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Portland Green Streets » 2009 » January

Archive for January, 2009

Sign in Here & This Month’s Incentives – Green Streets Day, Fri., Jan 30!

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

Sign In Here

Start the New Year off with a new (or renewed) committment to getting around green! 

Sign in now here (click here) – Please take a minute and sign in now (and every month!) if you plan to walk, bike, take public transit, carpool, and/or telecommute this Green Streets Day – Friday, January 30th. (Click here and scroll down our main page to see who qualifies as a Green Streeter – anyone can do it!)

And read the rest of this entry (click the “Read the rest of this entry” below and then scroll down the post) for the freebies, discounts, and raffle items from local businesses – for those in Greater Portland who:

  • Wear Green (shirt, pants, socks, whatever!)
  • and Get Around Green (walk, bike, take transit, carpool, telecommute, etc.) on Green Streets Day!

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Reminder: U Car Share is Here – Green Streeters Sign-Up For Free!

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

This is a reminder that U Car Share has arrived in Portland and Green Streeters can sign up for FREE until March 1st! For additional information read on (and see additional comments at the end of the post for helpful info for starting out…)

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January & February – Events & Opportunities

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Feel Free to Comment on Proposed MDOT Economic Stimulus Package

Check out this link for info and to make public comments on potential projects in the Maine Dept. of Transportation’s proposed economic stimulus package – including bicycle and pedestrian, & transit projects.

Feb 6-14 Walk, Bike, Bus or Carpool to WinteRush 2009!

Fun wintry events all over downtown (including a chance to try out snowshoeing with Portland Trails!)  For the schedule of all WinteRush events and other info, click here.

Feb 12 – Public Meeting to Discuss Accommodations for Veranda Street Bridge Closure!

Join MaineDOT at a formal public meeting to discuss traffic control and the construction schedule of the future replacement of the Veranda Street Bridge (#5052), over Canadian Railroad, located 0.30 of a mile northerly of Washington Street . 7:00PM at the Washington Gardens Community Center, 66 Pembroke Street.

Interested folks should definitely attend. The proposed temporary bike/ped solution is to provide a shuttle bus on the 1/2 hour. Originally they were planning on a detour through private property, but apparently this didn’t work out. Not sure if using the 295 shoulder as a temporary bike route was considered. Not sure how long the bridge will be closed.

Representatives of the Maine Department of Transportation will be present at 7:00pm to listen to concerns, receive comments, and answer questions from anyone with an interest in the project. Accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities. Auxiliary aids will be provided upon advance request.

Any inquiries regarding this project may be directed to the attention of Jim Wentworth, Project Manager, Maine Department of Transportation, Bridge Program, Child Street, 16 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0016. Telephone: (207) 624-3414. Email: Jim.Wentworth@ maine.gov.

By Feb 20 – Let the Maine Department of Transportation Know You Care About a New Direction

The Maine Department of Transportation seeks public comment on Connecting Maine: Planning Our Transportation Future (click here) – MaineDOT’s statewide long-range planning document that presents the state’s transportation goals, high-priority objectives and the transportation challenges and opportunities facing Maine over the next twenty+ years.

Connecting Maine identifies the strategic investments that are needed our transportation infrastructure to provide economic growth and improve the quality of life for all who live in Maine.  Long range planning documents such as Connecting Maine are created through a series of hearings, focus groups, surveys, and regional forums among others in order to create a transportation plan that truly reflects Maine. The public comment period of this draft is one of the last steps in finalizing this document. Please take some time to review this document, and provide MaineDOT with your viewpoint on encouraging more alternate transportation options – open to public comment until February 20, 2009.

By Feb 28 – Sign Up for Free for U Car Share

Reminder: U Car Share has arrived in Portland and Green Streeters can sign up for FREE until March 1st! For more info click here

By Feb 28 – Have Bike, Need Rack?

