For a few months now, Pam Scanlon and Michael Niederer have been pouring money and effort into revamping the former Doughboy’s Bakery & Coffee Shop space at 85 Pearl Street in Burlington for their new eatery, Pearl Street Diner.
So Scanlon was pretty surprised when she saw that address on a list of potential locations for a new Burlington transit center. “We have a 10-year lease on the property,” she marvels. “My main concern is that I don’t want people to have the impression that we’re not serious about having this [diner],” adds Scanlon, who already runs Radio Deli next door with her partner.
Scanlon calls it “surreal” that the site ended up on the list of potential bus stations without prior consent from her. She says she asked to have the site removed from the list, but was told at a public hearing last week that the process wasn’t that simple. “Whoever put us on this list is impeding our ability to open a local business employing local people. Stop it now. We are not interested,” Scanlon wrote last week on Radio Deli’s blog.
The city of Burlington assembled its first list of potential sites to replace the outdoor transit hub on Cherry Street a few years ago. The Chittenden County Transportation Authority added potential new sites after a downtown walking tour, says CCTA assistant manager Aaron Frank, who now heads the project. Because two-thirds of the bus system’s ridership begins or ends its trip in congested downtown Burlington, CCTA officials used a “broad brush” to choose potential sites, according to Frank. Those sites can be removed only by CCTA — not by request — as the project moves through the process.
As for the Pearl Street Diner, Scanlon hopes it will be open some time this winter. “There’s so much excitement in the neighborhood for this,” she says. “When people found out we were on the list, they came in and told us, ‘We’ll sign a petition.’”