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

Monday, July 12, 2010

Help Set Portland's Agenda for Better Cycling and Walking

The City of Portland's new Bicycle and Pedestrian coordinator, Bruce Hyman, will be joining the Portland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee tonight for our monthly meeting tonight at 5:30 pm.

While we have him, I'm hoping we'll get an insight into what the City is working now, and bend his ear about what we'd like to focus on in the future. And it will also be a good time for our group to broadly review our top priorities and strategies - something we did last in 2008, when we met with Public Works to prioritize our "most-wanted" infrastructure projects.

I don't typically blog about bike/ped meetings here, although everyone is always welcome. But it would be especially useful for the group to hear from a broad range of voices tonight, as we set our agenda for the next year. We'll brainstorm our top priorities for City policy and for infrastructure improvements. Then, we'll vote as a group as to which initiatives and projects we'd like to focus on and implement in the next year. I hope you can make it - and if you can't, feel free to share ideas and priorities in the comments or by email.

Portland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
5:30 pm, Room 209 of City Hall

Back in 2006 and 2008, the Committee held two other priorities-setting strategy sessions. Here's what we wanted to work on back then:

From 2006:
  1. lobby for policy change, incorporate bike/ped facilities into site plan standards [in progress: we've already added bike parking requirements, and reduced car parking requirements, to the city's rules for new development]
  2. restructure metro board [not sure if this has been done]
  3. bike/ped members on city committiees such as transporation, planning [accomplished with the election of two former committee members to City Council]
  4. formalize connection with outside groups [our collaborations with other groups aren't "formalized," but they are robust]
  5. power with city or away from city & budget [we've determined that we're better off as an independent, ad-hoc group associated with the city]
  6. staff person/time for bike/ped at city [accomplished: grant-funded position for Bruce Hyman as City Bike/Ped Coordinator]
  7. ADA sidewalk compliance [in progress: the city is making focused investments on filling in gaps in the city's sidewalk network]
And our top infrastructure priorities, from 2008:
  1. Peninsula Sidewalks should meet ADA standards like curb cuts, improved sidewalks, filling gaps, inventory [inventory completed in 2008, and improvements are in progress: the city is making focused investments on filling in gaps in the city's sidewalk network]
  2. Implementing Franklin Street Plan [in progress: preliminary engineering for the project could begin this summer]
  3. Tukey's Bridge: access & capacity for bikes [in progress: a plan has been completed for improved access, and construction of some improvements is expected later this summer]
  4. Connecting north end of Franklin St. w/ Back Cove Trail [killed by Maine DOT].
  5. Exit 5 improved trail & transit connections [slow progress: new Sewall Street sidewalk completed this spring].
Even though infrastructure projects are inherently slow-moving, it's pretty satisfying to see how much we've accomplished in the past few years. Let's keep it up!

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