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May 2013

Construction Starts on Pathways & Safe Routes to School Pedestrian Crossings in Three Neighborhoods

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Safe Biking at School


City of Portland                
389 Congress Street
Portland, Maine 04101 
CONTACT: Nicole Clegg, 207-756-8173207-272-4477 (cell)


May 28, 2013

Construction Starts on Pathways & Safe Routes to School Pedestrian Crossings in Three Neighborhoods

PORTLAND, Maine – Starting later this week and continuing through the summer, the City of Portland in partnership with the Maine Department of Transportation will construct multiple Safe Routes to School funded projects in three neighborhoods, East End, East Deering and North Deering. First, construction will begin in the East End on two shared-use pathway projects that also include enhancing safe pedestrian and bicycle crossings at two locations (see attached graphics). 

The first project will widen the existing 5’ wide sidewalk along Washington Avenue from the Eastern Prom to connect to the pathway on the I-295 Exit 8 southbound off-ramp. The project will construct a 10’ shared-use path separated from the roadway by a 4’-6’ wide grassed esplanade. The crossing of Washington Avenue at Eastern Promenade will also be enhanced by a pedestrian refuge island and pedestrian-activated flashers.

The second project reconfigures the ramp from Washington Avenue to Anderson and Plowman Streets to include a 10’ wide shared-use pathway. The crossing of the ramp at Washington Avenue will be enhanced by shortening the crossing distance, higher visibility crosswalk markings, and adding pedestrian-activated flashers. This path will create bicycle and pedestrian access to and from East Bayside and the Bayside Trail to Munjoy Hill and Tukey’s Bridge/the Back Cove Trail/East Deering.

While work is underway on these two projects, bicyclists and pedestrians will generally be required to use alternate routes to access the shared-use pathway on Tukey’s Bridge and the Back Cove Trail from the East End. Signs will direct path users to use alternate routes when access is closed within the work area. Work is expected to be complete in four weeks. 

The third project, scheduled to begin in July, will enhance two existing pedestrian crossings serving the Presumpscot Elementary School in East Deering. Both crossing locations will have ADA-compliant curb ramps installed, pedestrian refuge islands constructed, and add pedestrian-activated flashers.

The fourth project, also to be completed in July, will upgrade the existing pedestrian warning/crosswalk signs at the crosswalk across Washington Avenue at Maine Avenue with a pedestrian-activated flasher system.

While the projects are underway, motorists are advised to be mindful of pedestrians and bicyclists in the work zone. Motor vehicle traffic will be maintained through each of the work zones.

The projects are funded with a combination of federal, state and local Safe Routes to School funds targeted to create a safer walking and bicycling environment for elementary and middle school students.




Allen Afield: Hybrid bicycle can be a novice cyclist's best choice

By | Coalition News


This article originally appeared on

Allen Afield: Hybrid bicycle can be a novice cyclist’s best choice

May 18  

By Ken Allen

In spring, folks wanting to get into bicycling seek advice from me about what model to buy, and my answer begins with a question. Does the novice wants to ride paved roads, forest trails or both?

Many predictably ask for a compromise that works on pavement as well as on light-duty forest paths — the latter say gravel roads or trails minus big rocks, deep sand, long, steep drops, etc. That info narrows the choices.

My suggestion provides an inexpensive compromise between a road bike and mountainbike — a hybrid bicycle with 28 to 33mm (and wider) tires, flat handlebar and grip shifters. Hybrids also go by the name “cross” bike, because they are literally a cross between a road and mountainbike.

Older newbies often want to hit highways exclusively, so I urge them toward road bikes — and often fail — because they gravitate toward wider tires on a hybrid. (More on this later.) Younger beginners often have a yen to pedal down a mountainside or along ridge tops — mountainbike country.

Serious pedalers may go 60 to 150 miles per week, depending on age and condition, which sounds like a lot to novices. However, even slow pokes average 12 mph, so in an hour, they pedal 12 miles, and in two hours cover 24 miles. Multiply that by five days per week — 60 to 120 miles like nothing. These people making it a way of life can justify spending more on bicycles.

My adult bicycling phase started pretty much as many folks did. I began with an ultra-inexpensive bike from a lawn sale to see if I liked the sport — a $7.50 purchase to be exact — chump change.

