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Transportation News & Opportunities – Dec, Jan

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Portland Green Streets Calendar

As always, please check out the Portland Green Streets Calendar for exciting upcoming transportation-related events in Greater Portland.

General/Funding Related:

Go Maine’s Commuter Champion Award – Nominate Yourself or Someone You Know!

GO MAINE has started a new Commuter Champion Award  to recognize individuals in Maine who model smart commuting choices. Every month a new Commuter Champion will be chosen from peer nominations and honored with a $50 gift card.  The nominator will also receive a $50 gift card.  We’ll feature the Commuter Champion in a story on the GO MAINE website, in the GO MAINE Newsletter, and on the GO MAINE Facebook page.  We’d like people to nominate their friends, family, or co-workers that they believe are great commuters.  We want to recognize and honor the folks that go the distance and make commuting fun and enjoyable. If you know someone who deserves to be a Commuter Champion, nominate them today!  Send nominations to gomaine@gpcog.org

Donate to the Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) and Get Involved!

The Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) has been working hard in 2010  to make sure that all Mainers have access to affordable, reliable and sustainable transportation options.  As 2010 is winding down, and we look forward to 2011, we want to make sure the League of Young Voters and MaST remain at the forefront of expanding public transit across the state of Maine, and that Portland and other towns can have affordable, sustainable and accessible transportation options for all our residents. That’s why MaST needs to ask for your help today.

MaST is hoping to raise $1,000 dollars in support of its transportation work between now and Jan 1st. You can help by making a donation of $25, $50, or whatever you can. Please take a minute and donate here: action.theleague.com/donate-me Can’t make a donation this month? That’s cool, we’d love your time, too. Just shoot Hilary Frenkel, MaST organizer, an email and she’ll get you signed up to help.

Bicycle-Pedestrian Related

Bring Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Education to Your Local School

Please encourage your local school(s) to arrange for a free presentation on bicycle and pedestrian safety by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.  The Coalition’s trained instructors will teach students the basics of commuting to school safely by bike and foot.  For more information, please contact Jim Tasse, the coalition’s education director.

Bike-Savvy Volunteer Needed in Springvale

A bike-savvy person is needed to volunteer in the after-school program at the Nasson Community Bicycle Center in Springvale.  The volunteer would spend two days per week  helping students with bike maintenance, trip planning, art projects, bike rides and the like. For information, contact Maryalice Walker.

Go for Walk Friendly Community Designation in Your Community!

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has officially launched Walk Friendly Communities (WFC), a national recognition program to encourage towns and cities across the United States to establish or recommit to a high priority for safe walking. Assessing communities’ commitment to improve conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort, PBIC will recognize communities that set the bar in fostering and accommodating walking. In August, the WFC program accepted nine communities to test the pilot application and the online assessment tool. The program began accepting applications nationwide in November 2010.

At the core of the WFC program is a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. The assessment tool questions are intended to both evaluate conditions for walking and provide communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity. Communities that are interested in the WFC program are encouraged to visit www.walkfriendly.org to download a print version of the assessment tool.

Bike Commuter Education Program on the Move

The Bike Commuter Education Program, a joint effort of GO MAINE, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and MaineDOT, is off and running. Or should we say off and riding? And they can come to your workplace too.

The new bike commuter program is designed to assist businesses that want to promote cycling within their organization and help the cyclists who want to commute by bike, and it’s all FREE.

To support businesses, the program offers guidance on creating a bicycle friendly culture in an organization, understanding the needs of a cyclist who rides to and from work, and outlining what facilities a cyclist would typically want at the workplace. While having all the facilities like showers and lockers is nice, it’s not a deal breaker. When an organization understands the cyclist’s perspective, many different options are possible. This program offers that type of guidance to businesses.

To support the cyclist, the program offers on-site training seminars by qualified cycling instructors. These sessions are adapted to the time available to employees during the day or scheduled after hours, at the business’ and employees’ convenience. Through these, existing or would-be cyclists can learn the realities of cycling to and from work and the hard skills that go with it. Topics include setting realistic goals, managing a work out on your way to work, bikes and other equipment, riding techniques, route selection, night riding, and general traffic safety. These classes are taught by instructors who speak from experience and are trained in safe cycling practices. Classes are for novice to intermediate cyclists of all ages.

For more information about the program and to schedule a visit to your place of business, please contact Erik West at ewest@gpcog.org or at 207-774-9891.

Public Transit Related

METRO Route & Service Updates

Specific service changes planned for January- effective January 9th – are listed below:

  • Route #2
    • No service to Pride and East Bridge Streets and Millbrook Estates:
      Mon.- Fri.: 8:05 & 10:05 a.m./4:25 & 5:45 p.m. Sat.: 9:40 & 11:40 a.m./2:40 & 7:45 p.m.
  • Route #4
    • Saco Street service expanded to include additional service to Eisenhower Drive into the Five Star Industrial Park and IDEXX.
    • Service to Route #25, New Gorham Rd. and Longfellow Street will be discontinued.
    • No Mon. – Fri. service via Forest/Woodfords. Weekend service will remain the same (except no service to Juniper Lane).
    • Mon-Fri. trips to 6:55 p.m. will service Shaw’s inbound and outbound.
  • Route #6
    • No service to Falmouth Crossing at: Mon.-Fri.: 9:10 & 11:10 a.m./2:45 & 4:45 p.m.
    • Falmouth Crossing service by request after 6:45 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays.
  • Route maps and schedules are online at www.gpmetrobus.com. Updated Regional Transit Guides, with January service change information, will be available late December/early January on METRO buses, the METRO Pulse at Elm Street in Portland, the METRO office at 114 Valley St. in Portland and several convenient locations along bus routes.
  • Beginning Monday, November 1, 2010 METRO Lunch Hop was discontinued. METRO’s Lunch Hop had previously provided free daily bus rides from  11 a.m. to 2 p.m. between Longfellow Square and Exchange Street in Portland.
  • School Discount Program Additions: METRO welcomes Cheverus and St. Brigid Schools to our student discount program. These schools join Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth Waynflete, Cathedral, Cheverus and Friends Schools in offering METRO Student Fare Cards to their students for reduced bus fare. These cards can also be used for school field trips. For additional information on routes and student discounts, visit us online at www.gpmetrobus.com, call 774-0351 or contact us via e-mail.

Adopt-a-Stop!

We all know about the problem of poor access to many bus stops during the winter.  Robert Wagner, a long-time advocate for transportation improvements, is the volunteer coordinator for an effort to organize volunteers to agree to keep specific bus stop locations in Portland and South Portland clear of snow, etc., for a period of a year. He hasn’t had many takers so far, but this sure sounds like a way for us to help where no one else is dealing with the problem. Check the website: www.Adopt-A-Stop.org or call him at (207) 408-4404.

Check out the New Brunswick Explorer Bus

We’re excited about this new transportation option in Brunswick! Buses run hourly from 7:30am to 5:30 pm, Monday-Friday, from Mallard Pond passing Parkview, Bowdoin, and Hannaford and ending at Sweetser. $1 buys a one-way fare, or ride all day for only $2. Buses feature low-floor easy boarding, bike racks, and hybrid-electric design to decrease emissions. More info at www.brunswickexplorer.org.

Live in the midcoast? Check out the midcoast ride finder website to search for public transportation options, including rail, bus, and ferry.

Become of Fan of the Falmouth Flyer

For info and fun updates on METRO’s #7 bus, also known as the Falmouth Flyer, check out the “Friends of Falmouth Flyer Bus” Facebook page or contact Annie Finch: 781-8079 afinch@usm.maine.edu And be sure to post about your own rides!  Often at risk of being cut as a service route, this is an easy way you can support this important access to shops and appointments in Falmouth, school field trips, and to downtown Portland.

AMTRAK Downeaster

  • Seniors Ride Half Price Everyday – Winter is a great time to travel on the Downeaster. Seniors ages 62+ ride for half-price everyday. Pay $24 or less for round-trip travel between Portland and Boston. To receive this discount you must reference code v543.
  • Remember Kids Ride Free on Sundays! Kids love to travel on the train, and parents love it too! The Downeaster makes family excursions AFFORDABLE because kids ride half price everyday and free on Sundays. Tickets must be purchased at least three days in advance of travel.  Reference promotion code v581.

Employers – Check Out METRO’s Bus Incentive Program for Employees

The METRO Bus is introducing an incentive program that encourages Maine employees to choose transit instead of driving to work.  They are offering employers fully or partially subsidized monthly passes to their employees.   By not driving, you can save hundreds of dollars per year…extra money that you can use for mortgage payments, college tuition, vacations, or anything you want. Whether you have five employees or over 5,000 employees, it just makes good business sense to participate.  This transit benefit not only encourages employees to use public transit to commute to work, it also reduces the need for available employee parking and helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. Now there are incentives to make participating in METRO’s plan an even better deal for employers and their employees.

