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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TONIGHT: Portland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee at City Hall

October's monthly bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee meeting has been rescheduled to Wednesday this week, due to the holiday on Monday. We'll meet at 5:30 pm, in Room 24 (in the basement level at the eastern end of the building) of Portland's City Hall.

At our last meeting, members voted to choose 4 top priorities we'd like to advance through the local and regional planning process over the next two years. Those priorities are:
  • Reconfiguring the Exit 6/Forest Avenue interchange to make it more pedestrian and cycle-friendly. The current cloverleaf interchange swallows up over 6 acres of valuable real estate and clumsily cuts off access from major pedestrian destinations like the USM campus, Deering Oaks Park, Bayside, and the Hannaford grocery store. It is a high-crash location for automobiles. It's dangerous for everyone and a waste of space, and it's time we made plans to fix it.

  • Bike Boulevard pilot project. Bike boulevards are low-traffic neighborhood streets that include traffic calming elements and other features to make them extra-convenient routes for bikes and pedestrians. We'd like to establish a pilot Bike Boulevard somewhere in Portland, and have it serve as a model for other routes connecting throughout the region.

  • Bayside Trail/Preble/Elm area of Bayside: Even though this neighborhood has seen increasing amounts of investment and new development, the streets are still relics of the days when this neighborhood was an industrial backwater. There are large gaps in the sidewalk network, one-way streets that are wider and faster than they need to be, and numerous blockages to handicap accessibility. Future development offers the opportunity for the city to make the neighborhood's streets much better.

  • "Bikes May Use Full Lane" signs. Many of Portland's larger streets, like Congress Street and inner Washington Avenue, don't have enough space for bike lanes, but they're still important connecting routes for bike commuters. New signs would educate motorists and cyclists alike that bicycles are allowed to use the full lane, instead of squeezing themselves into the gutter.
Do any of these ideas sound appealing to you? At this month's meeting, we'll discuss our strategy and convene small working groups of people who are ready and able to seize these ideas, move them through city and state approval and funding processes, and make them a reality.

Join us TONIGHT at 5:30 pm, in Room 24 (in the basement level at the eastern end of the building) of Portland's City Hall.

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