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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Exit 7 Connection Finally Coming (Albeit Overpriced and Late)

After a long, drawn-out process of "analysis" (read: inflating costs far beyond necessary) the Maine DOT is finally preparing to install a basic sidewalk on Franklin Street under Exit 7 to connect the Back Cove Trail to Marginal Way, after failing to do so last summer when construction crews were rebuilding the intersection anyhow.

It's going to cost taxpayers $200,000. Now, I'm pretty sure a single Eagle Scout could have done it for less, but at least it's getting done.

If you have any interest, Augusta's bureaucrats are hosting a public meeting about the project tomorrow at City Hall:

Public Meeting to Discuss Much Anticipated Trail Connector
City and state officials invite public to view plans for Bayside-Back Cove connection

Tomorrow, the City of Portland, Maine Department of Transportation and Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) will host a public meeting to discuss plans to construct a trail connector from the Franklin Street-Marginal Way intersection to the Back Cove Trail. The connector will help fully realize the vision for the Bayside Trail as a key link connecting the city's most used trails and parks: the Back Cove Trail, the Eastern Promenade and Eastern Prom Trail, East End Beach, and Deering Oaks. The connector will also provide easy and safe access for cyclists and pedestrians looking to travel from Portland’s downtown to communities off-peninsula.

“Linking these popular trails with a safe and accessible connector is going to have a tremendously positive impact both on the Bayside neighborhood but also for those who commute to the downtown by bike or foot,” stated Director of Public Services Michael Bobinsky. “The success of this project is directly related to the willingness of all parties, from MDOT to the city and PACTS to the public, to collaborate and work towards a common goal – make the city accessible to all modes of transportation.”

The public is encouraged to attend the meeting to learn firsthand of the preliminary plans for the proposed ten foot wide, asphalt and stone dust bike/pedestrian trail, ask questions, and provide feedback to the design. The $195,000 trail connector, funded by the Maine Department of Transportation with a 20% local match provided by the City of Portland, is expected to be constructed this fall. Plans for the trail connector will also be available for review at Portland Public Services, 55 Portland Street.

When: Wednesday, August 3, 2011, 6:00 PM

Where: Merrill Auditorium Rehearsal Hall, Myrtle Street, Portland

1 comment:

Bob O'Brien said...

Sorry I missed this meeting. This is a step in the right direction, but unless I'm missing something, there will still be no safe way to easily cross Franklin on the Back Cove Trail.

It's dangerous for the trail to dead-end at Franklin, where there's no crosswalk, walk light, or pedestrian push button. Bikes are similarly thrown into that intersection with no clear way to cross the street.

I hope that the DOT improvements addressed this, and that I'm just missing it.