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Portland Green Streets » 2010 » April

Archive for April, 2010

Blessing of the Bicycles and Get to Worship a Greener Way Weekend

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

To jump start Commute Another Way Week festivities, Portland Green Streets and the Portland Bike Commuter Meetup are organizing the 2nd Annual:

  • Get to Worship a Greener Way Weekend – asking those who attend church, synagogue, mosque and other faith services to consider carpooling, taking the bus, walking, or biking to worship the weekend of May 14-16.
  • Blessing of the Bicycles (and all human-powered wheeled transportation) hosted at the Cathedral of St. Luke, 143 State Street in Portland, on Sunday, May 16, at 1 PM. Rain or shine.

Please bring your bicycles, wheel chairs, skateboards, roller blades/skates and join the celebration!

The interfaith Blessing will be officiated by local Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy.  This event is open to all regardless of religious affiliation, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, fat or thin tires, frame material, and brand of bike. We welcome unicyclists, Unitarians, and “uni-gears” (fixies).  See here for last year’s event.

For any last minute updates please see the Portland Green Streets and/or Portland Bike Commuter Meetup Calendars.

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

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

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


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

Sign in Here Now – Green Streets Day this Friday, April 30

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

get-on-the-bus-mother-daughter-small1Spring is in full gear!  Have a great time out there getting around green – what’s a little rain? :)

Please take 30 seconds to  Sign in Here for Green Streets Day – Friday, April 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.

Federal Active Transportation Act & Portland Trails – Please Take Action!

Monday, April 26th, 2010

the-bikers-on-their-return-closer.bmpAs you may know, Portland Trails has been working hard to get funds for walking and biking into the upcoming reauthorization of the federal transportation act.  We are  excited to announce that on Tuesday, March 2, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) introduced H.R. 4722, the “Active Community Transportation Act of 2010″ (ACT Act), on the floor of the House of Representatives.

You can help the effort by asking our representatives, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, to co-sponsor the bill. It’s easy and quick to do.  Phone calls work best:

Mike Michaud’s Washington congressional office (202-225-6306) or Bangor office (207-942-6935).

Chellie Pingree’s Washington congressional office (202-225-6116) or Portland office (207-774-5019).

Tell the staff person who answers that you are calling to encourage Michaud/Pingree to co-sponsor the Active Community Transportation Act.  Then tell the staffer why it’s important to you.  Make it short, sweet, and personal, for example, “I walk Back Cove on the weekends, but if Portland had more bicycle lanes, I would be able to bike from my home to work several days a week – I’d be healthier and there’d be one less car clogging the roads around Portland.”  End the call with a thank you and a final request that Pingree/Michaud agree to co-sponsor the bill.

If you’re not comfortable telephoning, you can also just fill in the e-mail form provided by the Rails to Trails Conservancy at this link:   https://secure2.convio.net/rtt/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=209

Events & Opportunities – April, May, June

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

Portland Green Streets Calendar

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

May 7 – Portland Slow-Riders Group Has Formed – First Friday Art Walk Rides!

A Portland Slow Riders group has formed (see Facebook Group) and is organizing First Friday Art Walk Rides. “Calling all mellow pedalers! Let’s plan some rides that include picnics, pretty bikes, friends, kids, grannies and grampies, ice cream, high heels, and anything else that is outside the realm of spandex and performance…something along the lines of Portland Trails and an Eastern Promenade Picnic. With kites. Maybe a ukulele.”  Next one coming up Friday May 7, 7 PM, Monument Square.

REGISTER NOW – May 11-12 Bicycling Basics, Part 1 – A Great Course!

A great two-evening course from the Portland Bike Commuting Meetup! League Cycling Instructors Jim Tasse (Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Education Director), Erik West (GO MAINE’s Bicycle Commuter Education Program Director) and John Brooking (Bike Commuting Meetup Lead Organizer) will lead this two-evening free course, Bicycling Basics, designed for adults who would like to get more into bicycling but are unsure of themselves on the bike and in traffic. Each evening of this two-day course, May 11-12, will begin at 5 PM, start with an hour or so of classroom discussion, followed by an hour or so of on-bike training. Day 1 classroom discussion will provide basic terminology, bike fitting, the “ABC Quick” bike safety check, helmet use, and dressing for riding. After that, it’s off to the parking lot to cover basic riding skills like effective starting and stopping, shifting, riding in a straight line, the shoulder check, and signaling. Day 2 classroom discussion begins with maintenance issues like identifying problems with brakes, quick releases, and bearings, and basic preventative maintenance. We will then switch to the basics of safe street riding, with a review of the rules of the road, lane positioning for cyclists, negotiating intersections, and what to know about bike lanes. On the bikes, we will demonstrate some emergency maneuvers such as the quick stop (without going over the handlebars!), instant turn, and rock dodge, and finish up with a short street ride in which to practice the rules of the road. Much of the safety content we will be presenting may also be found in John S. Allen’s booklet “Bicycling Street Smarts”, available online here. Another practical guide is “How to Not Get Hit by Cars”. Participants will benefit most from the course if they attend both nights, with their bicycle. Helmets are required. Guests are encouraged! If you’re a member, RSVP at the Meetup site.  If you would like to attend but are not a member of this Meetup, you may RSVP by emailing John at bike@mainebrook.com

REGISTER NOW – May 19 2010 Active Communities Conference – in Auburn!
“Walking, Biking, Physical Activity and the Built Environment”

Registration is now open for the 5th Annual 2010 Active Communities Conference, Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn Downtown and Waterfront.  Special workshops will be offered on Spring 2010 physical infrastructure funding opportunities and dynamic projects transforming Maine communities and schools.   Click here for the conference brochure and to register online! Part of Maine’s Commute Another Way Week, this no cost annual conference includes sessions on funding opportunities, engineering options, safe routes to school, community success stories, planning for walking and biking, and more.