Then, 20 years ago at L.L.Bean, I bought a neat cross bicycle for $500, the green-colored Acadia model — not to be confused with the newer, Schwinn-built Acadia Cruiser that replaced my model in Bean’s inventory.

The old, narrow-tubed, steel frame Acadia looked snazzy like an old-fashioned road bike except for the wider 33mm tires, flat bar and grip shifters, a reasonably priced machine.

I adored that early 1990s Acadia and rode it for a decade, but it was too slow on flat stretches to suit me. Eventually I bought road bicycles with 50-tooth chainrings and a small, 11-tooth option on the freewheel — a fast combination. I ran 23mm tires that create far less friction than fatter ones.

My first road bike had three chainrings — too cumbersome in my opinion. My current road bike has two chainrings, which gives me all the gear choices the heart desires. It weighs 18 pounds — very fast.

I go to the trouble of explaining my adult bicycling history, because many pedalers have followed a similar evolution. They start with a heavier, fatter-tire bicycle and then grow into a much lighter, skinny-tire model.

And as writer friend Bill Sheldon of Rhode Island once told me, “A road bike is like a Porsche, but a mountainbike is more like an SUV.”

Here’s a digression about road bikes. Though most newbies have never tried a bike with 23 to 25mm tires, a majority quickly admit that skinny tires bother them, a wicked universal thought with many newcomers.

I try to soothe their apprehension, but a tire the diameter of a man’s thumb frightens beginners, eyeballing such narrow rubber for the first time. They think, “Too tippy,” and often nothing I say alleviates the trepidation.

Folks starting with a hybrid or mountainbike have wasted no money on the first choice if they decide to buy a road bicycle later, because they realize that owning a bike exclusively for highways and another for woodland excursions offers “versatility” with a capital V.

1. A road bicycle for fast pedaling on pavement provides exercise, recreation and transportation, the latter say pedaling to work, stores, etc.

2. A flat-bar hybrid serves for light-duty off-road (fishing, hunting, birdwatching, etc.), and a mountainbike works for heavy- and light-duty off road. The latter usually has smaller chainrings than a hybrid, which makes climbing easier. In short, it’s an SUV — multipurpose to the core.

A quick point: Beginners on road bicycles worry about drop bars as being uncomfortable, because they must bend forward more than with flat bars. I don’t mind that position and, more importantly, drop bars give me different places to hold my hands, more comfortable than holding the old paws in the same place from start to finish, as we tend to do with flat bars.

Whatever the bicycle, a professional should help with fitting choices. I thought I knew plenty about fit, but an L.L.Bean pro with measuring tools and sharp eyes picked up a flaw in my road-bike fit. My saddle was a 1/4 inch too low, and raising it made a difference in pedaling comfort.

If folks have their hearts set on riding roads, I strongly suggest getting a road bike, but I also understand how narrow tires make newcomers leery. For those folks, a hybrid bike works until they become comfortable enough on a bike to buy the equivalent of a sports car — and then they have a second bicycle for ramming highways and the first bike for forest pedaling.

That’s the best of both worlds, and this month is the time to start.

Ken Allen, of Belgrade Lakes, a writer, editor and photographer, may be reached at:

Portland marks National Bike to Work Day (WMTW)

By | Coalition News, Events


This article originally appeared on

Portland marks National Bike to Work Day

City also gets good rating in bicycle survey

PORTLAND, Maine —The city of Portland and the Maine Bicycle Coalition hosted a Friday morning event in Monument Square to celebrate National Bike to Work Day.


Bicyclists got snacks, drinks, prizes and safety tips.

“There’s an incredible range of people who have discovered that bike commuting is fun. It’s healthy, it’s affordable, it’s good for the environment and once you try it, you realize that it’s a really great way to go,” said Nancy Grant, executive director of the Maine Bicycle Coalition.

Bike to Work Day occurred at the same time Portland was ranked the 36th best city out of 100 for bicycle riding. The rating from included factors such as hills, traffic and bike lanes.

Read more:

Celebrating National Bike To Work Day (WGME – Video)

By | Coalition News, Events, Featured Posts


This article originally appeared on

Celebrating National Bike To Work Day

PORTLAND (WGME) — Friday is definitely a day to take the road less traveled and swap your four wheeled vehicles for two wheels.  It’s National Bike to Work Day and definitely a day to remember we all must share the road.