  • Tax Savings
  • Promote “Green” Transportation
  • Save $$
  • Free up valuable parking spaces

METRO will work with your business to provide a risk-free trial program that works for you and your employees. See here to learn more.

Transportation News & Opportunities – Nov, Dec

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Portland Green Streets Calendar

As always, please check out the Portland Green Streets Calendar for exciting upcoming transportation-related events in Greater Portland.

General/Funding Related:

DUE DEC 1 – Worksite Wellness Mini-Grant to Support Active Transportation (among other health initiatives)

Healthy Portland and Healthy Casco Bay are excited to announce the availability of ten mini-grants of up to $250 each for initiatives that support a healthy workplace environment.  Applicants must be a worksite in the Healthy Portland or Healthy Casco Bay service area to qualify for funding. Healthy Portland serves the city of Portland. Healthy Casco Bay serves the towns of Cumberland, Chebeague Island, Falmouth, Freeport, Gray, Long Island, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and Yarmouth.  Please see  for Request for Applications more details and instructions on how to apply.

Go Maine’s Commuter Champion Award – Nominate Yourself or Someone You Know!

GO MAINE has started a new Commuter Champion Award  to recognize individuals in Maine who model smart commuting choices. Every month a new Commuter Champion will be chosen from peer nominations and honored with a $50 gift card.  The nominator will also receive a $50 gift card.  We’ll feature the Commuter Champion in a story on the GO MAINE website, in the GO MAINE Newsletter, and on the GO MAINE Facebook page.  We’d like people to nominate their friends, family, or co-workers that they believe are great commuters.  We want to recognize and honor the folks that go the distance and make commuting fun and enjoyable. If you know someone who deserves to be a Commuter Champion, nominate them today!  Send nominations to gomaine@gpcog.org

Seeking Portland residents to participate in a focus group about environmental health issues

Are you concerned about environmental health issues in your community? Do you want your opinion heard by the City of Portland? This is your opportunity. The Portland Public Health Division seeks Portland residents 18 years and older to participate in a focus group to discuss local environmental health issues. Groups will be held on Wednesday, November 17, and Wednesday, December 15, both from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Portland City Hall, Rm 303, 389 Congress St. This site is accessible by public transportation. Eligible participants will be compensated $25 for their time. If interested, please email Michael A. Russell or call 207-874-8787.

Donate to the Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) and Get Involved!

The Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) has been working hard in 2010  to make sure that all Mainers have access to affordable, reliable and sustainable transportation options.  As 2010 is winding down, and we look forward to 2011, we want to make sure the League of Young Voters and MaST remain at the forefront of expanding public transit across the state of Maine, and that Portland and other towns can have affordable, sustainable and accessible transportation options for all our residents. That’s why MaST needs to ask for your help today.

MaST is hoping to raise $1,000 dollars in support of its transportation work between now and Jan 1st. You can help by making a donation of $25, $50, or whatever you can. Please take a minute and donate here: action.theleague.com/donate-me Can’t make a donation this month? That’s cool, we’d love your time, too. Just shoot Hilary Frenkel, MaST organizer, an email and she’ll get you signed up to help.

Bicycle-Pedestrian Related

Bring Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Education to Your Local School

Please encourage your local school(s) to arrange for a free presentation on bicycle and pedestrian safety by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.  The Coalition’s trained instructors will teach students the basics of commuting to school safely by bike and foot.  For more information, please contact Jim Tasse, the coalition’s education director.

Bike-Savvy Volunteer Needed in Springvale

A bike-savvy person is needed to volunteer in the after-school program at the Nasson Community Bicycle Center in Springvale.  The volunteer would spend two days per week  helping students with bike maintenance, trip planning, art projects, bike rides and the like. For information, contact Maryalice Walker.

Go for Walk Friendly Community Designation in Your Community!

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has officially launched Walk Friendly Communities (WFC), a national recognition program to encourage towns and cities across the United States to establish or recommit to a high priority for safe walking. Assessing communities’ commitment to improve conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort, PBIC will recognize communities that set the bar in fostering and accommodating walking. In August, the WFC program accepted nine communities to test the pilot application and the online assessment tool. The program will begin accepting applications nationwide on November 1, 2010.

At the core of the WFC program is a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. The assessment tool questions are intended to both evaluate conditions for walking and provide communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity. Communities that are interested in the WFC program are encouraged to visit www.walkfriendly.org to download a print version of the assessment tool.

School Travel Plans – A Possibility for Your Community?

Lyseth Elementary and Lyman Moore Middle in Portland were chosen to be the pilot schools for a Maine Safe Routes School Travel Plan process – designed to engage the community, reduce traffic congestion and ultimately boost the number of students who can safely walk and bike to school.  Schools in “village areas” – i.e. near residential neighborhoods – across the country have benefitted from these comprehensive plans that address everything from physical infrastructure needs to law enforcement to safety education to encouragement for students and staff to walk and bike.

More and more schools are interested in increasing the number of students who walk and bike because it’s been shown to:

  • boost bicycle and pedestrian safety
  • improve academic performance and classroom behavior
  • help address our high childhood obesity rate
  • decrease carbon emissions and air pollution
  • ease traffic congestion
  • save school districts money on busing costs.

Through public visioning sessions, walkability and bikeability audits, parent surveys, classroom tallies of how students get to school, and other activities, the School Travel Plan brings together students, families, school staff, other local stakeholders and experts to identify barriers to students walking and biking – and potential solutions.  The process produces a Walk & Bike to School Implementation Plan that can include designated safe walk and bike routes to the schools, suggested bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, recommendations for policy changes to increase safety and reduce the volume of automobile traffic on and near the site – and also plans for safety education, traffic law enforcement, organizing walking school buses and student safety patrols, etc.

At the September 29th Public Forum at Lyseth and Lyman Moore in Portland, area residents, students, families, and staff all contributed greatly to mapping out walking and biking difficulties on neighboring streets and also on school grounds.  Everyone at the workshop was excited to help make changes for both schools – and the School Travel Plan will take this and other important feedback to inform a Walk & Bike Implementation Plan that will sustain their efforts over the long-term.  Please contact the Maine Safe Routes to School Program to explore the possibility of doing a School Travel Plan in your community!

Bike Commuter Education Program on the Move

The Bike Commuter Education Program, a joint effort of GO MAINE, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and MaineDOT, is off and running. Or should we say off and riding? And they can come to your workplace too.

The new bike commuter program is designed to assist businesses that want to promote cycling within their organization and help the cyclists who want to commute by bike, and it’s all FREE.

To support businesses, the program offers guidance on creating a bicycle friendly culture in an organization, understanding the needs of a cyclist who rides to and from work, and outlining what facilities a cyclist would typically want at the workplace. While having all the facilities like showers and lockers is nice, it’s not a deal breaker. When an organization understands the cyclist’s perspective, many different options are possible. This program offers that type of guidance to businesses.

To support the cyclist, the program offers on-site training seminars by qualified cycling instructors. These sessions are adapted to the time available to employees during the day or scheduled after hours, at the business’ and employees’ convenience. Through these, existing or would-be cyclists can learn the realities of cycling to and from work and the hard skills that go with it. Topics include setting realistic goals, managing a work out on your way to work, bikes and other equipment, riding techniques, route selection, night riding, and general traffic safety. These classes are taught by instructors who speak from experience and are trained in safe cycling practices. Classes are for novice to intermediate cyclists of all ages.

For more information about the program and to schedule a visit to your place of business, please contact Erik West at ewest@gpcog.org or at 207-774-9891.

Public Transit Related

METRO Route & Service Updates

  • Beginning Monday, November 1, METRO Lunch Hop is discontinued. METRO’s Lunch Hop had previously provided free daily bus rides from  11 a.m. to 2 p.m. between Longfellow Square and Exchange Street in Portland.
  • HOLIDAY SERVICE REMINDER: No METRO bus service on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, 2010
  • Friday, November 26Regular Bus service but Detour on Congress Street – Annual Tree Lighting Event Congress Street will be closed between Preble St. and Elm Street:  9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • EASTBOUND METRO Buses will be detoured to Brown Street, Cumberland Ave. and Chestnut St.
    • WESTBOUND METRO Buses will detoured to Elm Street, Cumberland Ave., and Preble St.
  • METRO Toy Bus – 2010 – This year, the METRO Toy Bus is planning to collect new, unwrapped toys and books (mittens and scarves are also welcome) for children in need from schools and other participating locations throughout our service area.  Donations will be collected between December 1-10 and distributed through WGME’s Joy of Sharing. Businesses and organizations along METRO bus routes are welcome to contact METRO for information (or call 774-0351) to donate items.
  • School Discount Program Additions: METRO welcomes Cheverus and St. Brigid Schools to our student discount program. These schools join Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth Waynflete, Cathedral, Cheverus and Friends Schools in offering METRO Student Fare Cards to their students for reduced bus fare. These cards can also be used for school field trips. For additional information on routes and student discounts, visit us online at www.gpmetrobus.com, call 774-0351 or contact us via e-mail.
  • In January 2011, METRO’s Route #4 will be changed to include commuter service to IDEXX and nearby businesses in Westbrook. Look for updates soon.

