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

Monday, June 2, 2014

The new Martin's Point Bridge — open to (nonmotorized) traffic

As of this evening the new Martin's Point Bridge sidewalk — a wide multi-use path designed to be shared by bikes and pedestrians — is open to non-motorized traffic between Portland and Falmouth. I took a ride out there this afternoon after work and it's pretty nice, even though it's still very much in the middle of a heavy construction site.

Some notes:

  • Though it's a nice path to ride on, getting there from either side is still kind of a challenge — you'll need to thread your way through a lot of construction traffic and ride over some sandy, unpaved sections where the sidewalk hasn't been built yet.
  • In addition to this path on the east side of the bridge, the finished product will also include a (narrower) sidewalk on the west side plus on-street bike lanes. Like the approaches, though, all that stuff is also under construction.  
  • The project is also building out a sidewalk connection from the bridge to the Martin's Point Healthcare campus, and last summer, the town of Falmouth constructed a sidewalk and installed some additional traffic calming along Route 1 between the bridge and Route 88. That means it's now possible for the first time in decades — maybe ever? — to walk on sidewalks from Falmouth's town center to downtown Portland.  
  • Whereas the old bridge featured a fairly steep incline where it hit land in Portland, the new one rises gradually along its entire length, which is nice.
  • The old bridge had four lanes for cars and an unlit, dingy sidewalk for everyone else. This new bridge is just as wide, but with only two lanes for cars there's much more room for non-motorized transportation — and officials expect maintenance costs to be significantly lower as well. 

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