Jim Tasse of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine says when you’re finally moving you need to ride on the right with traffic, and be as predictable as possible in your movement.  Always use hand signals to show where you are going and obey all traffic signals and signs. You also want to leave at least three feet between you and parked cars and watch out for debris. 

He also stresses that drivers need to be aware, be patient, and share the road.  “It’s really important to understand a car can be a lethal weapon. What you might think of as some sort of gesture to you know teach a cyclist a lesson or even you’re just in a hurry and you’re trying to get by that cyclist can actually put that cyclist at grave risk of injury or death.”

Tasse also says before you hit the road make sure you are wearing a helmet and bright visible clothing that will not get caught in your chain or pedals.

Better bikes Students learn life skills – and earn credits – while having fun

By | Coalition News


This article originally appeared on

Better bikes Students learn life skills – and earn credits – while having fun

Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 9:57 am |Updated: 10:48 am, Thu May 9, 2013.

By Suzanne


Almost ready to ride

Devin Traweek, a Westbrook High School Senior, repairs a bicycle as part of a program called Westbrook Rehab Education N’ Cycling Hub, or WRENCH 



WESTBROOK – Hundreds of different parts go into building and repairing a bike.

Not only are there different types of wheels depending on the kind of bicycle – a street bike with thin tires or a mountain bike with thicker rubber – there also are different chains, different pedals, even different-sized bolts holding the frame together.

Behind the back of the Westbrook Regional Vocational Center, there’s a small trailer, a portable classroom once used to house a computer class, that now acts as a bike garage for a small group of Westbrook alternative education students. The students spend their afternoons “wrenching” away at bikes that will be donated or sold in the community.

Now known as the Westbrook Rehab Education N’ Cycling Hub, or WRENCH, the challenging, hands-on program is meant to keep the students interested and engaged. It’s also an incentive for finishing out their high school careers.

“Fixing a bike, it’s all problem solving. A lot of these kids don’t have problem-solving skills or patience. This also adds to their work ethic and potential job experience,” said Shannon Belt, an alternative education teacher at the school.

“A lot of people look at a bike as a toy or convenience. A lot of kids here don’t have the ability to have a car. Bikes are a transportation piece, an environmental piece and help teach responsibility. I’m hoping as the program goes the conversation about bikes changes,” said Belt.

The program will celebrate its success at an event Friday, May 17, at 11:30 a.m., behind the vocational school. The public is invited.

Belt has eight students on the roster for his class. He said he usually sees less than that because many of the students aren’t motivated to come to school.

“It’s one class period a day at seventh period,” said Belt. “I wanted it to be seventh period. These are the at-risk kids so by putting this at the end of the day, it’s sort of like making a carrot out of it. It’s worked for a couple of kids. For a few kids it makes them stay whereas they wouldn’t have stayed for a whole day before.”

Belt has offered the students their pick of bicycles to rehab and at graduation, the students who have gone through the program get to keep their bike.

So far, the best example of this type of incentive is Jerry Gowen, 18, a senior who went from missing three days a week to having perfect attendance. Belt and Gowen struck a deal that if he graduates, he will get a BMX bike, one of the most coveted bikes in the shop right now.

“I have a license but no car, a bike is my second option [for transportation]. We came up with a deal – if I graduate I get a bike,” Gowen said.

Students see the benefits of being part of the class: the hands-on learning.

“I didn’t want to sit inside the building and I’ve worked on bikes before at friends’ houses. It’s fun to get your hands dirty,” said Devin Traweek, 18.

Most of the students have prior experience working with bicycles. Morgan Mulkern, 16, works at a bike repair shop.

“I learn better hands on. Bikes have always been a big part of my life, it’s job training for me,” Mulkern said.

Besides learning a practical skill and having a built-in incentive for finishing high school, the students are also getting a second chance at a fresh start.

“These kids, some of them have records, they’ve been in trouble, but I took them to the [Great Maine] Bike Swap event the other week and I let these kids disappear for two hours. They were working. I got huge kudos afterward. It’s great to see when they’re asked to rise to an occasion they can,” Belt said.

Belt first started teaching at Westbrook High School in 2007. At the time, the high school principal at the time, Jon Ross, was the director of alternative learning and was working on building a small bike-repair program.

“He got bikes from the police department and fix them up minimally. The students would work on them, sell them in community or at an open house. It was very low key, the work done was not very extensive,” Belt said.