New Brunswick Explorer Bus

We’re excited about this new transportation option in Brunswick! Buses run hourly from 7:30am to 5:30 pm, Monday-Friday, from Mallard Pond passing Parkview, Bowdoin, and Hannaford and ending at Sweetser. $1 buys a one-way fare, or ride all day for only $2. Buses feature low-floor easy boarding, bike racks, and hybrid-electric design to decrease emissions. More info at www.brunswickexplorer.org.

Live in the midcoast? Check out the midcoast ride finder website to search for public transportation options, including rail, bus, and ferry.

Become of Fan of the Falmouth Flyer

For info and fun updates on METRO’s #7 bus, also known as the Falmouth Flyer, check out the “Friends of Falmouth Flyer Bus” Facebook page or contact Annie Finch: 781-8079 afinch@usm.maine.edu Often at risk of being cut as a service route, this is an easy way you can support this important access to shops and appointments in Falmouth, school field trips, and to downtown Portland.

AMTRAK Downeaster

  • Black Friday- Not that we want to encourage a lot of consumption – but if you’re going to do it already, then at least take advantage of the train! :)   Take the Downeaster to Boston and shop ’til you drop at Downtown Crossing with this Holiday Savings Pass. Or visit the customer service desk at The Shops at Prudential Center to receive a complimentary PRUferred Card which offers savings at more than 40 retailers and restaurants.
  • College 6Tix Available Again This Fall - Get smart this semester. Purchase a College 6TIX pass and get six one-way trips on the Amtrak Downeaster for just $76. With up to 50% off the regular fare, it’s a no brainier.
  • Remember Kids Ride Free on Sundays! Kids love to travel on the train, and parents love it too! The Downeaster makes family excursions AFFORDABLE because kids ride half price everyday and free on Sundays. Tickets must be purchased at least three days in advance of travel.  Reference promotion code v581.

Employers – Check Out METRO’s Bus Incentive Program for Employees

The METRO Bus is introducing an incentive program that encourages Maine employees to choose transit instead of driving to work.  They are offering employers fully or partially subsidized monthly passes to their employees.   By not driving, you can save hundreds of dollars per year…extra money that you can use for mortgage payments, college tuition, vacations, or anything you want. Whether you have five employees or over 5,000 employees, it just makes good business sense to participate.  This transit benefit not only encourages employees to use public transit to commute to work, it also reduces the need for available employee parking and helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. Now there are incentives to make participating in METRO’s plan an even better deal for employers and their employees.

  • Tax Savings
  • Promote “Green” Transportation
  • Save $$
  • Free up valuable parking spaces

METRO will work with your business to provide a risk-free trial program that works for you and your employees. See here to learn more.

Adopt-a-Stop!

We all know about the problem of poor access to many bus stops during the winter.  Robert Wagner, a long-time advocate for transportation improvements, is the volunteer coordinator for an effort to organize volunteers to agree to keep specific bus stop locations in Portland and South Portland clear of snow, etc., for a period of a year. He hasn’t had many takers so far, but this sure sounds like a way for us to help where no one else is dealing with the problem. Check the website: www.Adopt-A-Stop.org or call him at (207) 408-4404.

Transportation News & Opportunities – October, November

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Portland Green Streets Calendar

As always, please check out the Portland Green Streets Calendar for exciting upcoming transportation-related events in Greater Portland.
General/Funding Related:
DUE NOV 1 – Schools Mini-Grant to Support Active Transportation (among other health initiatives)
Healthy Portland and Healthy Casco Bay are excited to announce the availability of ten mini-grants of up to $250 each for initiatives that support healthy living among students in these two regions.  The goal of these school initiatives is to do at least one of the following through education, programming, and environmental or policy change:

* Encourage tobacco-free living with positive, tobacco-free messages.
* Prevent youth tobacco use.
* Increase fruit and vegetable consumption among students.
* Increase availability of healthy food options and/or decrease availability of less healthy foods in schools and events associated with schools.
* Create healthy vending options using Power Vending (a ready-to-implement healthier vending initiative).
* Increase physical activity as part of the school day.
* Promote walking and bicycling to school (ex., Safe Routes to School).

Please see Request for Applications (RFA) for more details and instructions on how to apply.
DUE NOV 22 – School Trails Grants Announced for RSU #14 and SAD #61

The goal of this mini-grant is to increase access to physical activity for all students (K-12) through the creation and/or improvement of school walking trails for both RSU #14 and SAD #61 by March 2012.  Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives is  offering mini-grants of up to $1,000 per individual school proposal and up to $2,000 per multiple school proposal (e.g. two or more schools coordinate and submit a single proposal that serves those multiple schools) to schools in RSU #14 and SAD #61 that are interested in creating or improving a walking trail on or near school grounds. Coordinated, multi-school proposals are encouraged.  In addition, proposals must address how schools plan to increase awareness of the walking trail and its various uses, for both students and community members.  If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please to check in with your building administrator to ensure no duplicate proposals are submitted by your school. Application Deadline: November 22nd, 2010.  For an application or more information contact: Emily Wolff, MPH, Program Manager, Communities Putting Prevention to Work via e-mail or phone: 207.553.5984
Thank Maine Officials for not Rescinding Transportation Enhancement Funds!

As you may have learned, states were mandated to “rescind” (cut from funds not yet spent) $2.2 billion in transportation funds by August 25. We were concerned that heavy-handed, disproportionate cuts would be made to Transportation Enhancements (TE), the nation’s largest funding source for trails, walking and bicycling.  Nearly $580 million—more than one-fourth of the total transportation rescission, or more than 10 times what would have been proportional—was cut from TE alone.  However, Maine did not disproportionately cut TE relative to its other transportation programs – in fact it did not cut TE funds at all. Please thank our state leaders now! By thanking our elected officials, we send them a strong message that we hope they continue this trend of prioritizing trails, walking and bicycling in the future.
Go Maine’s Commuter Champion Award – Nominate Yourself or Someone You Know!

GO MAINE has started a new Commuter Champion Award  to recognize individuals in Maine who model smart commuting choices. Every month a new Commuter Champion will be chosen from peer nominations and honored with a $50 gift card.  The nominator will also receive a $50 gift card.  We’ll feature the Commuter Champion in a story on the GO MAINE website, in the GO MAINE Newsletter, and on the GO MAINE Facebook page.  We’d like people to nominate their friends, family, or co-workers that they believe are great commuters.  We want to recognize and honor the folks that go the distance and make commuting fun and enjoyable. If you know someone who deserves to be a Commuter Champion, nominate them today!  Send nominations to gomaine@gpcog.org
Check out the Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) and Get Involved!

The Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) – of which Portland Green Streets is a member – has officially launched our new website! MaST was spearheaded by the League and has some great groups working to increase access to affordable, reliable and sustainable transportation option.  Check MaST out and find out how you can get involved!
Bicycle-Pedestrian Related
Last Chance for Walk & Bike to School Month (October)

Join kids and families around the globe to walk and bike to school in October! In the USA, celebrate Walk and Bike to School Day on October 6, 2010 – or pick another day this fall that works best for your school to celebrate. And promote safe walking and bicycling throughout the year!  Find out how to organize an event, register and order materials, and get other technical assistance from the Maine Safe Routes to School Program. And congratulations to the parents, school staff and children across Maine who are participating in Walk and Bike to School month activities this fall!

Bring Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Education to Your Local School

Please encourage your local school(s) to arrange for a free presentation on bicycle and pedestrian safety by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.  The Coalition’s trained instructors will teach students the basics of commuting to school safely by bike and foot.  For more information, please contact Jim Tasse, the coalition’s education director.
Bike-Savvy Volunteer Needed in Springvale

A bike-savvy person is needed to volunteer in the after-school program at the Nasson Community Bicycle Center in Springvale.  The volunteer would spend two days per week  helping students with bike maintenance, trip planning, art projects, bike rides and the like. For information, contact Maryalice Walker.
New Trails Group Starting in Topsham

A new group that will advocate for trails in Topsham and the surrounding area will meet on Oct. 28 at 3:30 p.m. in Topsham Town Hall.  For information, contact Victor Langelo.
Go for Walk Friendly Community Designation in Your Community!

