Warning: syntax error, unexpected $end, expecting ']' in /home/portland/public_html/wp-content/plugins/owa/modules/base/data/php_browscap.ini on line 61 in /home/portland/public_html/wp-content/plugins/owa/owa_browscap.php on line 119

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/portland/public_html/wp-content/plugins/owa/owa_browscap.php on line 95
Portland Green Streets » Transportation Advocacy, Events, & Opportunities

Archive for the 'Transportation Advocacy, Events, & Opportunities' Category

Be Inspired to Adopt a Stop!

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Adopt-a-Stop volunteer Jim Flanagan - Lincoln & BroadwayBus Stop Adopters – Why They Do It

If you ask Jim Flanagan why he clears snow at the bus stop at the corner of Lincoln and Broadway near the AutoZone in South Portland, you’ll likely hear him say, “I used to catch the bus at this stop before they changed the routes. And I still keep it up because…it’s something nice to do.” He points to the three foot cut he’s made in the snow bank that separates the road from the sidewalk and remarks that the Adopt-a-Stop program is similar to the Fire Department asking for citizens to shovel out fire hydrants. “It’s an easy thing to do to help the community,” he says.

Flanagan is an employee of the South Portland School Department, a new dad, and a three season bike commuter. He’s also one of a small group of volunteers with the Adopt-a-Stop program who help keep major stops on the Portland and South Portland bus routes accessible to riders during the winter months. And with a number of bus stops still waiting on volunteer assistance, the program needs every able-bodied person – including Green Streeters – to consider how they can help.

Adopt-a-Stop volunteer Jackie Jacobson - Brighton Ave.Everyone who volunteers  with Adopt-a-Stop mentions the impact of seeing stops that aren’t shoveled out and transit riders who must either climb over snow banks to get on the bus or stand out in traffic to wait for their rides. Jackie Jacobson is an Adopt-a-Stop volunteer who clears the bus stop a couple blocks from her home, across from the Brighton Medical Center on Brighton Avenue in Portland. “I used to live out on Route 302 and took the bus all the time -and I felt bad seeing all the people blocked from stops buried in snow. So when I heard about Adopt-a-Stop I thought, ‘I could do something for folks near where I live now.’” She usually shovels at the end of the day when she gets home from work, “It’s my big workout for the day. I was out here straight from work last week in a pencil skirt,” she mentions, “As long as I’ve got boots on, I’m all set.”

About Adopt-a-Stop

Adopt-a-Stop was started by volunteer Robert Wagner, a tireless advocate who set up the group’s website and has arranged for reflective gear and shovels for volunteers – as well as signs for each stop, with the name of the volunteer who is keeping the stop clear. You can hear more of Wagner’s story and volunteer Philip Gignac’s in this sweet WCSH story broadcast during last Friday’s storm.

Adopt-a-Stop volunteer Philip Gignac - Woodford St. Gignac meticulously maintains the sidewalks and bus stop in front of his wife’s hair salon, As You Wish (direct from The Princess Bride), on the corner of Highland and Woodford Street. He works for the City Parks and Recreation Department in the before and after school program and explains, “I was doing it already for my wife’s older clients and decided it would be good to volunteer with Adopt-a-Stop.”  The woman who works two doors down tells Gignac she can’t compete with his high standards and people have told him he should win a ‘Cleanest Sidewalk in Portland’ award. “I do a few other houses in the neighborhood, too,” he says, explaining, “ I have a dog I like to walk and if the pathways aren’t clear, well, it’s tough.”

Danny Lord is a full-time transit rider and is so committed as an Adopt-a-Stop volunteer that he shovels out four bus stops on Broadway in South Portland near his mother’s home. Just recently though he’s moved to Portland, and while he still shovels his stops, the distance makes it harder. “I guess I should be looking for a replacement now,” he smiles, “But I’d still like to do 1-2 stops near where I live in Portland.”  He especially appreciates the 10 Ride Tickets given out by the South Portland Bus Service as a benefit to volunteers. “And the sign with my name on it – that’s pretty nice, too!”

Why More Help is Needed

Of course, it’s not a perfect winter wonderland out there for pedestrians and bus riders. Last week when she went to shovel out her stop on Congress Street, Adopt-a-Stop volunteer Elizabeth Trice was disappointed to discover no pedestrian access to crosswalks from the sidewalk – which lies in front of Maine Heart Surgical Associates on Congress Street. “They cleared their sidewalk and parking entrance, but couldn’t be bothered to create access for real pedestrians needing to use the crosswalks. Which then made access to the bus stop impossible. I called their company to let them know they are responsible for this but haven’t heard anything back yet.”  Indeed, according to the City of Portland ordinance on sidewalk snow removal (Sec. 25-173), the sidewalk must be cleared to the curb ramps/intersections along a property frontage.