But Belt had bike-repair experience and an interest. After adding a few more tools – Pedro’s, a bike tool and lubrication shop, helped get the program started by giving the school a discount on many of the tools, and Calpine Energy in Westbrook also gave money to make the shop function – Belt used his connections with Gorham Bike and Ski in Portland to get more donated bikes and parts. Those help teach students the ins and outs of bike maintenance and repair by having them take apart bikes completely and work on different parts like straightening bike tires, adding chains and replacing old pedals.

Among the sources of bicycle donations now, said Belt, are Gorham Bike and Ski, L.L. Bean, after its annual bike sale, and the Portland bike swap.

“Once you tell people you’re accepting donated bikes, they just start pouring in,” said Belt, who now has more than 100 for students to work on, housed in the portable classroom, behind the classroom in a bike trailer and at the Westbrook Community Center.

The students often donate the fixed bikes back into the community; on occasion, the bikes are sold to pay for new tools and parts.

“When it started, the work done in here was not very extensive. It just was giving kids another outlet. We ran the program out of the class for three or four years and we just started doing more. I have eight kids on the roster now. Next year it’s going to grow,” said Belt.

Next year, Belt hopes to run a pilot project that combines math and science elements with the hands-on bike-building program already in place to give the students elective and science credits toward their graduation requirements.

“If we are able to do the pilot program and give kids credit for it, we’ll be one of only two schools in the country doing it. The other one is in California,” Belt said.

In the meantime, Belt is looking at other outlets to give his alternative education students a way to expand their horizons. He wants to take them to the elementary schools to teach the younger students bicycle safety. He also wants his students come along with him when he donates bikes to community members and children in need, to help them get a wider view of the population in their own neighborhood and see what a difference they are making, despite their own troubled backgrounds.

The students have also created and cleared a bike path between the high school and Canal Elementary School to test out the bikes and utilize previously unused green space.

“It took about two days. It loops around a few times,” said Mulkern as she showed off the winding path through a small cluster of trees, explaining it’s not hard to ride on a trail “once you know what you’re doing.”

Gowen had some advice for the novice bike rider: “Always make sure chain is on and your breaks are working.”

And if they’re not, bring the bike by the shop so Gowen or one of the other students can take a look.

Maine children hit their stride with bicycling, walking initiatives

By | Coalition News

This article originally appeared in the Portland Sun.

Maine children hit their stride with bicycling, walking initiatives

Published Date Tuesday, 07 May 2013 21:01

Written by David Carkhuff

Wednesday is National Bike to School Day, but leave it to Maine to pedal harder and faster than the rest of the nation.
“In Maine we’ve gone to looking at the whole month of May as walking and biking to school month,” said Darcy Whittemore, program manager for the Maine Safe Routes to School program. “We’re hoping that people get in the habit and like the idea of walking and biking to school daily.”5-8-bike-swap-1
A first-in-the-state Walking School Bus program in Portland has hit the ground running, evidence that kids and exercise do mix, even if it’s in the morning en route to school.
Officials with Maine’s federally funded Safe Routes to School Program are promoting a raft of biking- and walking-related activities at local schools.
And Wednesday afternoon at City Hall, the city hopes to attract residents to a meeting about a proposed Bikeshare initiative, a program in which bicycles are made available for shared use for short-distance trips as an alternative to motorized public transit or private vehicles.
There are other signs that young and old alike are open to stretching their legs rather than riding in cars. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine reported one of its most successful Great Maine Bike Swaps ever. Held April 28 at the University of Southern Maine, the swap attracted more than 2,000 people; and 700 cyclists walked away with new bicycles, the coalition reported.
“We hear all this stuff about how it’s hard to get kids outdoors, but there’s tons of kids who still want bikes, and it’s just magical just watching them jump on,” said Nancy Grant, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
“We had absolutely every type of bike imaginable at this event,” Grant said in the final hours of the swap, noting that “lots of families with kids” attended. Clark reported “as many bikes as ever, we sold almost everything,” with roughly 1,000 bikes on the floor. For the first time, anybody who wanted to sell a bike could register the bike online, a “huge improvement,” Clark added.
Walking School Bus program

A pilot program started with Reiche School and East End Community School, the Walking School Bus program is “growing in interest every day,” according to Whittemore. Maine Safe Routes to School program is one of the partners who launched this walk-rather-than-ride alternative for school children last month.