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has officially launched Walk Friendly Communities (WFC), a national recognition program to encourage towns and cities across the United States to establish or recommit to a high priority for safe walking. Assessing communities’ commitment to improve conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort, PBIC will recognize communities that set the bar in fostering and accommodating walking. In August, the WFC program accepted nine communities to test the pilot application and the online assessment tool. The program will begin accepting applications nationwide on November 1, 2010.

At the core of the WFC program is a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. The assessment tool questions are intended to both evaluate conditions for walking and provide communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity. Communities that are interested in the WFC program are encouraged to visit www.walkfriendly.org to download a print version of the assessment tool.
Make 5 Suggestions for Alternate Transportation Improvements to Your Local Government and Enter to Win a Free Bicycle!

The Bicycle Coalition is working with JSL Films, producer of the documentary “Paul Goodman Changed My Life,” on a contest to encourage transportation alternatives.  Anyone who submits five proposals to their local government (mayor, city council, etc.) during the month of October can enter a drawing to win a new bicycle.  Find out more.
School Travel Plans – A Possibility for Your Community?
Lyseth Elementary and Lyman Moore Middle in Portland were chosen to be the pilot schools for a Maine Safe Routes School Travel Plan process – designed to engage the community, reduce traffic congestion and ultimately boost the number of students who can safely walk and bike to school.  Schools in “village areas” – i.e. near residential neighborhoods – across the country have benefitted from these comprehensive plans that address everything from physical infrastructure needs to law enforcement to safety education to encouragement for students and staff to walk and bike.

More and more schools are interested in increasing the number of students who walk and bike because it’s been shown to:

* boost bicycle and pedestrian safety
* improve academic performance and classroom behavior
* help address our high childhood obesity rate
* decrease carbon emissions and air pollution
* ease traffic congestion
* save school districts money on busing costs.

Through public visioning sessions, walkability and bikeability audits, parent surveys, classroom tallies of how students get to school, and other activities, the School Travel Plan brings together students, families, school staff, other local stakeholders and experts to identify barriers to students walking and biking – and potential solutions.  The process produces a Walk & Bike to School Implementation Plan that can include designated safe walk and bike routes to the schools, suggested bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, recommendations for policy changes to increase safety and reduce the volume of automobile traffic on and near the site – and also plans for safety education, traffic law enforcement, organizing walking school buses and student safety patrols, etc.

At the September 29th Public Forum at Lyseth and Lyman Moore in Portland, area residents, students, families, and staff all contributed greatly to mapping out walking and biking difficulties on neighboring streets and also on school grounds.  Everyone at the workshop was excited to help make changes for both schools – and the School Travel Plan will take this and other important feedback to inform a Walk & Bike Implementation Plan that will sustain their efforts over the long-term.  Please contact the Maine Safe Routes to School Program to explore the possibility of doing a School Travel Plan in your community!
Bike Commuter Education Program on the Move

The Bike Commuter Education Program, a joint effort of GO MAINE, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and MaineDOT, is off and running. Or should we say off and riding? And they can come to your workplace too.

The new bike commuter program is designed to assist businesses that want to promote cycling within their organization and help the cyclists who want to commute by bike, and it’s all FREE.

To support businesses, the program offers guidance on creating a bicycle friendly culture in an organization, understanding the needs of a cyclist who rides to and from work, and outlining what facilities a cyclist would typically want at the workplace. While having all the facilities like showers and lockers is nice, it’s not a deal breaker. When an organization understands the cyclist’s perspective, many different options are possible. This program offers that type of guidance to businesses.

To support the cyclist, the program offers on-site training seminars by qualified cycling instructors. These sessions are adapted to the time available to employees during the day or scheduled after hours, at the business’ and employees’ convenience. Through these, existing or would-be cyclists can learn the realities of cycling to and from work and the hard skills that go with it. Topics include setting realistic goals, managing a work out on your way to work, bikes and other equipment, riding techniques, route selection, night riding, and general traffic safety. These classes are taught by instructors who speak from experience and are trained in safe cycling practices. Classes are for novice to intermediate cyclists of all ages.

For more information about the program and to schedule a visit to your place of business, please contact Erik West at ewest@gpcog.org or at 207-774-9891.
Public Transit Related
Become of Fan of the Falmouth Flyer

For info and fun updates on METRO’s #7 bus, also known as the Falmouth Flyer, check out the “Friends of Falmouth Flyer Bus” Facebook page or contact Annie Finch: 781-8079 afinch@usm.maine.edu Often at risk of being cut as a service route, this is an easy way you can support this important access to shops and appointments in Falmouth, school field trips, and to downtown Portland.
AMTRAK Downeaster – College 6Tix Available Again This Fall

Get smart this semester. Purchase a College 6TIX pass and get six one-way trips on the Amtrak Downeaster for just $76. With up to 50% off the regular fare, it’s a no brainier.
AMTRAK Downeaster – Remember Kids Ride Free on Sundays!

Kids love to travel on the train, and parents love it too! The Downeaster makes family excursions AFFORDABLE because kids ride half price everyday and free on Sundays. Tickets must be purchased at least three days in advance of travel.  Reference promotion code v581.
Employers – Check Out METRO’s Bus Incentive Program for Employees

The METRO Bus is introducing an incentive program that encourages Maine employees to choose transit instead of driving to work.  They are offering employers fully or partially subsidized monthly passes to their employees.   By not driving, you can save hundreds of dollars per year…extra money that you can use for mortgage payments, college tuition, vacations, or anything you want. Whether you have five employees or over 5,000 employees, it just makes good business sense to participate.  This transit benefit not only encourages employees to use public transit to commute to work, it also reduces the need for available employee parking and helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. Now there are incentives to make participating in METRO’s plan an even better deal for employers and their employees.

* Tax Savings
* Promote “Green” Transportation
* Save $$
* Free up valuable parking spaces

METRO will work with your business to provide a risk-free trial program that works for you and your employees. See here to learn more.
Adopt-a-Stop!

We all know about the problem of poor access to many bus stops during the winter.  Robert Wagner, a long-time advocate for transportation improvements, is the volunteer coordinator for an effort to organize volunteers to agree to keep specific bus stop locations in Portland and South Portland clear of snow, etc., for a period of a year. He hasn’t had many takers so far, but this sure sounds like a way for us to help where no one else is dealing with the problem. Check the website: www.Adopt-A-Stop.org or call him at (207) 408-4404.
New Maine Bike Book Now Available!

The newly updated Explore Maine by Bike, 33 Loop Bicycle Tours , is now available.  This extremely popular bike tour book is organized by Maine’s Tourism Regions, and has been updated with improved removable cue sheets, simplified maps, shorter ride options, more loops, beautiful pictures from each tour, an expanded off-road trail section, as well as important safety information.  The book has been designed and created by the Maine Department of Transportation in partnership with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Maine Office of Tourism.  Maine is ranked number three in the nation for bike friendliness by the League of American Bicyclists for good reasons, and this book outlines some beautiful places to ride.  These books are available to pick up at the State of Maine Visitor Centers.  To order a copy of the book, please send a check or money order for $2.25 per book for postage (made out to Treasurer, State of Maine) to Dan Stewart, Maine Department of Transportation, 16 State House Station, Augusta, Maine  04333-1106.  Any questions, call Dan at 624-3252.

Posted in Bike, Newsletter, Public Transit, Transportation Advocacy, Events, & Opportunities, Walk | Edit | No Comments »
Sign in for Green Streets Day, Friday, August 27th!

August 24th, 2010

Back to School with METRO

Back to School with METRO

We’re living the last golden days of a glorious summer.  Before you – or the kids – head back to school, take advantage of one day to try a different mode to get your usual destination(s)!

And please take 30 seconds to  Sign in Here for Green Streets Day – Friday, August 27th.  Sign in now (and every month!) if you plan to walk, bike, take public transit, carpool, and/or telecommute this Green Streets Day.

For special treats for Green Streets Day participants, visit our Green Streets Freebies & Discounts page for offers of free food and drink and various area discounts that day.

Posted in Monthly Sign-In & Green Street incentives, Photos and Notes of Green Streeters, Public Transit | Edit | 3 Comments »
Call Snowe and Collins Today about the Livable Communities Act

August 24th, 2010

Green Streeters celebrating in downtown Portland – August 2009

Livable Communities for Maine

Greater Portland’s streets need to accommodate all users, not just the automobile, and there’s a bill going through Congress – the Livable Communities Act – that would make sure that happens.