Adopt-a-Stop sign for Danny Lord - Broadway“I wish I were better at twisting arms,” Wagner says, noting Trice’s frustration and also the bus stop across from Jackie Jacobson’s, right in front of Brighton Medical Center – which is filled with snow. Jacobson offered to clear that stop as well but Wagner thinks that’s too much for one person to have to commit to and shares his hopes that the Medical Center itself – and other entities like it – will take responsibility for shoveling out the stop (especially considering most of the bus riders using that stop are likely visiting their facility).

So reaching out to the community here and lending a little muscle there should pay off!

What Green Streeters Can Do:

If you’re an able-bodied person – please be inspired to Adopt a Stop!

  1. Choose one from the list of stops on the Adopt-a-Stop website.
  2. Or contact Robert Wagner to sign up as a Back-Up Volunteer, to fill in when requested (and when it works for you).
  3. Or, if neither of those work for you, adopt a stop somewhere near you and let Adopt-a-Stop know.
  4. If it feels like a big commitment: find a way to share the care of your stop – talk with a friend, neighbor, or family member about acting as your back-up person.

Other ways to help:

  1. Spread the word about Adopt-a-Stop to your friends, family, co-workers, faith community, etc.  Feel free to pass on this post.
  2. Keep an eye out for major bus stops near you in front of businesses and institutions that aren’t cleared – and contact them about the Adopt-a-Stop program.  Keep it positive and share with them the benefits of getting involved.
  3. Be in touch with Robert Wagner about other ways you can assist with the effort.

What Works – Advice from Current Adopt-a-Stop Volunteers:

  1. Don’t Feel Too Much Pressure – “Robert will let you know about the big storms by e-mail, which is nice” – Philip Gignac  “I’m able to get out to shovel by the afternoon after the storm has ended – and only every once in a while someone has had to climb over the bank before I get there.” Jim Flanagan
  2. Best Time to Shovel – “Just try to shovel the stop out after the big last pass of the City plows – but before it freezes into a big mess” – Jackie Jacobson
  3. Face Traffic When You Shovel and Wear the Safety Vest – “Trucks can come by and splash you, so watch out for that, too.” – Danny Lord  “Maybe keep an eye out for the sidewalk plows, too – they can surprise you sometimes.” Jim Flanagan
  4. Enjoy: Getting Outside, the Mini Workout, and Feeling Part of this Community Effort

Transportation News & Opportunities – Jan, Feb

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

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:

Tell Congress What’s Important to You for the Next Federal Transportation Bill

Congress is looking for input for the next Transportation Bill.   Here is an opportunity to speak up about the importance of pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation!

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

Bicycle-Pedestrian Related

REGISTER NOW – Feb 19 – Snowman Adventure Race (Bike – Run – Sled!)

This unique event features one partner biking 4.5 miles around Back Cove, one partner running 2.25 miles in the East End, with both teammates sledding to the finish line, in any weather condition. Race to benefit Portland Trails. Free hot soup and coffee on site for racers. Parent/child teams welcome.  Full details available on website.

Mar 8-10 – National Bike Summit – Maine Delegation

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is organizing a delegation to the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit on March 8-10 in Washington, D.C.  You’ll get a national overview of bicycling issues and a chance to network with other advocates.  The summit will include a talk by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a true champion of bicycling and Complete Streets.  That alone is worth the price of admission!

If you register for the summit by February 3, you will get the early-bird special rate.  Please notify Cecilia Garton at the coalition office if you are going so that you can join the delegation that will meet with Maine’s congressional representatives.  BCM expects to drive the coalition’s big yellow “Share the Road” van to the summit and will provide rides to members as space allows.

Plan Now for Valentine’s Day for Your Bike Sweetie

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and here’s a gift idea that’s more creative than chocolate:  Buy your sweetheart a ticket in the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s 2011 Super Raffle.  The winner will travel to Tuscany, Italy to join a VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations bike tour.  For every $50 ticket purchased, the coalition will send one of their new T-shirts, so you’ll have a gift to wrap up in red paper on February 14.

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.

Online Bike Rental

Headed out of town? Maybe somewhere warm? We found a great resource, RentaBikeNow.com, which lets you make reservations ahead of time for bike rental at your destination. The search works just like finding airplane tickets, and it returns a map of area bike shops where you can then browse the available selection at each. There’s even a current offer for free roadside assistance with your reservation. Not traveling any time soon? Check out their great list of biking resources.