Portland became the first city in Maine to have a coordinated and regularly operating Walking School Bus program, and with strong response, the plan is to expand to additional Portland elementary schools beginning next fall, organizers noted. The program, a collaboration between the Portland Public Schools and the Maine Safe Routes to School program, is funded through a federal Safe Routes to School grant and closely involves the Portland Police Department and the Healthy Portland Let’s Go! program.
The idea is simple: A Walking School Bus is a group of students, supervised by a trained adult volunteer, who walk along a designated route to and/or from school on a daily basis. Children can join the Walking School Bus at stops along the route near their homes. Families can also drop off their children at a collection point, such as a nearby park, to join the procession.
Program director Betsy Critchfield said response since the program started on April 24 has been “fabulous,” and she said the benefits have extended beyond exercise.
“I’ve had parents tell me this has been life-changing,” Critchfield said, pointing to “touching and sincere emails and phone messages” she has received from parents at both schools “who have expressed what a great difference this has made in their children’s lives.”
“We’ve got close to 60 kids walking now from the East End alone. Reiche, it’s a smaller group, it’s just as consistent,” Critchfield said Monday.
“We’re running five days a week in the morning, which to start out is quite a success. We’ve got lots more volunteers trickling in, and we’re gearing up to hopefully start offering some afternoon routes as well,” she said.
Participating children “look forward to waking up and going to school,” and they are able to connect with neighbors along the route, Critchfield noted.  Whittemore said volunteers are key to the program’s success since many supervisors can assure the children’s safety.
“We really emphasize safety first,” she said. “Our main goal is to offer a safe form of transportation to school for kids, that’s active,” Whittemore said. “Thirty kids coming from Kennedy Park and crossing Washington Avenue” requires attention of motorists as well, a common element to all of the state’s bicycling and walking initiatives. Drivers need to pay attention, organizers noted. “One of our routes started with 10 kids and it’s grown to almost 30,” Whittemore said.
Leaders will follow a route of up to one mile, picking up children along the way at designated stops. “The program offers volunteers a way to get regular exercise and to interact with young people in the neighborhood,” Whittemore noted. Parents benefit as well, she agreed. “It relieves a big burden for people who are juggling multiple kids and early work, it’s a benefit to the parents that their kids are getting to school safely, but also the people who have volunteered say it’s a wonderful thing for them,” she said. “Hopefully it’s a model that we can replicate and adapt to different neighborhoods,” Whittemore said, noting that Lyseth Elementary and Riverton Elementary are candidates to start in the fall. The program continues to welcome volunteers this spring. All volunteers receive an hour of training, and a criminal background check is required, at no cost to the volunteers. To learn more, visit, or contact Critchfield, at or 200-5287.

Maine Safe Routes to School grants

Mini-grants for up to $250 can give a nudge for healthier transportation options, Whittemore said.
“It just adds enough of a carrot so that a teacher or maybe a school nurse or someone who is working with the Healthy Maine Partnerships, as long as they put a team together and plan several activities for biking or walking to school, it’s a fairly easy thing to accomplish in a short amount of time,” she said. Maine’s federally funded Safe Routes to School Program is a program of the Maine Department of Transportation, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and communities throughout the state. This spring, 15 schools, municipalities and organizations from across the state were picked to receive up to $250 to support projects designed to encourage students and their families to safely walk and bicycle to school and after-school activities. The mini-grant activities, some led by students, will occur this spring.
Those include, in Portland, Lincoln Middle School, which plans: Walk and Bike to School Week; the start of a year-round, student-led Safe Routes to School group with adult facilitator; and Student Travel Tally. Portland’s Lyseth Elementary School, which plans: Bike rodeo; distribution of new helmets and used bikes to students in need, with assistance of the Multilingual Center and a local bike shop; Bike to School Day on May 8; installation of a much-needed bike rack for upper elementary wing; and Student Travel Tally. “For not a lot of money, you get a lot of things happening,” Whittemore noted. “It brings more awareness to the program and to safety,” she said, noting that children can buy reflective zipper-pulls and vests among the accessories.  “We’ve seen, beyond Portland, there are more and more schools who are developing in-school fleets of bicycles so they can teach biking during P.E. class,” Whittemore said. Kennebunk Elementary School is one example of a school with a bike fleet. After-school bike clubs also are popular.  “I think more and more parents are understanding that they would like their children to be more active, and walking and biking to school is one way to accomplish that,” Whittemore said.  For more information, visit

Wednesday, May 8

Lincoln Middle School — Walk and Bike to School Week, May 6-10; Lyseth School — National Bike to School Day on May 8; Walk to School Day and Bike Rodeo; Ocean Avenue Elementary — Monthly Walk and Roll to School Days all year, Bike Rodeo in June. 