Portland’s Health Initiative asks bikers for help selecting new bike hitch locations – deadline for submitting a request is February 28thTo learn more and for the request form (click here)

     

March 2 – Make Climate Justice History

Capitol climate action – mass civil disobedience in Washington, DC on March 2. From an open letter from Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben: “There are moments in a nation’s-and a planet’s-history when it may benecessary for some to break the law in order to bear witness to an evil, bring it to wider attention, and push for its correction. We think such a time has arrived, and we are writing to say that we hope some of you will join us in Washington D.C. on Monday, March 2 in order to take part in a civil act of civil disobedience outside a coal-fired  power plant near Capitol Hill.  Read more

New Green Streets Promotional Poster!

Download this great new promotional poster (click here) for Portland Green Streets and post it at the office, your favorite public space – wherever!  And thanks to Corey Templeton of Portland Maine Daily Photo for designing it!

Donate a Bike to the CBC in Biddeford

The Community Bicycle Center in Biddeford needs gently used bikes for its programs that teach bicycle repair to youth and community members.  Email the center to find out more about the types of bikes that they can use.

METRO Route #1 and Route #6 Changes

 

 

Beginning January 12, 2009, Greater Portland Transit District (METRO) will provide weekday service (M-F) to Mercy at the Fore. METRO Route #1 will be extended to provide service to Mercy’s Fore River Campus, located on the Fore River Parkway, past St. John Street in Portland. There is no evening service (last scheduled weekday stop at Mercy at the Fore is at 5:53 p.m.), holiday or weekend service to Mercy at the Fore.

Important notice to all METRO riders: This extended service will change the current METRO #1 Route time schedule, and will impact bus service for ALL stops along the #1 Route.

The updated METRO Bus #1 Route and Time Schedule can be downloaded here (pdf), effective date – January 11, 2009 (listed on the front of all schedules).  It will also be available – beginning in January – from bus operators, at the METRO Pulse at Elm Street, and online at www.gpmetrobus.com. For more information, please call METRO at 774-0351.

Also effective in January, METRO Route #6 will no longer provide (twice daily) service to Maine Ave. and Virginia Street.

South Portland Bus Service Reports:

  • Ridership for December 2008 was 28% higher than December 2007. Overall ridership for 2008 was 13% higher than 2007 (Nation wide ridership was 6% higher in this same period).
  • Here is a recent picture of a bus that was added to the South Portland fleet this past summer. This bus has two fewer seats than our bigger buses, but gets a whopping 7.8 miles per gallon average – compared to the biggies with 4.5. (Editor’s note: even if a regular size bus only gets 4.5 mpg – with just 10 riders that means it’s getting 45 passenger mpg, better than most single-occupancy vehicles (which average 1.25 passengers.)
  • South Portland Bus promotions include: All brand-new riders looking to start using the bus can get a free 10-ride bus ticket to learn the system (routes and schedule – click here). Anyone buying the SoPo Bus 10-ride tickets can turn them in when they are used up to any driver – with name and address written on the back- and enter it into a drawing for a free 10-ride bus ticket; 4 winners picked each Friday. South Portland residents should also check their Super Coupon Mailer for free ride coupons for the SoPo Bus! For more info, contact Richard Sargent at rsargent@southportland.org

Photos and Notes from December Green Streeters!

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Ian Riddell writes:

So, I had today off (Friday after Christmas). I took our car in for its 3Ok service at Patriot Subaru. I put my bike in the back and rode it over 15 miles home (in 14 degrees F). That kept my wife from following me in a second car, or them bringing me home in a courtesy shuttle. Another reason to ride more and bike less is that the 30k service cost about $400, enough to buy a new bike =).” Photo of Ian dressed as Shrek for Green Streets Day/Halloween, Ian says, ”I didn’t ride to work in this way because I couldn’t put a helmet on (let alone see).”