The Livable Communities Act (S. 1619) would ensure that communities working for greener streets can get help from multiple government agencies to build them – e.g. setting up grant programs for bike-pedestrian friendly construction projects. By building streets for all transportation users and enhancing the homes and businesses that line them, the bill helps small businesses, preserves natural land on city fringes, and cuts down on transportation costs and carbon emissions for families in Portland, around Maine and throughout the nation.

But in order to pass, the Livable Communities Act needs your help.  Before Labor Day, please send a letter or call Senators Collins and Snowe – you can help the Livable Communities Act get passed!

* Senator Snowe, Portland State Office: 3 Canal Plaza, Suite 601, Portland, ME 04101; Tel: (207) 874-0883; Fax: (207) 874-7631

* Senator Collins, Portland State Office: One Canal Plaza, Suite 802, Portland, ME 04101; Tel: (207) 780-3575

Read more about the bill and see a sample letter for talking points – you don’t have to be an expert, just share from your personal experience and make your voice heard!

Posted in Bike, Transportation Advocacy, Events, & Opportunities, Walk | Edit | No Comments »
Transportation News & Opportunities – August, September, October

August 23rd, 2010
Portland Green Streets Calendar

As always, please check out the Portland Green Streets Calendar for exciting upcoming transportation-related events in Greater Portland.
Back to School Specials from METRO

College Students:

Ride FREE with ID from participating colleges August 23 – September 30, 2010. (After September, several colleges continue to offer FREE or discounted transportation.)

Discounted Student Fares (K-12): Beginning in September through mid-June 2011, students can ride METRO buses for 75 cents (regular student fare is $1.25) using a METRO Student Fare Card, available at participating schools in Portland, Westbrook and Falmouth.

For a list of participating schools/colleges, schedules and additional information, visit www.gpmetrobus.com (Services and Programs) or call 774-0351.
REGISTER NOW – Sept 4 – Smart Cycling Basic Course

The League of American Bicyclists’ basic road riding class (Smart Cycling’s Basic Course) will be offered on September 4 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. To register, please e-mail Jim Tasse, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s education director, or call him at 623-4511.
DUE BY Sept 20 – Healthy Portland and Healthy Casco Bay Grants for Active Transportation and Physical Activity

Two great mini-grant opportunities for non-profits, schools, and municipalities in Portland, Cumberland, Chebeague Island, Falmouth, Freeport, Gray, Long Island, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and Yarmouth.  Check out the Physical Activity (Active Transportation) Mini-Grant and the  Initiatives for Healthy Living Mini-Grant (also includes physical activity).
October 6/Full Month of October – International Walk & Bike to School Day & Month

Join kids and families around the globe to walk and bike to school in October! In the USA, celebrate Walk and Bike to School Day on October 6, 2010 – or pick another day this fall that works best for your school to celebrate. And promote safe walking and bicycling throughout the year!  Find out how to organize an event, register and order materials, and get other technical assistance from the Maine Safe Routes to School Program. See some inspiration from schools around the state last spring.
Attention Professional/Amateur Photographers: The Bicycle Coalition of Maine Needs Your Help

The Bicycle Coalition still needs a few more bicycling photos for the redesign of their Web site.  One of the photographers whose work is selected will receive a $100 gift certificate to a member bike shop.  They need photos of  someone riding with traffic in a Maine city at night, a 40-something female commuter in professional clothes riding through traffic, a 20-something woman wearing a sundress and flip flops or leggings and kids doing BMX-type tricks.  Find out more.

Call 511 for Transportation Info

Now it’s easier than ever to find the transportation help you need, thanks to the newly launched 511 services. Whether you’re stuck in traffic in your carpool and need an alternative route – or want to find a bus that’ll take you where you need to go – 511 has the help you need. 511 is an automated toll-free phone line and internet service that provides 24/7 on-demand updates on Maine traffic, transit routing, park and ride lots and more. Just dial 511 from a cell phone or landline. You’ll automatically be connected with 511 service in the area where you’re traveling.  Choose from voice-responsive prompts or, if you prefer, just tell 511 what you want to know, like “traffic on I-295″ or “find a park & ride lot.”  511 will get you the answers you need or guide you to the right resource. Prefer to get your transportation information online? Visit 511 on the web at www.511maine.gov where in addition to traffic, bus/rail, you can also access driving directions, interactive maps of real time traffic conditions, toll-road information and more. It’s interactive and easy to navigate.
Employers – Check Out METRO’s Bus Incentive Program for Employees

The METRO Bus is introducing an incentive program that encourages Maine employees to choose transit instead of driving to work.  They are offering employers fully or partially subsidized monthly passes to their employees.   By not driving, you can save hundreds of dollars per year…extra money that you can use for mortgage payments, college tuition, vacations, or anything you want. Whether you have five employees or over 5,000 employees, it just makes good business sense to participate.  This transit benefit not only encourages employees to use public transit to commute to work, it also reduces the need for available employee parking and helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. Now there are incentives to make participating in METRO’s plan an even better deal for employers and their employees.

* Tax Savings
* Promote “Green” Transportation
* Save $$
* Free up valuable parking spaces

METRO will work with your business to provide a risk-free trial program that works for you and your employees. See here to learn more.
Bike Commuter Education Program on the Move

The Bike Commuter Education Program, a joint effort of GO MAINE, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and MaineDOT, is off and running. Or should we say off and riding? And they can come to your workplace too.

The new bike commuter program is designed to assist businesses that want to promote cycling within their organization and help the cyclists who want to commute by bike, and it’s all FREE.

To support businesses, the program offers guidance on creating a bicycle friendly culture in an organization, understanding the needs of a cyclist who rides to and from work, and outlining what facilities a cyclist would typically want at the workplace. While having all the facilities like showers and lockers is nice, it’s not a deal breaker. When an organization understands the cyclist’s perspective, many different options are possible. This program offers that type of guidance to businesses.

To support the cyclist, the program offers on-site training seminars by qualified cycling instructors. These sessions are adapted to the time available to employees during the day or scheduled after hours, at the business’ and employees’ convenience. Through these, existing or would-be cyclists can learn the realities of cycling to and from work and the hard skills that go with it. Topics include setting realistic goals, managing a work out on your way to work, bikes and other equipment, riding techniques, route selection, night riding, and general traffic safety. These classes are taught by instructors who speak from experience and are trained in safe cycling practices. Classes are for novice to intermediate cyclists of all ages.

For more information about the program and to schedule a visit to your place of business, please contact Erik West at ewest@gpcog.org or at 207-774-9891.
Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) has Launched New Website

The Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) – of which Portland Green Streets is a member – has officially launched our new website! MaST was spearheaded by the League and has some great groups working to increase access to affordable, reliable and sustainable transportation option.  Check MaST out and find out how you can get involved!
Maine Lighthouse Ride to Benefit Eastern Trail Alliance

September 11, Southern Maine Community College, South Portland – Come take in the view, tour a lighthouse, and cycle to support the Eastern Trail Alliance, an organization dedicated to building a 60-mile greenway from Kittery to South Portland. There are several ride options ranging from 25 to 100 miles.
Adopt-a-Stop!

We all know about the problem of poor access to many bus stops during the winter.  Robert Wagner, a long-time advocate for transportation improvements, is the volunteer coordinator for an effort to organize volunteers to agree to keep specific bus stop locations in Portland and South Portland clear of snow, etc., for a period of a year. He hasn’t had many takers so far, but this sure sounds like a way for us to help where no one else is dealing with the problem. Check the website: www.Adopt-A-Stop.org or call him at (207) 408-4404.
Bikes Campaign Against Overuse of Rumble Strips

Several national bicycling organizations are urging the Federal Highway Administration and state departments of transportation to reconsider the widespread and indiscriminate use of rumble strips on state highways.  Rumble strips can pose a serious hazard to bicyclists.  Find out more and learn how you can get involved.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car to Offer Electric Vehicles in Portland

Beginning in January 2011, consumers in your city will be able to rent an electric vehicle (EV) from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  The company today announced it will begin receiving delivery of 500 Nissan LEAFs starting in January 2011. The EVs will initially be offered to customers across eight different markets where the infrastructure exists to support the vehicles, including Portland.  Charging stations will be installed at select locations, including several of the Enterprise “hybrid branches” – designated locations that offer hybrids and other environmentally-friendly rental options.

Posted in Bike, Carpool and Carshare, Public Transit, Transportation Advocacy, Events, & Opportunities, Walk | Edit | No Comments »
An Afternoon on Baxter Boulevard…Without the Traffic!

July 30th, 2010
Baxter Blvd photoBack Cove Block Party- everyone is invited!

