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Signs of spring are everywhere – have a great time out there getting around green. It’s spectacular on the sunny days – and maybe not as easy on the heavy rainy days, but still doable. And exhilarating!
(2-3 minutes) Take our Portland Green Streets Survey – Please fill out this quick survey to help focus our work to change commuting behavior and move beyond the single-occupancy vehicle in Greater Portland. Special thanks to the League of Young Voters and GreenDrinks for help with getting this survey out to a wider audience at the March GreenDrinks event!
PGS Survey Table @ March GreenDrinks - Elliott May/GreenDrinks photo
On Tuesday, March 9th Portland Green Streets had the honor of being the Featured Non-Profit at the two year celebration of the monthly Portland GreenDrinks event. The evening was almost balmy and drew over 350 environmentally-interested folks – including roughly 40 Green Streeters – to this month’s venue: 645 Congress. (645 Congress is the former “Portland Dorm” that has been beautifully renovated to provide housing and retail space – and offers discounted rent to those living without a car.)
It was a great night for Portland Green Streets:
Not only did we sign up over 160 new people for our e-newsletter (especially important for the monthly work we do)
We also received $850 in door fee donations for our initiative (a huge fundraiser for our super low-budget operation!)
Thanks to the League of Young Voters, GreenDrinks’ Action Partner, for their assistance with setting up the survey we’d been developing online – and for lending equipment and oversight at the event to make it all possible.
Elliott May/GreenDrinks photo
Special thanks to our awesome Green Streets volunteers – Nan Cumming, Carl Eppich, Drew Masterman, Rebecca Minnick, Gail Wartell, and Maryann Welsch – who came out to put a face on our initiative, encouraged folks to sign-up and participate, and also handled the entrance fees.
And thanks, GreenDrinks, for the opportunity to be featured and for making this terrific event happen every month in our region!
This week, Governor Baldacci announced that Healthy Portland, a program of the City of Portland, Health and Human Services Department, Public Health Division was awarded a $1.8 million grant from the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) through the America’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act for obesity prevention work in Portland. The grant will support Power Up Portland, a local initiative to reduce obesity rates through improving nutrition and increasing physical activity – including encouraging active human-powered transportation.
“Nearly 58% of the adult population in Cumberland County is either obese or overweight,” stated Joan Ingram, Program Coordinator for Healthy Portland. “This grant will make a critical difference as we engage the community to make life-saving changes in their diet or daily activity. Whether it’s walking the Back Cove or making a more informed decision about what to eat for lunch, or riding a bike to work, people need to know that there are easy choices they can make to help reduce obesity and their community is here to support them.”
In a 2008 report by the Trust for America’s Health, Maine had the highest return on investments made to prevent chronic disease. For each dollar invested in evidence based chronic disease prevention programs, Maine could save $7.50 in health care costs.
During the two-year grant period, Healthy Portland will partner with a variety of organizations including the city’s Public Services Department, Minority Health Program, Portland Trails, WinterKids, Let’s Go!, and the Portland Public Schools to engage the community.
Specific initiatives that will encourage walking, biking and active transportation include:
Developing a comprehensive bike and pedestrian plan for Portland.
Increasing usage of the city’s trail system.
Improving biking infrastructure including additional bike lanes and bike racks.
Creating safe routes to schools for children walking to school.
New Health Care Law Will Offer Funding for Active Transportation and Bike-Ped Improvements
As part of its provisions to support healthier lifestyles, the newly passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will offer a new source of funds for active transportation and bike-ped improvements – see more in this blog post from Matthew Yglesias.
Great U.S. DOT Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation!
photo by J. Maus of Bike Portland
After his table-top stand at the National Bike Summit, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood issued this policy statement on bicycle and pedestrian accommodation – including equality, convenient access, and increasing standards.
A great improvement, and, as at least one local Green Streeter said, “we need to remind Maine planners and transportation officials of this policy at every opportunity!”
Every Day Until April 2 – Vote for Falmouth’s Plummer-Motz to get a Hybrid Bus!
The fourth graders at the Plummer Motz School in Falmouth have learned they are one of 10 finalists in the nationwide “America’s Greenest School” contest – requiring K-12 entrants to submit an entry showing how their school could become greener. The Plummer Motz team chose to make a video showing students and adults “simple” ways to be green – including promoting carpooling and bus riding. People from across the country are being asked to vote at the site once each day starting Monday, March 22nd until April 2nd – so pass this on and please vote! (Every day you vote you’re entered to win a $100 gift card.) They could win a hybrid bus worth $150,000 and scholarship funds for the students. And check out their video on YouTube for fun and inspiration.
By March 31 – Check Out GoMaine and Enter to Win $100 Gift Card
GO MAINE has launched a new website, and with that, a new commuter ridematching system. Check out both this month and you could win a $100 gift card good for gas, dining, entertainment, or shopping! The website has a fresh look and lots of great information for commuters. The new ridematching system makes it easier and faster than ever to find a carpool match, an empty seat on a vanpool, transit or bike commuting info, or a Park & Ride lot, interactively online. As always, GO MAINE is free, fast, confidential and there’s no obligation.It’s easy to enter to win:Just visit the GO MAINE website homepage and click on the icon “Sign Up or Log In Here!” Log in or create a new commuter account and you’ll automatically be entered into the prize drawing!