Bea Brush, a long-time Green Streeter, writes:

“I really enjoy this time of year, the free Fridays for the holidays, so many folks use the bus more when you do not have to pay. It may be very chilly out, but the holidays bring folks together. I am glad I remained in Maine, in Portland. The bus system is a blessing…I live in Portland and work in Portland.  But, use the bus to South Portland and Falmouth on my days off…I only wish they had better Sunday service, I think folks would use the bus just as much on Sundays as in the weekdays. Have a Merry Christmas or Happy Hannika. Also a wonderful 2009. Keep it green.”

Tracy Burke of Portland writes:

“I am the only employee who officially signs in, the others have been “Green Streeters” without even knowing it, carpooling, taking the bus, walking, etc.”

This photo gallery comes from Rob Levin and his daughter Cedar, of Portland on the day-after-Christmas Green Streets Day!  Rob and his family enjoyed the last Free Fare Friday by taking a trip to Saco aboard the Shuttlebus!  (Complete with a pass by of the new (now open) green-built Saco Transportation Center and train station – including the wind turbine that will power the building; and a scenic walk through Saco, across the Saco river and into sweet downtown Biddeford.)

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Generic E-mail to Send Out to Your Site

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Copy and paste the following into your e-mail program and personalize as you see fit:

Hi everyone:

It’s Green Streets Day in Greater Portland this Friday, [INSERT DATE]! Join the fun again (or for the first time) this month!

Leave your car at home that day and:

Sign in now if you’ll be going green this Fridayit takes about 30 seconds and helps collect terrific green commuting data! Plus it’s fun to enter the raffle (but you can still sign in and just make a note if you want to opt out of the raffle, too).

You’ll be part of making a difference – as well as being involved in a region-wide party!  [INSERT WHAT YOU'LL BE WEARING THAT'S GREEN AND HOW YOU'LL BE COMMUTING GREEN THAT DAY]

Check out www.PortlandGreenStreets.org for more information & fun!

[YOUR NAME]

Capitol Climate Action – Mass Civil Disobedience in Washington, DC on March 2.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

This comes from an open letter from Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben:

“There are moments in a nation’s-and a planet’s-history when it may benecessary for some to break the law in order to bear witness to an evil, bring it to wider attention, and push for its correction. We think such a time has arrived, and we are writing to say that we hope some of you will join us in Washington D.C. on Monday, March 2 in order to take part in a civil act of civil disobedience outside a coal-fired  power plant near Capitol Hill.

We will be there to make several points:

  • Coal-fired power is driving climate change. Our foremost climatologist, NASA’s James Hansen, has demonstrated that our only hope of getting our atmosphere back to a safe level-below 350 parts per million CO2  lies in stopping the use of coal to generate electricity.
  • Even if climate change were not the urgent crisis that it is, we would still be burning our fossil fuels too fast, wasting too much energy, and releasing too much poison into the air and water. We would still need to slow down, and to restore thrift to its old place as an economic virtue.
  • Coal is filthy at its source. Much of the coal used in this country comes from West Virginia and Kentucky, where companies engage in “mountaintop removal” to get at the stuff; they leave behind a leveled wasteland, and impoverished human communities. No technology better exemplifies the out-of-control relationship between humans and the rest of creation.
  • Coal smoke makes children sick. Asthma rates in urban areas near coal-fired power plants are high. Air pollution from burning coal is harmful to the health of grown-ups too, and to the health of everything that breathes, including forests.

The industry claim that there is something called “clean coal” is, put simply, a lie. But it’s a lie told with tens of millions of dollars, which we do not have. We have our bodies, and we are willing  to use them to make our point. We don’t come to such a step lightly.

We have written and testified and organized politically to make this point for many years, and while in recent months there has been real progress against new coal-fired power plants, the daily business of
providing half our electricity from coal continues unabated. It’s time to make clear that we can’t safely run this planet on coal at all.