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 Monthly Passes Highlight Historical Photos

The 2011 METRO Monthly Passes feature historic photos from the Greater Portland area. Each month – January through December – includes an image from the Maine Historical Society’s Maine Memory Network and includes a brief description and image number. It’s easy to learn more about each photo by visiting www.mainememory.net and entering the image number. METRO Monthly Passes, which can be used for one calendar month, are sold for $40 and can be purchased at the METRO Pulse, METRO office, Shaw’s and Hannaford along bus routes and Casco Bay Ferry Terminal.

REMINDER: 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.
  • Download Service Change flier – PDF. 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.

Reminder: heck 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

  • Winter Weather – The Amtrak Downeaster is the right choice in all kinds of weather. Book yourself on the train and feel secure in knowing that you will arrive safely, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.
  • Celtics and Bruins Packages – The Amtrak Downeaster and Our Tickets and Tours have teamed up to offer special sports packages. The price includes round-trip transportation to Boston along with a game ticket. Call 207-787-3184 to reserve your seat. Celtics: February 16 vs. Nets $75 per person; March 2 vs. Suns $75 per person; March 4 vs. Warriors $75 per person.  Bruins: March 3 vs. Lightning $80 per person; March 10 vs. Sabres $80 per person; March 22 vs. Devils $80 per person

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 – 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.

Portland Green Streets Director Transition – Your Help Needed

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

is-this-youDear Friend of Portland Green Streets,

Since 2007, Sarah Cushman has been instrumental in leading our grassroots fight for sustainable ways to commute to work. She launched the monthly Green Streets commute-another-way celebration in Greater Portland, grew the list of businesses offering incentives to those using alternate modes of transportation, facilitated the development of our informational website and e-newsletter, and knitted together Green Streeters of all types to show how we are all part of something bigger. Our organization now has more than 1,900 Greater Portlanders who subscribe to our mission.

After three years Sarah is ready to pass the reins to new leadership for Portland Green Streets. She has generously agreed to continue with us for six months so that the transition to a new Director is as smooth as possible and includes an overlap with her successor. She will also still serve on the Board of Directors.

To advance our ongoing community projects, the Board of Portland Green Streets is launching a search for a new Director. Please review the posting for the position and application details on our website. Parallel to this effort, we are also asking for proposals from partner organizations who might consider incorporating Portland Green Streets as a project within their programming.

Please share the position posting and Request for Proposals with any individual or organization you know that may be interested and qualified. Both are great opportunities, Portland Green Streets is a wonderful initiative, and we’re poised to change transportation behavior ever more toward sustainable modes in Greater Portland.

As always, thanks for your support. We will update you when the search is complete.

Most Sincerely,

Keith Gosselin
Board of Directors

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

Where Are Your Neighbors Headed?

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Where your neighbors are headedHairycow might be a funny name, but their latest information tool offers us an interesting look at commuting in Greater Portland.

Enter people going to the Peninsula (choose to zip code 04101), and this census-based tool shows that 12% of Peninsula workers live on the Peninsula (04101), 30% live in 04106, 04102, and 04103, and the remainder (58%) live further than 8-10 minutes away.

If you’re a data hound, you can quickly determine that 30% of people driving to Portland – the ones farthest away – drive 2/3rds of all of the commuting miles! I hadn’t really thought about this, but in a non-techy example you can see why.  Getting 30 commuters to commute green that live 1 mile away from work saves the same amount of resources as getting 1 commuter who lives 30 miles away.

And having been with Portland Green Streets for a while now, it’s really hard to come up with solutions for people who live outside the 8-10 minute zone.  That’s because buses and bikes and walking become less reasonable alternatives.  Of course, there’s carpooling, “The single largest transport resource…in the entire country are the empty seats in everyone’s car,” said Randy Rentschler in GOOD Magazine, Spring 2009.

But the real way to get people to go green might be to focus on their home purchasing decisions – choosing homes closer to work may ultimately be more successful than focusing on buses and bikes for those already close.  Walkscore.com has a new tool out there to show this from a pocket book perspective.  If you type in your home and work locations, it will calculate how much money you’re paying for this longer commute.  It can really add up – even so much so that the cheaper housing prices outside of Portland might not actually be saving you money.

On the flip side, a car is a car on the road.  And if we’re concerned about lowering the number of cars on the road then there’s no real difference between a short or long distance commuter.  Both of them will use the intersections in town.  Both of them lower interactions between people, reduce people’s activity levels, and choke our air.  But it raises an interesting question, where should resources be focused in greening our streets?

-Keith Gosselin, Board Member, Portland Green Streets

Transportation News & Opportunities – September, October

Sunday, September 19th, 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.

