walk (68%), ride a bike (41%), or use public transportation (27%).  Some Burlington residents say they would be extremely to very likely to walk (43%) or ride a bike (37%) around the city if there were better sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians and separate lanes for bicyclists.

  • Half of Burlington residents believe there are street safety issues for bicyclists (51%) while a plurality believes this to be true for people with disabilities (41%), older people (36%), children (33%), and pedestrians (27%).  Given their concern over street safety, many Burlington residents believe conditions can be improved for pedestrians and bicyclists.  The majority do not believe that Burlington has enough lanes (69%) that are separate (57%) for bicyclists.  Likewise, many do not believe that Burlington has adequate places for pedestrians to sit along sidewalks (76%) and islands that allow for safe passage across streets (47%).

The Path to Livability: A Citizen Survey of Burlington, Vermont was conducted through telephone interviews with a sample of 500 respondents ages 45 and older drawn at random from a registered voter list in Burlington, Vermont. The interviews were conducted in English by VuPoint Research from July 8th through July 17, 2015. The results from the study were weighted by age and gender to reflect the distribution of registered voters ages 45 and older living in Burlington, Vermont. For more information contact Joanne Binette at

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