So we feel the time has come to do more – we hear President Barack Obama’s call for a movement for change that continues past election day, and we hear Nobel Laureate Al Gore’s call for creative non-violence
outside coal plants. As part of the international negotiations now underway on global warming, our nation will be asking China, India, and others to limit their use of coal in the future to help save the planet’s atmosphere. This is a hard thing to ask, because it’s their cheapest fuel. Part of our witness in March will be to say that we’re willing to make some sacrifices ourselves, even if it’s only a trip to the jail.

With any luck, this will be the largest such protest yet, large enough that it may provide a real spark. If you want to participate with us, you need to go through a short course of non-violence training. This will be, to the extent it depends on us, an entirely peaceful demonstration, carried out in a spirit of hope and not rancor. We will be there in our dress clothes, and ask the same of you. There will be young people, people from faith communities, people from the coal fields of Appalachia, and from the neighborhoods in Washington that get to breathe the smoke from the plant.

We will cross the legal boundary of the power plant, and we expect to be arrested. After that we have no certainty what will happen, but lawyers and such will be on hand. Our goal is not to shut the plant down for the day – it is but one of many, and anyway its operation for a day is not the point. The worldwide daily reliance on coal is the danger; this is one small step to raise awareness of that ruinous habit and hence help
to break it.

Needless to say, we’re not handling the logistics of this day.   All the credit goes to a variety of groups, especially the Energy Action Coalition (which is bringing thousands of young people to Washington that weekend), Greenpeace, the Ruckus Society, and the Rainforest Action Network. A website at that latter organization is serving as a temporary organizer (click here).

If you go there, you will find a place to leave your name so that we’ll know you want to join us.

Thank you,

Wendell Berry and  Bill McKibben

P.S.   This is important: Please forward this letter to anyone and everyone you think might be interested.”

December Green Streets Day Raffle Results!

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Thanks so much to all of you who signed in with your participation in Green Streets Day, Friday, December 26th!

Hope everyone had lovely a lovely Solstice, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, & New Year – and welcome to the season of returning light. (On January 6th we start gaining light on both ends of the day!)

Just like over Thanksgiving, we knew we’d take a dive in documented participants with Green Streets Day falling the day after Christmas  :) (and for the future, please know that it still counts if you’re getting around green that day while on vacation)!  With people able to report others going green at their locations, we have an estimated number of 100 total participants – and there were 32 of you tried-and-true folks signing in:

  • 9 walking, 6 biking, 10 taking the bus, train or ferry, 3 carpooling or vanpooling, and 4 using multiple modes (i.e., some combination of the above)!
  • collectively saving 320 single-occupancy vehicle miles! (many of you saving those kinds of miles every day)
  • keeping approximately $26 in gas money in your wallets!
  • improving our air quality & individual health, & reducing our CO2 emissions by approximately 260 pounds!
  • enjoying the opportunity to get outdoors a bit more and/or share transportation with others
  • starting (& continuing) a fun and important conversation with the people of our community about how we get around!

Note: please continue to sign in every month – and please talk to other Green Streets participants about doing so as well. It helps us with participation data, like number of miles & emissions saved, commuting methods used, etc!

Now! The winners for this month’s raffle items are:

Winners will be notified how to claim their prizes.

Thanks again to the South Portland Bus Service, Others!, Maine Running Company, O’Naturals, the Children’s Museum, Nomads, Port City Life, METRO, WMPG, 2 Dine In, and Healthy Portland, for your gifts to the Portland Green Streets initiative!

Have a great month out there going green and please join us for our Getting Around Green Storytelling meetup at Homegrown Herb and Tea next Wednesday, Jan 14th – and take note of the other upcoming Events and Opportunities in the post below!

January Events and Opportunities

Monday, January 5th, 2009

January 14 – Getting Around Green, Storytelling Circle!

