William Oscar Emery Drive now striped for biking, walking
SANFORD – New white-striped bike lanes on William Oscar Emery Drive are a temporary installation demonstrating a low-cost method of improving safety for cyclists and walkers, according to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM).
The lanes were striped on Thursday, June 30, along a quarter-mile stretch of road wide enough to allow a dedicated bike lane in each direction while still accommodating two lanes of traffic and parking on both sides of the road.
“This is also a great opportunity to promote a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Lenny Horr, an avid cyclist and chairman of the Sanford Planning Board.
Horr attracted BCM to Sanford by writing a successful application for technical assistance. The striping is paid for by BCM and will wear off after a few months. During that time, feedback from the public is being solicited through on-site observation and an online survey at http://bikemaine.org/demosurvey .
The Sanford City Council approved the temporary striping, with councilors indicating they would like to see a larger plan connecting destinations before approving anything permanent. The city’s trails committee and planning board are seeking to develop a trail plan for the city through a technical assistance grant to the National Park Service.
“This is another step in Sanford embracing healthy living, sustainability and outdoor recreation,” said Planning Director Beth Della Valle.
The lane striping is part of an Imagine People Here campaign launched last year in South Portland. Similar projects are being done in Lewiston, Scarborough, Bangor and Yarmouth, according to BCM.
“We are happy to be working with the City of Sanford to show that improving bicycling and walking conditions can often be very inexpensive and incredibly simple”, says Nancy Grant, the executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
In a recent email, Horr described the accommodations. There’s a seven-foot parking lane at the edge of the road. Next to the parking lane is a two-foot buffer to provide space between car doors opening and the bike lane next to it, which is about four-and-a-half-feet wide. Next to the bike lane is the travel lane for vehicles, which is minimum of 11 feet.
“The format is duplicated on the other side of the road,” Horr said. “This road is 50 feet wide, so there is plenty of room.”
Horr reported some positive initial feedback on the striping. He said he observed that motorists are driving a little slower on William Oscar Emery Drive and that they are parking in the designated lane. He said that he had seen many cyclists using the bike lane, “which should create a safer environment for everyone.”