A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New stuff on the streets

The summer construction season got off to an exceptionally late start this summer due to the long rains of June. But the work is finally finished, and Portlanders can now enjoy a number of improvements in the city's pedestrian and bike networks.

For cyclists: this fall brought some major additions to Portland's network of on-street bike lanes and routes. The city painted new lanes on Deering Avenue from Park to Woodford's Corner, on Forest Avenue between Woodfords and Morrill's Corner, and on Ocean Avenue, between Forest and Washington.

Above: the new Deering Ave. bike lane. Below, the Ocean Ave. bike lanes.

There are now bike lanes radiating in three directions from Woodford's Corner, and the complete Forest Avenue bike route stretches 5 miles from downtown Portland to Westbrook. The separated bike lanes merge with traffic lanes at Woodfords and Morrill's Corners, though, due to lack of road width. Luckily, traffic is already moving fairly slowly through those areas, and these new "sharrow" markers alert motorists that bikes are going to be in the lane:

This fall, the City also installed dozens of new bike hitches in front of neighborhood businesses all over the city. I noticed them first at Woodford's Corner, where bike parking had long been a struggle - but not anymore.

I've updated the new bike lanes in the Portland bike map in the sidebar to show the new routes.

For walkers: the past year witnessed a pair of very convenient new trails open up in the East End, under the sponsorship of Portland Trails. On July 1, Portland Trails opened a new stone staircase that descends from Fort Allen Park down to the waterfront East End Trail, near the Portland Company (photos from the opening). And last November, PT opened a similar stone stairway that effectively connects Marion Street, off of Washington Avenue, to Fort Sumner Park off of North Street.

Another long-awaited trail - the Bayside Promenade between Tukey's Bridge and Elm/Preble near the old Wild Oats Market - also went under construction this fall. It won't be finished until after the winter is over, but in the meantime, the trail's path has been cleared and graded, which makes it a pleasant and interesting walking path.

1 comment:

Turboglacier said...

And don't forget to mention: new two-wheeled-vehicle parking all over downtown!