REGISTER NOW – June 13 – 9th Annual Women’s Ride Adds New Distance Options

The Ninth Annual Women’s Ride sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine
will take place on June 13 at 9 a.m. at L.L. Bean’s Casco Conference Center
on Casco Street in Freeport. This year¹s ride offers four distance options,
including a new 50-mile route.

The all-women¹s ride is suited for all ages and fitness levels. In addition
to the 50-mile route, there will be five-mile, 15-mile and 25-mile options. The ride attracts new riders and mother-daughter pairs out for a relaxing Sunday pedal as well as serious cyclists training for long-distance events. All rides have beautiful views of the coast, rest stops and SAG vehicles. Participants can enjoy snacks, yoga and massage in a festive atmosphere at the ride’s conclusion. Registration costs $25 for coalition members and $35 for non-members, with a $10 discount for girls 12 to 17 years old and seniors (over 65). Girls 11 and under ride free. All proceeds benefit the coalition’s work to improve
bicycling in Maine. For more information and to register, please visit www.BikeMaine. org or call
(207) 623-4511.

By July 1 – Quality Community Program Funding Application for Bike-Ped and Safe Routes to School Infrastructure Improvements

The MaineDOT Quality Community Program Funding Application, which includes Safe Routes to School and Transportation Enhancements, is now available!  The application deadline is July 1, 2010.   If you think specific improvements such as sidewalks, crossing improvements, traffic calming, improved signage, bike lanes, etc. would increase bicycle and pedestrian safety and get more people walking and biking for transportation in your community, see here for more information and to download a copy of the application – and contact your municipal planning department. MaineDOT staff can share additional details about this opportunity and arrange a site visit with MaineDOT engineers to evaluate needs in your community.

Reminder: METRO Fares Increased on April 1, 2010

  • General FARES

  • Regular One-Way Fare — $1.50 (exact change)
  • TenRide Tickets — $13.50 (no expiration date)
  • Monthly Passes — $40.00 (one calendar month)
  • With photo ID or Medicare Card — 75¢
  • Half-Fare TenRide Ticket — $6.75

  • With Medicare Card or RTP ID — 75¢
  • Half-Fare TenRide Ticket — $6.75
  • Regular One-Way Fare: $1.25 (ID may be requested)
  • Summer Youth Bus Pass (same price as last year): $20 (for children and teens, 18 and younger ride to ride METRO and South Portland City Bus from June – August.)

Free Calendar of Maine Bicycling Events Now Available

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has produced a free calendar listing hundreds of Maine bicycling events in 2010. The calendar is available at bicycle shops and sports stores throughout Maine. An online version may be found at
www.BikeMaine. org

The BikeMaine Event Calendar includes 62 weekly rides, 173 special events and a listing of Maine bike clubs, organizations and bicycle shops. The calendar features rides on roads and mountain trails, triathlons, races,
bike driving classes and bike volunteer opportunities.

The events in the calendar cover all parts of Maine and suit bicyclists ofall fitness levels, said Allison Vogt, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s executive director. Biking offers an inexpensive way to relax, exercise, spend time with friends and family and explore our beautiful state.

Rides featured in the calendar include the coalition’s Women’s Ride in Freeport on June 13 (with distances from five to 50 miles), the Maine Bike Rally on July 9-11 in Brunswick and the Maine Lobster Ride & Roll in Rockland on July 24 (with distances from 16 to 100 miles).

Veteran’s Bridge Website

www.VeteransMemorialBridge.org – This website will be your best source for all meeting announcements, current information and maps, design options, project time line and details on the bike and pedestrian access.  Project staff will also post all meeting handouts, minutes and stakeholder letters as soon as they are ready for public viewing.   After this initial phase of public involvement and design input, construction will begin in June, 2010.  The website will offer regular updates including information on traffic, possible detours and construction progress.

PACTS Video: Greater Portland’s Transportation System: A Vital Resource Needs Our Help

For too long, we’ve taken our transportation system for granted. In 2006, PACTS determined that Greater Portland – covering an area from Biddeford to Gorham to Freeport – would need more than $500 million over the next decade just to maintain the existing system. Under the current funding structure, which primarily comes from state and federal gas taxes, we have a $250 million shortfall. Current trends indicate that vehicles will become more fuel efficient and people will drive fewer miles in the years ahead, and as these changes take place, the $250 million funding gap will grow. This problem makes it not only difficult to maintain what we have, but also to expand and transition to more sustainable transportation modes.

PACTS developed this video to illustrate the funding problem and to encourage residents and leaders to find solutions.

Try a Trip on the Downeaster this Spring!

Downeaster photoHeading 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.