May 15, 2021

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Maine Voices: Let’s direct transportation resources to assistance our most vulnerable

4 min read

With the coronavirus vaccine rollout arrived an moral problem: Who will get priority? Though there’s no easy respond to, the reaction has frequently been to favor the most susceptible. This is a reasonable way to manage means in a society, and nevertheless it’s significantly from the norm when it arrives to sidewalks, streets and roadways – where by vulnerable populations have the greatest danger.

If you don’t push for the reason that you are as well younger, unable or simply cannot pay for to, you are at a great drawback for not owning reputable transportation. You may depend on buses, your feet, your wheelchair, RTC, taxis or a bicycle. Sidewalks are impassable extended soon after streets are cleared of snow. As cars and trucks pace by on arterials, you might have to stroll blocks to get to the closest crosswalk.

Maine and the U.S. as a complete need to do a far better job addressing “mobility fairness.” It is critically vital that transportation selections are out there to folks who pick out to transfer about their communities applying a little something other than an auto.

Secure streets are more than just a matter of not finding run about – they make communities much more successful. Harmless streets are walkable and well lit and have tons of human exercise in the form of individuals strolling, sitting down, searching and socializing. Regretably, all over Portland we’re hearing versions of the same tale: Our streets are not risk-free.

• A good friend life 10 minutes from her work at Maine Health care Center, but the wander is so lousy that she drives a quarter mile to the worker garage to get a shuttle to the real medical center. The whole method takes 2 times the time and distance.

• A good friend who employs a motorized wheelchair are unable to traverse the tough terrain of sidewalks, so they’re obliged to travel in the roadways.

• Speeds on roadways throughout the town (and condition) routinely exceed the posted pace restrict.

• Motorists frequently do not yield to pedestrians displaying intent to cross at marked crosswalks.

Historically, significantly of Maine’s federal highway pounds go to roadways and bridges far from Portland. But for the 1st time in many years, there are serious signs of hope on the national, condition and area concentrations.

The new federal administration has dedicated to reshaping transportation policy for equity, sustainability, financial advancement and general public health. It is uplifting to us, as longtime advocates for energetic transportation and local community development, to hear that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg understands the interconnectedness of these concerns. This is an exciting option that marks a unique transform from the past administration.

In addition to the efforts of the federal government, awareness is growing by means of campaigns like “20’s Lots for Us” (internationally) and “Gradual ME Down” (Bicycle Coalition of Maine), and Belinda Ray, Portland city councilor and Transportation Committee chair, has expressed the want to make speed reduction a priority.

This means for the to start with time in decades, funding could be readily available for initiatives that have lengthy been advocated by citizens and town officials alike. This features the redesign of Franklin Arterial as a metropolis avenue calming targeted traffic by using the restoration of two-way targeted visitors on Condition, Higher and outer Congress streets and Park Avenue redesigning Interstate 295’s Exit 6 (Forest Avenue) to greatly enhance the protection of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the street, and the reimagining of arterials as purposeful, safe group streets.

The problems bordering walkability, bikeability and livability take pleasure in huge general public guidance, which, coupled with federal revenue, would permit us to satisfy the numerous troubles these parts face. Also, most, if not all, of these jobs have been studied and are shovel-all set. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine and Portland Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee are functioning to make our streets safer, especially for those people of us who do not stay downtown but would like to wander, cycle or choose the bus to get to work, university, shopping and recreation. We will need just two points: a cohesive learn system to connect them to 1 an additional, and a lot more political champions to make positive Portland is not remaining behind.

This is a instant of chance that deserves our speedy awareness. If protected, obtainable streets are critical to you, remember to contact your metropolis councilor and state legislators and permit them know you assist investing more in sidewalks, crossings, bikeways and other amenities to meet the requires of the most vulnerable end users.


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