Vivekrajkanhangad, Creative CommonsCome in out of the cold!  In the dead of frigid, dark winter, we suspect our primitive forebears would huddle around a campfire for warmth, telling stories to keep their spirits up. (And no doubt imbibing some warm spirits too!) On January 14th, Green Streeters and members of the Portland Bicycle Commuting Meetup will carry on the tradition! And don’t worry, we’ll be inside at the cozy Homegrown Herb & Tea!

Bring your best getting-around-green story or memory: How you got started, why you love getting around in ways other than in a single-occupancy vehicle, your biggest adventure, your best childhood memory, that time you and a friend did that really stupid thing, whatever. Purchase a cuppa whatever catches your fancy from Homegrown Herb & Tea and cozy in!

  • When: Wednesday, January 14th, 6:30-8:30pm
  • Where: Homegrown Herb & Tea, 195 Congress Street, Portland

Please RSVP to portlandgreenstreets@yahoo.com – thanks!  And check back for any weather or other updates on this event up until the evening of the 14th.

January 15 – Sustainable Portland by 2030! How Do We Get There?

4:30 – 7:30pm, Portland Museum of Art, FREE. Please join Portland Society of Architects and The Urban Land Institute at a forum to identify and discuss strategies for achieving a sustainable Portland. Many groups are examining the challenges that face Portland. This open forum will be the first in a series of meetings that brings these forces together to envision the City’s future. Keynote speaker Gary Lawrence, former Planning Director for Seattle, developed the first sustainability-focused municipal comprehensive plan in the world. He is an internationally known expert on communities that address human need and environmental limitations -and also a provocative and entertaining speaker.  For panelists and other event info, click here.

Tell Congress: Let’s Get Moving

Smart investments in our nation’s transportation system should be a key component of any economic stimulus package Congress puts together. Help make sure Congress hears the message loud and clear!

Take a moment now to forward them a recent Washington Post editorial that made a strong, clear case for why investing in a clean public transportation network now will kick-start the economy and lay the groundwork for a longer-term “green” recovery – click here to use this easy Transportation for America form (and personalize it as you see fit!).

And per the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, please take another 15 seconds to fill out this Rails to Trails Conservancy petitition along similar lines, asking for economic recovery money to be put toward bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure!

Help the Eastern Trail Alliance with this Bicycle Signage Survey

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=_2bdmAJQR4_2f7OrJANA0wbg2Q_3d_3d

This survey will provide preliminary data that will help the East Coast Greenway Alliance to get a proper hearing from the national committee now considering changes to their bicycle-route, roadway, and trail signage. If you can spare 12 minutes to fill it out, you will have done much to help this important process.

Thanks and a Happy Greenway 2009!

U Car Share Comes to Portland, Green Streeters Sign Up for Free!

Thanks to many of you participating in a grassroots initiative to bring car sharing to Portland, the city has agreed to partner with U Car Share to provide the community with a true car sharing program downtown.   In addition, thanks to an exclusive offer from U Car, Green Streets participants can forego the $50 sign-up fee and become U Car members for free! See our post for more information and updates.

METRO Route #1 and Route #6 Changes

Beginning January 12, 2009, Greater Portland Transit District (METRO) will provide weekday service (M-F) to Mercy at the Fore. METRO Route #1 will be extended to provide service to Mercy’s Fore River Campus, located on the Fore River Parkway, past St. John Street in Portland. There is no evening service (last scheduled weekday stop at Mercy at the Fore is at 5:53 p.m.), holiday or weekend service to Mercy at the Fore.

Important notice to all METRO riders: This extended service will change the current METRO #1 Route time schedule, and will impact bus service for ALL stops along the #1 Route.

The updated METRO Bus #1 Route and Time Schedule can be downloaded here (pdf), effective date – January 11, 2009 (listed on the front of all schedules).  It will also be available – beginning in January – from bus operators, at the METRO Pulse at Elm Street, and online at www.gpmetrobus.com. For more information, please call METRO at 774-0351.

Also effective in January, METRO Route #6 will no longer provide (twice daily) service to Maine Ave. and Virginia Street.