DUE BY Oct 25 -  Healthy Youth Powerful Youth Mini-Grant

A great grant that can be pair with Active Transportation work – Healthy Portland and Healthy Casco Bay are excited to announce the availability of four mini-grants of up to $1,500 each for initiatives that support healthy youth who live, learn, and play in these two HMP regions.  Fundable projects must include one tobacco-free living objective that addresses an environmental or policy change in your community to reduce tobacco use by youth.  Sample programs include:
  • Implementing a NO BUTS! program.
  • Implementing a Star Store program.
  • Increasing the number of tobacco-free recreation areas in your region (i.e., tobacco-free parks, playgrounds, local beaches, and athletic fields).
  • Promoting tobacco-free school grounds (state law).
  • Promoting tobacco-free dining (indoor and outdoor) or state beaches (state laws).

Additionally, the project must include at least one more objective on preventing underage drinking, encouraging better nutrition, or promoting physical activity for a total of at least two objectives. For more information see application.

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.

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.

AMTRAK Downeaster – College 6Tix Returns 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.

Comfortable, Convenient and Money-Saving Vanpool Seats Available NowComfortable, Convenient and Money-Saving Vanpools Available Now

Some of Go Maine’s vanpool routes have immediate seat openings. Maybe there’s one that’ll fit your commute:

  • Van 22 – Portland/Yarmouth to Augusta (North)
  • Van 33 – Topsham to Augusta (East)
  • Van 34 – Augusta/Gardiner to Portland (in-town)
  • Van 35 – Topsham to Augusta (North)
  • Van 42 – Farmington to Augusta
  • Van 44 – Lewiston to Portland (outer Congress St./Jetport/UNUM area)
  • Van 45 – Auburn to Portland (in-town)
  • Van 48 – Newport – Augusta (Capitol area)
  • Van 51 – Bangor to Augusta (Capitol area)
  • Van 53 – Yarmouth/Freeport to Augusta (Capital area)

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

Make Your Voice Heard on MaineDOT’s Draft Local Cost Sharing Policy

In an effort to develop a uniform and equitable policy for sharing the cost of major improvements to the state highway system, MaineDOT has drafted a new local cost sharing policy.   This policy also addresses the cost sharing for new sidewalks as part of road and bridge major projects.  A notice of this recently went out to all municipalities as part of Maine DOT’s Bureau Newsletter.  This draft policy shows MaineDOT paying for the full federal share of sidewalks (80% MaineDOT, 20% Local) in qualifying areas.   This is the same match requirement for MaineDOT’s Quality Community Program stand alone projects with Transportation Enhancement Funding.   With Bridges, because of their size and costs, MaineDOT will be responsible for the entire cost of the sidewalks in a qualifying area where there is a sidewalk planned or currently connected to the bridge.  Local cost shares may be reduced or waived in accordance with the rule implementing Maine ’s Sensible Transportation Policy Act, 17-229 CMR Chapter 103, subchapter III, section 3.  Please review and make comments at Local Cost Sharing Policy (Draft 8-9-10)Comment Form – Submit comments about this draft policy

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!

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.

Cool Apps to Help with Your Commute

Smartphones offer a growing number of apps that can enhance your commute, whether you’re on two wheels, four wheels or public transit.  After some field testing, we’ve put together a list of  applications that every Smartphone wielding road warrior should download immediately: Go to Smartphone Apps info at Go Maine site

Keep Up with Veteran’s Bridge Progress

Since groundbreaking in June this year, construction crews have had a busy summer – see here for more information about the bridge’s progress and bicycle and pedestrian accommodation.

Bicycle Coalition of Maine Receives $18,000 Grant for Advocacy Program

Augusta ­ The Alliance for Biking & Walking in Washington, D.C. has awarded
an $18,000 grant to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine for its Community Spokes
Program. The program will recruit and train rural citizen-advocates to work
for local improvements in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure as well as
state policies that encourage bicycling and walking.

“To successfully engage the many villages and small towns in Maine, we need
trained advocates who are rooted in their own communities,” said Allison
Vogt, the Bicycle Coalition’s executive director. “By increasing our
grassroots muscle in local communities, we also will have a bigger impact on
state policies.”

The Alliance, a coalition of more than 160 grassroots biking and walking
advocacy organizations in North America, awarded four grants to projects
throughout the United States. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine project will
serve as a model for rural communities facing challenges with capacity,
funding and infrastructure for bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

Maine PIRG Students Organizing for Federal Rail Funding

Learn more about Maine Public Interest Resource Group students who are organizing on transit issues.

Call Snowe and Collins Today about the Livable Communities Act

Tuesday, 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!

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.