Next Sunday, August 8, from 12-3pm the 2010 Back Cove Block Party takes place right on Baxter Boulevard and Back Cove.  Baxter Boulevard will be closed to auto traffic from Vannah Avenue to Payson Park.

Hosted by the City of Portland and the Back Cove Neighborhood Association, the Back Cove Block Party is an opportunity for people to enjoy three hours of car-free quiet and:

* Walk or jog
* Bike or rollerblade
* Picnic or meet neighbors
* Loaf and linger

The BCNA, set up near the Vannah Avenue intersection, is providing provide free refreshments, but everyone is invited to bring a picnic lunch or dessert to share.  Some are calling it “the city’s biggest potluck.”

To help out, or for more information, contact John Spritz, 773-0872,
jspritz@maine.rr.com. Tell your friends and neighbors: they’re shutting down
the Boulevard for you to enjoy!

Posted in Uncategorized | Edit | No Comments »
Sign in for Green Streets Day, Friday, July 30th!

July 26th, 2010
Green Streets T-Shirt Printing at Munjfest – smallerGreen Streets on the Streets

This in from Summer 2010 Green Streets intern, Michelle Boisvert:

“Munjfest [the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood festival that this year celebrated the bicycle] was a blast! Green Streets, the Portland Bike Commuter Meetup, and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM) teamed up to offer alternative transportation and bicycling advice, free bike tune ups, Green Street T-shirt stenciling, and a plethora of information about what each group is up to. Thanks to Jim Tasse from BCM, who brought a bike stand and equipment to provide the tune-ups – they were in high demand! Thanks, too, to Green Streets volunteers Maryann Welsch, Kevin Donoghue, and Jake Hoffman for helping out at the table! We met a lot of great people and printed a lot of Green Streets shirts. They’ll look great out on the street this Friday. One Green Streeter said she planned to wear her Green Street shirt on the days that she walks to her elementary school.”

Please take 30 seconds to  Sign in Here for Green Streets Day – Friday, July 30th.  Sign in now (and every month!) if you plan to walk, bike, take public transit, carpool, and/or telecommute this Green Streets Day.

For special treats for Green Streets Day participants, visit our Green Streets Freebies & Discounts page for offers of free food and drink and various area discounts that day.

Posted in Bike, Green Streets Volunteering, Monthly Sign-In & Green Street incentives, Photos and Notes of Green Streeters | Edit | No Comments »
July 28 – Franklin St/Exit 7 Public Meeting – Bikes & Peds Make Your Voices Heard!

July 26th, 2010

Exit 7 Photo – smallerThanks to persistent local bike-pedestrian advocacy you have a chance to learn more and speak up about bike-ped needs for Franklin Street and at Exit 7 between the Back Cove and Marginal Way!

The City of Portland, Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) are hosting a public meeting this Wednesday, July 28 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, at the East End Community Center (195 North Street, Portland) to discuss two (2) specific topics:

1. 5:30 – 6:45pm -  To receive feedback on the Scope of Work for the Franklin Street Phase II Study
2. 7:00 – 8:30pm – Discussion of Exit 7 improvements and the evaluation steps needed to ensure that a bike/pedestrian connection at Marginal Way to Back Cove will be created safely

Phase II of Franklin Street and Exit 7 Bike-Ped Connections (a fully implemented pedestrian connection the City has requested be built between the Back Cove Trail and the intersection of Marginal Way and Franklin St. – when MaineDOT uses a federal earmark to widen the I-295 south-bound Franklin St. exit to two lanes) are important topics to speak up about – so come on out and pass the word to others you think might be interested.

To RSVP and ensure adequate space please call or email Melissa Graffam of the City’s Public Services Department at 874-8823 or mag@portlandmaine.gov.
Franklin Street Study – Phase II

All parties invite your review and comment on this Proposed Scope of Work for the Franklin Street Phase II Feasibility Study in advance of the meeting.   Send any comments to the Co- Chair of the original Phase I Study Advisory Group, Markos Miller at markosmiller@hotmail.com.

The Phase II Study Scope outlines the process by which the Franklin Study Committee’s work will be moved forward. The Study will carefully evaluate the three (3) preliminary alternative design concepts the committee identified to address challenges and opportunities for the Franklin Street corridor. The goal of the Study, which includes a broad and comprehensive public input process, is to make a recommendation on which concept should be implemented. The three (3) alternatives are:

1. Multi-way Boulevard with four through lanes in center and two side access lanes providing parking and bicycle use;
2. Urban Street with bicycle lanes and parallel parking; and
3. Urban Parkway with landscaped median limited parking and parallel bicycle path.

In addition to the three (3) build alternatives described above other improvements such as intersection roundabouts, restoring side street connectivity and transit, was identified by the committee as needing further study in Phase II.  At next week’s meeting, officials from the City of Portland, MeDOT and PACTS will present background about the goals and objectives of the Phase II Study, answer your questions and hear suggestions on anything that may have been missed.
I-295 Exit 7 Expansion & Bike-Ped Connection

Part two of the meeting will focus on I -295 Improvements at Exit 7 and the Pedestrian Safety Evaluation Process. A briefing will be provided on what the Exit 7 improvements will include and the steps needed to provide a safe bike/pedestrian connection to Back Cove Trail from Marginal Way. Program managers from MaineDOT will be on hand to present and answer questions about this improvements project.

Please note: Members of the Portland Bike-Ped Advisory Committee and the League of Young Voters set up a Yahoo Group to facilitate work on the Exit 7 Bike-Ped Path issue.  This July 28 Public Meeting is in part due to public advocacy from the bike-ped community!  Other folks who want to work on or hear directly about this are encouraged to subscribe to the group by e-mailing Exit7BikePedPath-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Transportation News & Opportunities – August, September, October

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Portland Green Streets Calendar

As always, please check out the Portland Green Streets Calendar for exciting upcoming transportation-related events in Greater Portland.

Back to School Specials from METRO

College Students:

Ride FREE with ID from participating colleges August 23 – September 30, 2010. (After September, several colleges continue to offer FREE or discounted transportation.)

Discounted Student Fares (K-12): Beginning in September through mid-June 2011, students can ride METRO buses for 75 cents (regular student fare is $1.25) using a METRO Student Fare Card, available at participating schools in Portland, Westbrook and Falmouth.

For a list of participating schools/colleges, schedules and additional information, visit www.gpmetrobus.com (Services and Programs) or call 774-0351.

REGISTER NOW – Sept 4 – Smart Cycling Basic Course

The League of American Bicyclists’ basic road riding class (Smart Cycling’s Basic Course) will be offered on September 4 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland. To register, please e-mail Jim Tasse, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s education director, or call him at 623-4511.

DUE BY Sept 20 – Healthy Portland and Healthy Casco Bay Grants for Active Transportation and Physical Activity

Two great mini-grant opportunities for non-profits, schools, and municipalities in Portland, Cumberland, Chebeague Island, Falmouth, Freeport, Gray, Long Island, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and Yarmouth.  Check out the Physical Activity (Active Transportation) Mini-Grant and the  Initiatives for Healthy Living Mini-Grant (also includes physical activity).

October 6/Full Month of October – International Walk & Bike to School Day & Month

Join kids and families around the globe to walk and bike to school in October! In the USA, celebrate Walk and Bike to School Day on October 6, 2010 – or pick another day this fall that works best for your school to celebrate. And promote safe walking and bicycling throughout the year!  Find out how to organize an event, register and order materials, and get other technical assistance from the Maine Safe Routes to School Program. See some inspiration from schools around the state last spring.

Attention Professional/Amateur Photographers: The Bicycle Coalition of Maine Needs Your Help

The Bicycle Coalition still needs a few more bicycling photos for the redesign of their Web site.  One of the photographers whose work is selected will receive a $100 gift certificate to a member bike shop.  They need photos of  someone riding with traffic in a Maine city at night, a 40-something female commuter in professional clothes riding through traffic, a 20-something woman wearing a sundress and flip flops or leggings and kids doing BMX-type tricks.  Find out more.

Call 511 for Transportation Info

Now it’s easier than ever to find the transportation help you need, thanks to the newly launched 511 services. Whether you’re stuck in traffic in your carpool and need an alternative route – or want to find a bus that’ll take you where you need to go – 511 has the help you need. 511 is an automated toll-free phone line and internet service that provides 24/7 on-demand updates on Maine traffic, transit routing, park and ride lots and more. Just dial 511 from a cell phone or landline. You’ll automatically be connected with 511 service in the area where you’re traveling.  Choose from voice-responsive prompts or, if you prefer, just tell 511 what you want to know, like “traffic on I-295″ or “find a park & ride lot.”  511 will get you the answers you need or guide you to the right resource. Prefer to get your transportation information online? Visit 511 on the web at www.511maine.gov where in addition to traffic, bus/rail, you can also access driving directions, interactive maps of real time traffic conditions, toll-road information and more. It’s interactive and easy to navigate.

