Update: The League of Young Voters has sent out an action alert, asking members to call Governor Baldacci (287-3531) and hold his administration's highway planners accountable (a sample call script is below)
"Doesn't the Gov. want to promote energy independence? Blocking willing pedestrians with chain link fences and threatening their safety with unmarked street crossings next to the Park and Ride lot is not the way we would suggest promoting efficiency."
Last month, the Portland City Council passed a resolution calling for the Maine DOT to include basic pedestrian safety facilities when it widened Exit 7 at the junction of Franklin Street and Marginal Way. Exit 7, you may recall, is a long-planned trail connection between Bayside and Back Cove under I-296, the state-owned traffic sewer that monopolizes valuable waterfront real estate.
"We are integrating the needs of bicyclists in federally-funded road projects. We are discouraging transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians. And we are encouraging investments that go beyond the minimum requirements and provide facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. [source]
Here's a sample call script, written by local activist Steve Scharf:
Hello my name is ________ and I am calling about MDOT's plans for the I-295 Exit 7 in Portland project. I am appalled that after the public and the City of Portland has made it clear that they want a fully functioning, well-lit, 10' wide trail connection with crosswalks, that the bid is going out with no crosswalks and two chain link fences to block access between Back Cove and Marginal Way.
Please pull this bid document back and add the requirements to make this a fully usable trail connection in the city of Portland.
Again my name is _______________________, my phone is ____________ and my email is ___________. Thank you for taking my concerns into consideration.