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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
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-mailJim 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
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 Busis 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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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.