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Portland Green Streets » 2010 » July

Archive for July, 2010

An Afternoon on Baxter Boulevard…Without the Traffic!

Friday, 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!

Sign in for Green Streets Day, Friday, July 30th!

Monday, 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.

July 28 – Franklin St/Exit 7 Public Meeting – Bikes & Peds Make Your Voices Heard!

Monday, 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

Green Streets Incentives Revamp – Update on the Process!

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Michelle Boisvert photoGood day, Green Streeters!

As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, I’ve been hired by Portland Green Streets to make improvements to the Green Streets incentives program (the freebies and discounts offered to folks who participate in Green Streets Day).  This project has been funded by a Community Putting Prevention to Work grant through Healthy Portland.  Our goal is to develop improvements to the incentive program to make being a Green Streeter easier, more convenient, and more attractive to more people.  We’re aiming to see a 15% increase in participation as a result of the incentive program improvements.  Here are some of the things we’ve been up to:

First, we are working with our local business sponsors to document usage of the incentives program and Green Streets participationThank you to all of our business sponsors who are helping out to make this project possible.  We couldn’t do this without their generous support!

Another way we will be guiding the incentive program is through feedback from our business sponsors.  We have distributed a survey to assess what works and what doesn’t.  This will guide the actions we take to make the incentive program work better for both our business sponsors and you, their Green Streeting customers.  Again, a HUGE thank you goes out to the fabulous businesses in the Greater Portland area who’ve contributed their valuable feedback.

We’ll also soon be surveying Green Street participants for your feedback on the incentive program.  We want to understand if the incentive program works for you, what you love about it, what could improve, and what other kind of incentives motivate you to try new modes of transportation.  Your feedback will inform how we move forward in improvements to Portland Green Streets.

Some of the improvements we’re currently working to implement include:

  • production and distribution of a “This is a Green Street business” decal to boost visibility for Green Streets Day and the support of our business sponsors.  The decals will be placed in the windows of businesses that provide incentives to Green Streeters.
  • production and distribution of a Green Streets membership card for participants to present on Green Streets Day — to make accessing incentives a more convenient experience for both participants and business staff.
  • featuring “Green Streets Business Profiles” in our monthly newsletter and on our website — these would feature pictures and descriptions of supporting businesses and would advertise the incentives they offer on Green Streets Days.

Don’t forget to be on the lookout for our Green Street participants’ survey!  And I’ll see you this Friday on the streets for Green Streets Day!


Transportation Events, News & Opportunities – July, August

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Green Streeter & Bike Coalition rep Jim Tasse does bike checks at Munjfest 2010

Green Streeter & Bike Coalition rep Jim Tasse does bike checks at Munjfest 2010

Portland Green Streets Calendar

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

Ride the Bus, Borrow a Book – Youth Escape this Summer to Local Public Library

Children and teens, ages 18 and younger, receive a FREE ride ticket to ride METRO or South Portland City Bus (www.southportland.org) when they borrow a book from participating libraries in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Falmouth during July and August.  For more information, visit www.gpmetrobus.com

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.

Hike & Bike with MaineShare

Participate in MaineShare’s annual Hike & Bike event and support their work to provide funding to groups working for a clean, healthy, and prosperous Maine. This is the 3rd year of the smaller footprint “virtual” Hike and Bike: you choose the day and time for your hike or bike, then register and collect donations online, saving time, paper, and fuel. The first 15 people to register will receive a FREE pair of tickets to MOFGA’s Common Ground Country Fair in September! For more info about the Hike & Bike, click here.