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Portland Green Streets » 2010 » November

Archive for November, 2010

Portland Green Streets Director Transition – Your Help Needed

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

is-this-youDear Friend of Portland Green Streets,

Since 2007, Sarah Cushman has been instrumental in leading our grassroots fight for sustainable ways to commute to work. She launched the monthly Green Streets commute-another-way celebration in Greater Portland, grew the list of businesses offering incentives to those using alternate modes of transportation, facilitated the development of our informational website and e-newsletter, and knitted together Green Streeters of all types to show how we are all part of something bigger. Our organization now has more than 1,900 Greater Portlanders who subscribe to our mission.

After three years Sarah is ready to pass the reins to new leadership for Portland Green Streets. She has generously agreed to continue with us for six months so that the transition to a new Director is as smooth as possible and includes an overlap with her successor. She will also still serve on the Board of Directors.

To advance our ongoing community projects, the Board of Portland Green Streets is launching a search for a new Director. Please review the posting for the position and application details on our website. Parallel to this effort, we are also asking for proposals from partner organizations who might consider incorporating Portland Green Streets as a project within their programming.

Please share the position posting and Request for Proposals with any individual or organization you know that may be interested and qualified. Both are great opportunities, Portland Green Streets is a wonderful initiative, and we’re poised to change transportation behavior ever more toward sustainable modes in Greater Portland.

As always, thanks for your support. We will update you when the search is complete.

Most Sincerely,

Keith Gosselin
Board of Directors

Sign In Here – Green Streets Day this Friday, November 26th!

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Green Streeter Nan Cumming heads to work on foot

Green Streeter Nan Cumming on her daily walk to work

As always, please sign in now here if you plan to walk, bike, take public transit, carpool, and/or telecommute this Green Streets Day – Friday, November 26th.

Also – just to make clear – even though this Green Streets Day is also during Thanksgiving weekend, you don’t have to be headed anywhere to qualify (just not getting into a car by yourself that day).

We’re grateful for all you do to get around a little differently and share the experience with others – whether this week or any day(s) during the year!  So traveling mercies and lovely Thanksgivings to you all – and a little walking and biking will burn those extra calories right off… :)

Transportation News & Opportunities – Nov, Dec

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Portland Green Streets Calendar

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

General/Funding Related:

DUE DEC 1 – Worksite Wellness Mini-Grant to Support Active Transportation (among other health initiatives)

Healthy Portland and Healthy Casco Bay are excited to announce the availability of ten mini-grants of up to $250 each for initiatives that support a healthy workplace environment.  Applicants must be a worksite in the Healthy Portland or Healthy Casco Bay service area to qualify for funding. Healthy Portland serves the city of Portland. Healthy Casco Bay serves the towns of Cumberland, Chebeague Island, Falmouth, Freeport, Gray, Long Island, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and Yarmouth.  Please see  for Request for Applications more details and instructions on how to apply.

Go Maine’s Commuter Champion Award – Nominate Yourself or Someone You Know!

GO MAINE has started a new Commuter Champion Award  to recognize individuals in Maine who model smart commuting choices. Every month a new Commuter Champion will be chosen from peer nominations and honored with a $50 gift card.  The nominator will also receive a $50 gift card.  We’ll feature the Commuter Champion in a story on the GO MAINE website, in the GO MAINE Newsletter, and on the GO MAINE Facebook page.  We’d like people to nominate their friends, family, or co-workers that they believe are great commuters.  We want to recognize and honor the folks that go the distance and make commuting fun and enjoyable. If you know someone who deserves to be a Commuter Champion, nominate them today!  Send nominations to gomaine@gpcog.org

Seeking Portland residents to participate in a focus group about environmental health issues

Are you concerned about environmental health issues in your community? Do you want your opinion heard by the City of Portland? This is your opportunity. The Portland Public Health Division seeks Portland residents 18 years and older to participate in a focus group to discuss local environmental health issues. Groups will be held on Wednesday, November 17, and Wednesday, December 15, both from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at Portland City Hall, Rm 303, 389 Congress St. This site is accessible by public transportation. Eligible participants will be compensated $25 for their time. If interested, please email Michael A. Russell or call 207-874-8787.

