September 30, 2019 (North Yarmouth, Maine) On September 24, 2019, staff from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, working in partnership with AARP Maine, PACTS, Ransom Engineering, BuildMaine, Maine Design Workshop and the Town of North Yarmouth, installed lane delineator “gateways” and crosswalks on Rte 115 between the intersections with Rte 9 to calm traffic and improve safety for all users.
The Town of North Yarmouth, working with the Maine Design Workshop, has been exploring strategies to slow traffic along Rte 115 in the center of town for better than a year. Speeding traffic is seen as an impediment to the establishment of a village context in the town center. North Yarmouth reached out to the Bicycle-Pedestrian Coalition of Maine’s “Imagine People Here” program to help plan and install the traffic calming demonstration. Preliminary reports indicate that the treatments significantly slow motor vehicle traffic.
“By creating new crosswalks and adding vertical elements to the crosswalks, the roadway is visually narrowed, which helps to slow motor vehicles. Additional channelizer posts also create “gateways” that help keep vehicle speeds lower,” said Coalition Assistant Director Jim Tassé. “The point of these demonstrations is to show that traffic can be calmed and slowed, especially near pedestrian crossings, for a fraction of the cost of installing beacons or resetting curbing.”
“North Yarmouth is interested in creating a walkable, vibrant Village Center where people of all ages can be social, live active and mobile lives, and enjoy daily life,” says Rosemary Roy, Town Manager.
“We want to attract businesses to come to North Yarmouth to contribute positively to the town, and we see a slower, more traffic calmed Rt 115 as a critical component to both economic development and public safety of our residents, in particular seniors and children. This demonstration project is meant to test ideas and encourage community dialogue, to explore ideas and identify solutions. Testing allows for observation of what works, what doesn’t work, and problem-solving to make a situation better before investing significant resources in construction of permanent infrastructure, “ says Vanessa L. Farr, the Town’s Economic Development Consultant with Maine Design Workshop.
Shared lane markings and “Bicycle May Use Full Lane” signs have been added to the roadway at locations where the roadway has been narrowed to encourage bicyclists to use the full lane.
Tuesday’s installation was the eighth project of the Coalition’s “Imagine People Here” program in 2019, which uses low cost materials to demonstrate how simple and cost-effective measures can be taken to improve conditions for persons walking and bicycling.
Similar projects have been installed this summer in Berwick, Brunswick, Rockland. The Imagine People Here Program has also created bikeways this year in Sanford and Rockland.
All Imagine People Here projects are reviewed and approved by local officials and, as needed, the MaineDOT.