Due April 2 – Safe Routes Funding for Stronger Walk & Bike to School Activities
The Maine Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) is excited to announce a raffle for school initiatives that hold four or more Walk and Bike to School events, conduct a School Travel Plan, and/or host Bike and Pedestrian Safety programs in addition to events, in Spring 2010. The Safe Routes to School Program is committed to working with schools and communities to boost the number of students safely walking and bicycling to Maine schools year-round. SRTS will award up to 20 raffle winners, up to $250 each. Deadline to apply is April 2, 2010. See here for more information and application form.
Due April 2 – Healthy Portland $1,000 Mini-Grant to Boost Physical Activity
Healthy Portland is excited to announce the availability of mini-grants for initiatives that will create more opportunities for physical activity in Portland, Maine. If you are interested in applying for one of the mini-grants, please follow the instructions on this Request for Applications (RFA).
Biking Directions Added to Google Maps
Portland made the list of 150 cities for the Google Maps Directions for Bicycling in beta. There’s even a link to reporting problems with the route Google Maps gives you. Tukey’s Bridge and some other facilities are currently not factored in – so Green Streeters should have a go and update Google as much as possible.
Heading to Boston or somewhere in between, there are always great promotions to inspire a trip on the Amtrak Downeaster.
As Green Streeter Rob Levin shared recently, “One of those cabin fever Saturdays this January, our family took a trip to Dover, NH on the Downeaster. With a couple different discounts it cost us no more than driving and was a lot more fun. We got to escape for the day and see the Children’s Museum of NH (very impressive!). We also had the chance to explore this cool small neighbor city and climbed a historic tower with spectacular views in all directions. It was a great adventure.”
Check out these current Downeaster promotions and follow your own train-ride bliss:
Seniors Ride for Half-Price Everyday – Seniors ages 62+ ride for half-price everyday. Pay just $12 one-way or $24 round-trip between Portland and Boston. To receive this discount you must reference code v543.
Fan Fare- Save 25% -If you’re heading to Boston for a game or a show, you’ll find our schedule fits the bill. Save 25% off your travel on trains 684, 686, 694, or 696 when you return on train 689 or 699 the same day. And if your event is at the TD Garden, riding the train is even more convenient since North Station is attached to the Garden! Reference promotion code V203. Offer Expires June 30, 2010. Some blackout dates may apply.
Kids Ride Free on Sundays – and Half Price Everyday - If you’re looking for something different to do with the kids, a trip on the train is just the ticket! Up to two kids, age 2-15, can ride the Downeaster FREE on Sundays with every full fare adult. And kids 2 to 15 years old ride half-price every day. Infants under 2 ride free. Reference promotion code V581 for Sunday rides. Offer Expires June 25, 2010. Some blackout dates may apply.
$39 Round-Trip - Book three days in advance and pay only $39 per person for same day round-trip travel between Portland, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, and Boston.
Medical Travel — 25% Discount - To make it easier when you or a loved one is sick, patients traveling to medical appointments (and one companion) save 25% through 2009. Reference promotion code: V165 – Offer expires December 31, 2010 – Blackout dates: ALL Saturdays and Sundays
PLEASE NOTE: For most of the above offers, tickets must be purchased three days in advance of travel to take advantage of the discount. See Downeaster website to book tickets and for more details.
SAVE THESE DATES
Blessing of the Bicycles (May 16) – an interfaith “Blessing of the Bicycles” (and all human-powered wheeled transportation) hosted at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland on Sunday, May 16, at 1 PM. Please bring your bicycles, wheel chairs, skateboards, roller blades/skates and join the celebration!
2nd Annual Get to Worship a Greener Way Weekend (May 14-16)
Commute Another Way Week (May 17-21)
National Bike to Work Day (May 21) – this year with various events sponsored by GoMaine in downtown Portland
More to come on the Blessing and Get to Worship A Greener Way Weekend from co-organizers Portland Green Streets and the Portland Bike Commuter Meetup. And more details to follow on Commute Another Way Week and National Bike to Work Day from Go Maine!
Portland Green Streets will be the Featured Non-Profit at the two-year anniversary of Portland GreenDrinks on Tuesday, 3/9 from 5:30-8pm!
The venue is 645 Congress, the historic former “Portland Hall” dorm that has been renovated to house spacious apartments (with discounted rent for tenants who are living car-free) and retail spaces (new home of Local Sprouts). It is a big space with plenty of room to saunter about and network with environmentally-minded folks from Greater Portland.
Thanks to input from GreenDrinks participants, the group has revamped it’s monthly event model and as the Featured Non-Profit this month, Green Streets will not only host a table, but also be:
offering an on-site Action Item for those attending the event (a quick on-line survey to boost Green Streets’ effectiveness to get more people going green – that will take 3-5 minutes)
receiving part of the proceeds from the door ($2 if you bring a drinking vessel (BYOV) or $5 if you don’t)