Donate to the Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) and Get Involved!

The Maine Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MaST) has been working hard in 2010  to make sure that all Mainers have access to affordable, reliable and sustainable transportation options.  As 2010 is winding down, and we look forward to 2011, we want to make sure the League of Young Voters and MaST remain at the forefront of expanding public transit across the state of Maine, and that Portland and other towns can have affordable, sustainable and accessible transportation options for all our residents. That’s why MaST needs to ask for your help today.

MaST is hoping to raise $1,000 dollars in support of its transportation work between now and Jan 1st. You can help by making a donation of $25, $50, or whatever you can. Please take a minute and donate here: action.theleague.com/donate-me Can’t make a donation this month? That’s cool, we’d love your time, too. Just shoot Hilary Frenkel, MaST organizer, an email and she’ll get you signed up to help.

Bicycle-Pedestrian Related

Bring Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Education to Your Local School

Please encourage your local school(s) to arrange for a free presentation on bicycle and pedestrian safety by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.  The Coalition’s trained instructors will teach students the basics of commuting to school safely by bike and foot.  For more information, please contact Jim Tasse, the coalition’s education director.

Bike-Savvy Volunteer Needed in Springvale

A bike-savvy person is needed to volunteer in the after-school program at the Nasson Community Bicycle Center in Springvale.  The volunteer would spend two days per week  helping students with bike maintenance, trip planning, art projects, bike rides and the like. For information, contact Maryalice Walker.

Go for Walk Friendly Community Designation in Your Community!

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has officially launched Walk Friendly Communities (WFC), a national recognition program to encourage towns and cities across the United States to establish or recommit to a high priority for safe walking. Assessing communities’ commitment to improve conditions related to walking, including safety, mobility, access and comfort, PBIC will recognize communities that set the bar in fostering and accommodating walking. In August, the WFC program accepted nine communities to test the pilot application and the online assessment tool. The program will begin accepting applications nationwide on November 1, 2010.

At the core of the WFC program is a comprehensive assessment tool that evaluates community walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning. The assessment tool questions are intended to both evaluate conditions for walking and provide communities with feedback and ideas for promoting pedestrian safety and activity. Communities that are interested in the WFC program are encouraged to visit www.walkfriendly.org to download a print version of the assessment tool.

School Travel Plans – A Possibility for Your Community?

Lyseth Elementary and Lyman Moore Middle in Portland were chosen to be the pilot schools for a Maine Safe Routes School Travel Plan process – designed to engage the community, reduce traffic congestion and ultimately boost the number of students who can safely walk and bike to school.  Schools in “village areas” – i.e. near residential neighborhoods – across the country have benefitted from these comprehensive plans that address everything from physical infrastructure needs to law enforcement to safety education to encouragement for students and staff to walk and bike.

More and more schools are interested in increasing the number of students who walk and bike because it’s been shown to:

  • boost bicycle and pedestrian safety
  • improve academic performance and classroom behavior
  • help address our high childhood obesity rate
  • decrease carbon emissions and air pollution
  • ease traffic congestion
  • save school districts money on busing costs.

Through public visioning sessions, walkability and bikeability audits, parent surveys, classroom tallies of how students get to school, and other activities, the School Travel Plan brings together students, families, school staff, other local stakeholders and experts to identify barriers to students walking and biking – and potential solutions.  The process produces a Walk & Bike to School Implementation Plan that can include designated safe walk and bike routes to the schools, suggested bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure improvements, recommendations for policy changes to increase safety and reduce the volume of automobile traffic on and near the site – and also plans for safety education, traffic law enforcement, organizing walking school buses and student safety patrols, etc.

At the September 29th Public Forum at Lyseth and Lyman Moore in Portland, area residents, students, families, and staff all contributed greatly to mapping out walking and biking difficulties on neighboring streets and also on school grounds.  Everyone at the workshop was excited to help make changes for both schools – and the School Travel Plan will take this and other important feedback to inform a Walk & Bike Implementation Plan that will sustain their efforts over the long-term.  Please contact the Maine Safe Routes to School Program to explore the possibility of doing a School Travel Plan in your community!