Employers – Check Out METRO’s Bus Incentive Program for Employees

The METRO Bus is introducing an incentive program that encourages Maine employees to choose transit instead of driving to work.  They are offering employers fully or partially subsidized monthly passes to their employees.   By not driving, you can save hundreds of dollars per year…extra money that you can use for mortgage payments, college tuition, vacations, or anything you want. Whether you have five employees or over 5,000 employees, it just makes good business sense to participate.  This transit benefit not only encourages employees to use public transit to commute to work, it also reduces the need for available employee parking and helps reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. Now there are incentives to make participating in METRO’s plan an even better deal for employers and their employees.

  • Tax Savings
  • Promote “Green” Transportation
  • Save $$
  • Free up valuable parking spaces
METRO will work with your business to provide a risk-free trial program that works for you and your employees. See here to learn more.

Bike Commuter Education Program on the Move

The Bike Commuter Education Program, a joint effort of GO MAINE, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and MaineDOT, is off and running. Or should we say off and riding? And they can come to your workplace too.

The new bike commuter program is designed to assist businesses that want to promote cycling within their organization and help the cyclists who want to commute by bike, and it’s all FREE.

To support businesses, the program offers guidance on creating a bicycle friendly culture in an organization, understanding the needs of a cyclist who rides to and from work, and outlining what facilities a cyclist would typically want at the workplace. While having all the facilities like showers and lockers is nice, it’s not a deal breaker. When an organization understands the cyclist’s perspective, many different options are possible. This program offers that type of guidance to businesses.

To support the cyclist, the program offers on-site training seminars by qualified cycling instructors. These sessions are adapted to the time available to employees during the day or scheduled after hours, at the business’ and employees’ convenience. Through these, existing or would-be cyclists can learn the realities of cycling to and from work and the hard skills that go with it. Topics include setting realistic goals, managing a work out on your way to work, bikes and other equipment, riding techniques, route selection, night riding, and general traffic safety. These classes are taught by instructors who speak from experience and are trained in safe cycling practices. Classes are for novice to intermediate cyclists of all ages.

For more information about the program and to schedule a visit to your place of business, please contact Erik West at ewest@gpcog.org or at 207-774-9891.

Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) has Launched New Website

The Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) – of which Portland Green Streets is a member – has officially launched our new website! MaST was spearheaded by the League and has some great groups working to increase access to affordable, reliable and sustainable transportation option.  Check MaST out and find out how you can get involved!

Maine Lighthouse Ride to Benefit Eastern Trail Alliance

September 11, Southern Maine Community College, South Portland – Come take in the view, tour a lighthouse, and cycle to support the Eastern Trail Alliance, an organization dedicated to building a 60-mile greenway from Kittery to South Portland. There are several ride options ranging from 25 to 100 miles.

Adopt-a-Stop!

We all know about the problem of poor access to many bus stops during the winter.  Robert Wagner, a long-time advocate for transportation improvements, is the volunteer coordinator for an effort to organize volunteers to agree to keep specific bus stop locations in Portland and South Portland clear of snow, etc., for a period of a year. He hasn’t had many takers so far, but this sure sounds like a way for us to help where no one else is dealing with the problem. Check the website: www.Adopt-A-Stop.org or call him at (207) 408-4404.

Bikes Campaign Against Overuse of Rumble Strips

Several national bicycling organizations are urging the Federal Highway Administration and state departments of transportation to reconsider the widespread and indiscriminate use of rumble strips on state highways.  Rumble strips can pose a serious hazard to bicyclists.  Find out more and learn how you can get involved.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car to Offer Electric Vehicles in Portland

Beginning in January 2011, consumers in your city will be able to rent an electric vehicle (EV) from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  The company today announced it will begin receiving delivery of 500 Nissan LEAFs starting in January 2011. The EVs will initially be offered to customers across eight different markets where the infrastructure exists to support the vehicles, including Portland.  Charging stations will be installed at select locations, including several of the Enterprise “hybrid branches” – designated locations that offer hybrids and other environmentally-friendly rental options.

Commute Another Way Week, Walk & Bike to School Week, & National Bike to Work Day in Portland

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

uncleS-complete-widget-size1Every year -whether you commute green year-round or not – there’s an opportunity to join the fun of commuting green en masse across the State of Maine.  It’s a wave of encouragement for sustainable transportation and it’s coming up, May 14-21:

Volunteer!

If you’d like to help Green Streets out at the National Bike to Work Day Party please click on this Doodle and let us know (just fill in your name and the time – no registration required) – we’d love to have you.  Either way, hope you get to enjoy a bike ride that day and stop by our table to say hi if you can!

Vanpool Seats Available Now

Friday, February 19th, 2010

winter driving

Several GO MAINE commuter vanpools have immediate seat openings. Maybe there’s one that’ll fit your commute:

  • Lewiston/Sabattus to Augusta North
  • Topsham to Augusta
  • Portland/Yarmouth to Augusta North
  • Yarmouth/Freeport to Augusta Capital
  • Augusta to Intown Portland
  • Lewiston to Portland

Riding a commuter vanpool is inexpensive, stress-free and eco-friendly. Check with GO MAINE for complete information on commuter vanpools.

New Ride Match System & Discounted Bike Racks – Join the GO MAINE Nation!

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

GoMaine NationNew GO MAINE Ridematching System

GO MAINE Commuter Connections has just introduced an innovative new ridematching system that’s easier and faster to use. State-of- the-art “smart” ridematching software  weighs all possible matches against your commuter profile, allowing the system to more accurately find you a commuter match for carpooling and other commuting options.

Another great new feature allows you to instantly view other commuters in your area. Whether you’re interested in carpooling, vanpooling or both, go to GO MAINE for an instant list of people who live and work near you and work a similar schedule who may also want to share a ride.

Order Now – Discounted Bike Racks for Your Location from GO MAINEBike racks

The MaineDOT and GO MAINE Commuter Connections Program, in partnership with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Safe Routes to School program, support and encourage bicycling as an important mode of transportation. They have created Bike Racks for ME for communities, organizations and workplaces across Maine to help expand bicycle parking opportunities. The only cost to you or your community is the local match of 20%.

There are two types of racks to choose from, the Bike Dock and the Stadium Rack. The Bike Dock holds two bikes and the free-standing Stadium Racks hold six or eight bikes.  Go to GoMaine.org for the application packet .  Quantities are limited and prices are valid through March 2010.  Contact Erik West at GoMaine at 774-9891 for current program status and pricing, and any other questions related to bicycle commuting.

Commuter Stories Shared Through GO MAINE

Check out GO MAINE superstars and their stories. These are videos of Maine commuters and their experiences on the road to work, in carpools, vanpools, the bus, and on bike and foot. View them now! Plus, find GO MAINE on Facebook and share your commuting stories…

Additional Opportunities – Jan, Feb 2010

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Check Out New Green Streets Online Calendar for Timely Events!

We’re excited to finally have added a Green Streets transportation-related events calendar to our website – so please check it throughout the month for timely notices on Greater Portland happenings (on the right sidebar of our home page).  An added bonus: you can add any event to your calendar (scroll down to the bottom of the event description and click on “copy to my calendar”).  And feel free to submit transportation-related events info to us at portlandgreenstreets@yahoo.com

DUE FEBRUARY 2 – Worksite Wellness MiniGrant Applications – for worksites in Baldwin, Harrison, Bridgton, Naples, Casco, Sebago, Raymond, Windham, Standish, Gorham, Westbrook, Scarborough, South Portland, and Cape Elizabeth

Another grant opportunity to get more folks walking and biking – thanks to the hard work of the Healthy Maine Partnerships – see Worksite Wellness RFA Rivers 2010 Application for more details, the application, and contact information.  Check it out – there’s enough time!

Looking For a Car Bike Rack? Green Streeter Has One To Give Away

Longtime bike-ped advocate and active Green Streeter Bobbi Keppel has “a bike rack with straps that is for a car with trunk. I’d be happy to donate it to someone who could use it. Maybe someone from Green Streets can find a home for it.”  Please e-mail herif you’re interested: bobbik@gwi.net

Check Out New Website for Sharing Local Resources

No need to travel too far from home for what you need!  www.ClosestCloset.Com is a conservation website – based out of Scarborough – where members list and “share” resources or skills.  Here’s a recent article written in Mainetoday – check it out and sign up!

