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

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tonight: public meeting for new bike lanes on Washington Ave. and bike lane upgrades for Forest Ave.

Back in 2009, the city installed new bike lanes on Forest Avenue from Woodford's Corner to Morrill's Corner. At the time, they were a pretty big deal, filling in a major gap in the city's bike route network.

Unfortunately, the Forest Avenue bike lanes have never seen a lot of bike traffic. They squeeze awkwardly between a smattering of parked cars and the heavy, high-speed car traffic of Forest Avenue. This stretch of Forest is a recognized "high crash location" for motor vehicles and bikes alike. What little bike traffic there is is just as likely to be on the sidewalks – and I can hardly blame those riders from wanting to avoid the chaos on the asphalt.

Tonight, though, the city is holding a public meeting to upgrade Forest Avenue with buffered bike lanes and a center lane for turning vehicles both north and south of Baxter Woods Park (in front of Baxter Woods, the existing configuration will remain). The proposal would remove two lanes of on-street parking spaces, but those spaces are almost never used, so it shouldn't be very controversial. Still, a strong show of support from advocates will be a big help.

The city is also proposing a project to replace little-used on-street parking with new buffered bike lanes on Washington Avenue from Ocean Ave. (where there's an existing bike lane) to Presumpscot Street, a few blocks short of the Tukey's Bridge bike path:

You can find out more about that project here.

Here are the details about tonight's public meeting:

Where: Ocean Ave Elementary School Library
When: Tuesday 4/12 from 6:00- 8:00pm

- Forest Ave will be discussed from 6:00-7:00 pm
- Washington Ave will follow from 7:00-8:00 pm

If you can't make it in person, email comments to Kristine Keeney (the city's bike/pedestrian coordinator) and Councilor Justin Costa (who represents East Deering).