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

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New bike paths, traffic calming in the East End

The city is finally building long-planned access improvements from the East End to Tukey's Bridge (in order to fix some of the problems I blogged about six years ago). I was walking in the area this afternoon and, even under construction, they're already doing a great job of slowing down traffic that comes into town off of the freeway:

The project is tightening up the wide intersection of the Eastern Prom Road with Washington Avenue (at left) and adding a landscaped median where pedestrians can wait. Cars are already driving through the area much more slowly than they used to.

This view, looking north on Washington towards the bridge, shows how much wider the new bike/ped path (the dirt area) will be compared with the current sidewalk (still visible in the foreground), and how much shorter the crossing distance is on the new crossing of Washington:

 The path shown above extends all the way to the Tukey's Bridge ramp, where another new bike path will connect down the hill to the left to join up with Anderson Street and the Bayside Trail.

Kudos to the city's bike/ped committee, PACTS, and the City of Portland for making this happen!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Tonight: final public meeting for Libbytown freeway ramp removals

Tonight at the Clarion Hotel near the Portland Transportation Center (on bus line 5) from 6:30 to 8:30 pm will be the final public meeting of the "Libbytown Circulation Study," which I'd written about previously here.

This will be the final meeting before the consultants present their recommendations to the City Council for endorsement. Word has it that they'll propose removing most of the connecting on- and off-ramps to Park and Congress Streets (shown in red below), except for the northbound on-ramp from Park Ave. This would open up acres of land for transit-oriented redevelopment.

Other positive elements of the plan would add sidewalks on both sides of Fore River Parkway to the bus station, shrinking the intersection of Fore River Pkwy. and Congress Street, new traffic calming, improved sidewalks, and landscaping elements on Congress and Park, and new, high-comfort bikeways that would connect the bus and train station to Deering Oaks Park and the Bayside Trail.

The public will have additional opportunities to weigh in on the plan when it goes to City Hall, but if you've got a free evening, consider coming down to Libbytown tonight to see what's in the works and express your support for a significant pruning of freeway infrastructure.