Weekly Bike Maintenance Classes from Gorham Bike & Back Bay Bicycle

Every Thursday there are bike maintenance & mechanic classes at Gorham Bike & Ski (flat tire workshop) and Back Bay Bicycle (flat tire workshop alternating with drive train maintenance).  Check their sites for class time and other info.

Bring a U Car Vehicle to Munjoy Hill!

Car Sharing is a wonderful way to save money (get rid of your other car!) while having the convenience of a car when you need it – and you only pay for the time you’re actually using it. U Car Share (run by U Haul) pays EVERYTHING, including gas, maintenance, and insurance. Rate for a Chrysler PT Cruiser is $9.50 per hour, or $66 per day.  It’s  wonderful service! If you live on the East End in Portland get your membership application fee waived for a limited time.   Log in at www.ucarshare.com to sign up anduse this promotional code: MUNJOYHILL. If enough East Enders join, the company will locate a car close by. For more information, contact Peter Alexander at 773-4606.

Events and Opportunities – Oct, Nov

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Green Streeter Ian Riddell, Halloween 2008

Green Streeter Ian Riddell, Halloween 2008

Oct 28 – Westbrook Sebago to the Sea Trail Meeting

Public meeting on Sebago to the Sea Trail, Westbrook High School, 5:30 pm

Oct 30 – Halloween Costume Bike Ride

Improptu Halloween Costume Bike Ride starting at Monument Square, Portland, 6pm.  It was a fun informal gathering last year (see photos at the bottom of this post from last fall).  Go to Portland Bike Commuter Meetup for details and don’t forget your lights!

Oct 31 – Pedestrian Safety Tips for Halloween

Smart, comprehensive tips for your friends & family (and motorists) from the national Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center.

Oct 31 – Fun Bike Rodeo at Public Health Fair (& Bike Volunteers Needed!)

40 members from the medical field, human services, non-profit organizations and government agencies will focus on topics of personal health, physical fitness, nutrition and safety for all ages…includes children’s finger printing & ID’s.  The Portland Bike Commuter Meetup will be there, organizing a fun bicycle skills course, bike safety checks, and bike/helmet inspections for all ages. Father Hayes Center, 673 Stevens Ave., 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. Free Admission.

Also, Green Streets volunteers are needed at this event! Jobs include: helmet fitters, bike evaluators, and bike course monitors. MECHANICS ARE ESPECIALLY NEEDED! Organizers can teach you helmet fit and bike checking, if necessary. If you can come help with this event, please notify Meetup organizer, John Brooking at bike@mainebrook.com the hours you can be there and if you already have any of the skills mentioned or will need training. Or just feel free to show up and help anyway! (It’s Halloween, but it’s over by 2, plenty of time!)

Nov 3 – Vote Yes on Question 6

On November 3, Mainers will vote on a $55 million bond referendum for highway and bridge construction and maintenance.  The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s board of directors supports this request (ballot question 6) because cyclists benefit from many road and bridge improvements.

The reverse also is true.  When bridges and roads fall into disrepair, then cycling conditions deteriorate and, in some cases, make travel impossible. That is the situation now on Memorial Bridge between Maine and New Hampshire.  The bridge, which provides the only way for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the Piscataqua River between the two states, recently was closed for emergency repairs due to long-neglected maintenance. We cannot afford for that to happen elsewhere in the state.  That is why the coalition board supports Question 6.

APPLY NOW – Nov 13 Deadline – $500 Mini-Grants from Healthy Casco Bay

Healthy Casco Bay is excited to announce the availability of mini-grants of up to $500 for initiatives that promote/support healthy living among people who live, work and play in the towns of Cumberland, Chebeague Island, Falmouth, Freeport, Gray, Long Island, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and Yarmouth.

The goal of these funds is to promote/support community initiatives which use education, programming, policy and environmental change to nimprove public health – through better nutrition, decrease in tobacco use and substance abuse and increased physical activity – including promoting bicycling and walking. The Request for Applications is available for download at www.healthycascobay.org

RESPOND NOW – Nov 16 Deadline – Submit Bike Rack and Park & Ride Location Suggestions to GoMAINE – & Enter Raffle for $500 Savings Bond

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine and GO Maine are launching a new program to establish more bike racks and Park & Ride lots throughout Maine. Tell them your location suggestions, and you could win a $500 U.S. Savings bond.  Go to GOMaine’s Web site to find out more and to fill out a brief survey with your suggestion.  The contest and raffle closes on November 16.

Nov 17 – Public Meeting on Pownal Center Bridge

MaineDOT will hold a public meeting on November 17 at 6 p.m. in the Dewitt Room at Pownal Town Hall to discuss replacement of the Pownal Center Bridge.  For more information, please contact Jim Wentworth.

Back Cove Blog theme photo

Check Out Great New Back Cove Blog

If your commute takes you by Back Cove, check out a new blog devoted to news and feature stories about the cove: www.backcovemorning.blogspot.com. You’ll find a cove community bulletin board, wildlife updates, interviews with cove regulars and much more. Your contributions are welcome!

Weekly Bike Maintenance Classes from Gorham Bike & Back Bay Bicycle

Every Thursday there are bike maintenance & mechanic classes at Gorham Bike & Ski (flat tire workshop) and Back Bay Bicycle (flat tire workshop alternating with drive train maintenance).  Check their sites for class time and other info.

Enter Now to Win Custom Built Bike! Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s 2009 Super Raffle

The winner will receive a handmade, custom Maine bicycle valued at more than $3,500. Additional information is available on their Web site http://www.bikemain e.org/superraffle.htm

AMTRAK Downeaster Specials

College 6Tix – Get smart this semester. Purchase a College 6TIX pass and get six one-way trips on the Amtrak Downeaster for just $76. With up to 50% off the regular fare, it’s a no brainier.

Early risers are rewarded on Saturdays and Sundays. Pay just $24.00 round-trip when traveling on train 690 and 695, 697, or 699. Tickets must be purchased at least three days in advance of travel. Reference promotion code v175. Blackout dates and restrictions may apply.

The Downeaster is currently offering 50% off the price of any Downeaster ticket for senior citizens (62+) and folks with disabilities. The discount can be used any day of the week and on any Downeaster train. To take advantage of this discount, travelers must use discount code V543 and must reserve their tickets at least three days in advance. Seniors will need to show proof of age; disabled folks will need to show a Medicare card or other proof of disability status. Disabled individuals can book tickets over the phone or at a staffed ticket window, due to a limitation in Amtrak’s web site - for contact and station information click here. All in all, this is a fabulous discount and a great way for seniors and disabled folks to get out, enjoy the summer, and leave the car at home!

This Fall – Don’t Forget the New Covered Bike Racks in Spring St. Garage!

Thanks to the hard work of and financing from the Portland Downtown District, new bike racks that hold 20 bikes have been added just inside the Spring Street garage at the entrance on Free Street in Portland.  Spread the word – bikes parked there are out of the rain and in a safe location.  An enormous plus for people who ride (or get stuck) in inclement weather.

Bring a U Car Vehicle to Munjoy Hill!

Car Sharing is a wonderful way to save money (get rid of your other car!) while having the convenience of a car when you need it – and you only pay for the time you’re actually using it. U Car Share (run by U Haul) pays EVERYTHING, including gas, maintenance, and insurance. Rate for a Chrysler PT Cruiser is $9.50 per hour, or $66 per day.  It’s  wonderful service! If you live on the East End in Portland get your membership application fee waived for a limited time.   Log in at www.ucarshare.com to sign up anduse this promotional code: MUNJOYHILL. If enough East Enders join, the company will locate a car close by. For more information, contact Peter Alexander at 773-4606.

Sign In Now – Green Streets Day this Friday, September 25th!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Sign in now (click here) – Please take a minute to sign in now (and every month!) if you plan to walk, bike, take public transit, carpool, and/or telecommute this Green Streets Day – Friday, September 25th. Signing in helps us see our growing numbers as we become a greener city and signs you up for raffle prizes donated by local businesses!

On Green Streets Day, visit one of our Green Streets Sponsors for freebies and discounts. Find the Green Streets Sponsor nearest you with this great map! Or read the rest of this entry for a list of participating local businesses.

Still not convinced? Here are 5 Reasons You Should Commute Green This Month:

  1. Now that Labor Day has passed, the tourist traffic has died down. Time for locals to re-claim the city!
  2. Enjoy those sunny mornings and evenings before the days get shorter!
  3. In Maine, fall means less rain and more blue skies… and snow isn’t here yet.
  4. Get outside and watch the leaves change.
  5. Best solution for a slower economy? Walk past and support your local businesses to keep Greater Portland thriving.

Don’t forget to wear something green this Friday. And as always – please e-mail us photos of you (& any other folks!) getting around green at PortlandGreenStreets@yahoo.com!

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