Communities already registered to participate in walk and bike activities this spring include: Bangor, Bath, Biddeford, Bridgton, Camden, Fort Kent, Gray, Hampden, Kennebunk, Lewiston, Lincolnville, Madawaska, Madison, Milford, Monmouth, Naples, New Gloucester, North Berwick, Oakland, Pittsfield, Portland, Rangeley, Raymond, Saco, Scarborough, Sebago, South Portland, Topsham, Winterport and York. For events across Maine, visit

Proposed travel changes in Libbytown

5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Long separated by I-295, the Libbytown neighborhood is emerging as an important entryway to the city of Portland and an integral link between the downtown and the Portland Transportation Center. However, multiple highway ramps and side streets confuse travelers, and with Congress Street a major traffic corridor, the area is difficult to navigate, especially for bicyclists and pedestrians. The four proposed sets of changes include various combinations of eliminating exit and entrance ramps to I-295 and making Park and Congress Streets one or two-way. All scenarios include improving the area for bikers and walkers. The study will also make recommendations for better lighting, landscaping and other streetscape elements. To give people more options in terms of opportunity to comment, individual displays illustrating the proposed changes will be available from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. for comments, with staff available to answer questions. A more formal presentation on the neighborhood conditions and the proposed changes will also take place from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The public is welcome to come to the entire meeting or any portion that is convenient. Portland City Hall, Room 24, 389 Congress St. For more information, visit or contact Carol Morris Diagrams of the proposals can be seen at Public comments can also be made online at the city’s website,

Bikeshare Public Forum

5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The city of Portland will host a Bikeshare Public Forum at City Hall. The public is invited to participate in the conversation about establishing a Bikeshare program in the city, share their thoughts and ideas and ask questions. The meeting is a component of a technical assistance grant the city received in February from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. The EPA selected the City of Portland as one of five communities nationwide to receive technical assistance to explore the potential of establishing a Bikeshare program. City Hall, State of Maine Room, 389 Congress St., Portland. Visit

Sunday, June 2

Ride for women in Freeport
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ride for women in Freeport, LL Bean’s Casco Conference Center, Casco Street, Freeport. This all-female ride is suited for girls and women of all ages and fitness levels, with distances of 10, 25, 50 and 75 miles.  The ride offers beautiful views of the countryside and coast. Begin or end the ride with a free massage. The pre-registration fee is $35 (members) and $45 (public rate, including a six-month trial membership in the Bicycle Coalition of Maine), with a $10 discount for children 12-17 and seniors (over 65). Children under 12 ride free.  Proceeds benefit the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s work to improve bicycling in Maine. For more information, a video about the ride and online registration, go to or call 623-4511.

Best Portland Bike Swap yet for BCM

By | Coalition News


This article originally appeared on

Best Portland Bike Swap yet for BCM

Tuesday April 30, 2013 | 09:30 AM

Volunteers for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine spent much of last weekend preparing for, running and wrapping up their best-ever Portland Bike Swap on the University of Southern Maine campus.

Bill Hall photos

According to BCM’s Brian Allenby, a total of 2,000 people took part and 700 bikes were sold.

All those who made purchases now have a great week of weather to get out and try their new rides. Enjoy the sun, the roads and the trails.

Route 1 bridge aims to please cyclists, fishermen (Portland Press Herald)

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts


This article originally appeared in the Portland Press Herald.

Route 1 bridge aims to please cyclists, fishermen

The new span between Portland and Falmouth is designed for more than automobiles.

By Randy Billings
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – Transportation officials on Monday will present final designs for the new $23.5 million bridge connecting Portland to Falmouth.

The final design for the new bridge between Portland and Falmouth incorporates features based on public feedback. The plans show a generous amount of space for people who are not behind the wheel. Courtesy of VHB

BRIDGE MEETING: THE PUBLIC will be able to see new bridge designs and ask questions at 6 p.m. Monday in the State of Maine room in Portland City Hall.