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.

Public Transit Related

METRO Route & Service Updates

  • Beginning Monday, November 1, METRO Lunch Hop is discontinued. METRO’s Lunch Hop had previously provided free daily bus rides from  11 a.m. to 2 p.m. between Longfellow Square and Exchange Street in Portland.
  • HOLIDAY SERVICE REMINDER: No METRO bus service on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, 2010
  • Friday, November 26Regular Bus service but Detour on Congress Street – Annual Tree Lighting Event Congress Street will be closed between Preble St. and Elm Street:  9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • EASTBOUND METRO Buses will be detoured to Brown Street, Cumberland Ave. and Chestnut St.
    • WESTBOUND METRO Buses will detoured to Elm Street, Cumberland Ave., and Preble St.
  • METRO Toy Bus – 2010 – This year, the METRO Toy Bus is planning to collect new, unwrapped toys and books (mittens and scarves are also welcome) for children in need from schools and other participating locations throughout our service area.  Donations will be collected between December 1-10 and distributed through WGME’s Joy of Sharing. Businesses and organizations along METRO bus routes are welcome to contact METRO for information (or call 774-0351) to donate items.
  • School Discount Program Additions: METRO welcomes Cheverus and St. Brigid Schools to our student discount program. These schools join Portland, Westbrook, Falmouth Waynflete, Cathedral, Cheverus and Friends Schools in offering METRO Student Fare Cards to their students for reduced bus fare. These cards can also be used for school field trips. For additional information on routes and student discounts, visit us online at www.gpmetrobus.com, call 774-0351 or contact us via e-mail.
  • In January 2011, METRO’s Route #4 will be changed to include commuter service to IDEXX and nearby businesses in Westbrook. Look for updates soon.

New Brunswick Explorer Bus

We’re excited about this new transportation option in Brunswick! Buses run hourly from 7:30am to 5:30 pm, Monday-Friday, from Mallard Pond passing Parkview, Bowdoin, and Hannaford and ending at Sweetser. $1 buys a one-way fare, or ride all day for only $2. Buses feature low-floor easy boarding, bike racks, and hybrid-electric design to decrease emissions. More info at www.brunswickexplorer.org.

Live in the midcoast? Check out the midcoast ride finder website to search for public transportation options, including rail, bus, and ferry.

Become of Fan of the Falmouth Flyer

For info and fun updates on METRO’s #7 bus, also known as the Falmouth Flyer, check out the “Friends of Falmouth Flyer Bus” Facebook page or contact Annie Finch: 781-8079 afinch@usm.maine.edu Often at risk of being cut as a service route, this is an easy way you can support this important access to shops and appointments in Falmouth, school field trips, and to downtown Portland.

AMTRAK Downeaster

  • Black Friday- Not that we want to encourage a lot of consumption – but if you’re going to do it already, then at least take advantage of the train! :)   Take the Downeaster to Boston and shop ’til you drop at Downtown Crossing with this Holiday Savings Pass. Or visit the customer service desk at The Shops at Prudential Center to receive a complimentary PRUferred Card which offers savings at more than 40 retailers and restaurants.
  • College 6Tix Available Again This Fall - Get smart this semester. Purchase a College 6TIX pass and get six one-way trips on the Amtrak Downeaster for just $76. With up to 50% off the regular fare, it’s a no brainier.
  • Remember Kids Ride Free on Sundays! Kids love to travel on the train, and parents love it too! The Downeaster makes family excursions AFFORDABLE because kids ride half price everyday and free on Sundays. Tickets must be purchased at least three days in advance of travel.  Reference promotion code v581.

Employers – Check Out METRO’s Bus Incentive Program for Employees

The METRO Bus is 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.

  • Tax Savings
  • Promote “Green” Transportation
  • Save $$
  • Free up valuable parking spaces

METRO will work with your business to provide a risk-free trial program that works for you and your employees. See here to learn more.

Adopt-a-Stop!

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.