The bridge is designed to feature a 10-foot-wide multiuse lane for cyclists and pedestrians and to have platforms for fishermen, said Carol Morris, who is handling project communications for theMaine Department of Transportation. “It’s going to have a strong recreation aspect,” Morris said.

The public will be able to see the new designs and ask questions about the project Monday starting at 6 p.m. in the State of Maine room in Portland’s City Hall.

The new bridge, which was designed and is being built by CPM Constructors of Freeport and VHB of Watertown, Mass., is under construction next to the original 1,400-foot-long Martin’s Point Bridge, which dates back to early 1940s.

The U.S. Route 1 bridge over the Presumpscot River is a major link in the local transportation grid, carrying about 15,600 vehicles daily.

But it is also popular with cyclists and fishermen.

During construction, cyclists have complained about hazardous riding conditions. They either have to ride in the narrowed traffic lanes or on makeshift sidewalks also used by walkers.

Morris said the 10-foot-wide, multiuse path will be located on the downstream, ocean side of the bridge. It was included based on public feedback, she said.

One group advocating for the lane was the Bicycle Coalition Maine, which hailed the design in a statement Friday.

“This bridge is a major travel route for those living north of Portland and the new infrastructure will greatly improve the quality of many cyclists’ commutes and recreational rides,” the group said.

Brian Allenby, the coalition’s communications director, said he commutes from Cumberland to Portland three to four days per week. He’s been surprised by how courteous and willing to share the road motorists have been during construction.

Even so, he’s eager for the project to be completed.

“It looks like it’s going to be great,” he said.

Morris said the new bridge, which will also have two platforms for fishermen and is designed to blend in with its natural surroundings, is on track to open to traffic in early 2014.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

Twitter: @randybillings

The Coalition is Hiring – Community Advocacy Coordinator

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts


Community Advocacy Coordinator

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine  (BCM) is seeking a dynamic, self-directed individual to provide assistance coordinating and expanding our nationally recognized Community Spokes Program.  The Community Spokes Program mobilizes, trains, and supports local residents who are interested in becoming community leaders for bicycle, pedestrian, and active transportation issues.  Community Spokes become the core of bike/ped committees and Active Community Environment (ACE) Teams around the state.  

This position will be responsible for: 

  1. Coordinating ongoing support and technical assistance on bike/ped initiatives to Community Spokes and their ACE Teams through trainings, regional meetings, “mutual aid” conference calls, and regular phone and in-person meetings.
  2. Recruiting new Community Spokes, assisting in their training, and helping them launch community-based committees.
  3. Integrating Community Spoke initiatives with other BCM projects and programs, including events, the Maine Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education Program and the Safe Routes to School Program.
  4. Handling all logistics and assisting in the facilitation of at least two one-day trainings per year.
  5. Developing resources and managing content for the BCM Community Spokes webpage, as well as for print and third party hosting.
  6. Developing an evaluation system for the program.
  7. Other duties as needed related to local bike/ped advocacy.

The ideal candidate will have experience in community organization and mobilization; meeting facilitation; bike/ped/trail programming, transportation policy and infrastructure projects; bicycle and pedestrian education; public health efforts to promote physical activity; and will be comfortable working with technology.  Some night meetings and weekends required.  Some statewide travel required. Health benefits available.  Salaried, exempt position.   $35K range.  

Please send cover letter, resume and list of 3 references to by May 15th.


Video – Walking School Bus Program Kicks Off In Portland (WGME)

By | Coalition News, Featured Posts, Safe Biking at School, Stay Safe


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Walking School Bus Program Kicks Off In Portland

PORTLAND (WGME) — A program just getting under way here in Portland is putting a different kind of school bus on the street, and getting kids to exercise in the process. It’s called the Walking School Bus program.

If you’d like more information, click here

So far, the program is in the Reiche School and East End Community School. Kids walk with adult volunteers along set routes to their schools each morning, and along the way they make stops at various points to pick up more kids. Just like a traditional school bus. 

The program accomplishes two goals: getting kids to school safely and promoting exercise too.

Program coordinator Betsy Critchfield says, “A lot of parents have concerns about letting their kids walk to school by themselves especially kindergarten and first grade and so we just wanted to enable that to happen in a safe environment.”

“Physical activity is one way to set kids up for learning, to be open to learning so this is one way to do that,” says Peter McCormack, assistant principal at East End School.

The program needs your help.  They are looking for more adult volunteers so that they can allow more kids to join in the fun.