(PORTLAND, Maine) April 28, 2023: The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) has released the final version of the first-ever Statewide Active Transportation Plan. This is an important step in making Maine safer for people biking, walking, and rolling. It sets a path forward for investments, programs, and policies for active transportation. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM) plans to carefully monitor progress on all the deliverables mentioned in the plan.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine was part of the team that created the plan. We are proud to have led the public outreach and meeting facilitation for the plan process, which involved hundreds of people at dozens of meetings and thousands of Mainers leaving comments. During this process, the public resoundingly asked for more, better, and safer bicycle and pedestrian accommodations in the transportation system.
As with any new initiative, there are things that are great about this plan, and things that still need some improvement.
Things the BCM likes and applauds about this plan include that:
- This is a first for Maine, and it will help guide the build out of active transportation facilities for years to come.
- It makes a strong statement on the importance of active transportation in the state
- It had a robust stakeholder and public input process, and captures specific desires on the part of the public
- It covers a good mix of infrastructure, policies and programs, and educational efforts, and offers a well-rounded approach to improving active transportation in Maine.
Areas where the BCM feels more work is needed include:
- The development of a timeline. The majority of the Implementation Strategies in the plan have no target dates or milestones identified to assess progress. Without a schedule and performance targets, it risks being only aspirational.
- The development of specific performance measures. The plan should set targets linked to the timeframe for policy reviews, and for specific infrastructure improvements.
- The development of a funding plan. While the plan names current funding sources and the need to identify more funding sources, it doesn’t set new funding targets or outline when or how this will happen. The plan needs to include funding targets as well as a calendar and plans for hitting them.
We look forward to continuing to work with the MaineDOT, partners, stakeholders, and the public on making the plan a reality.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the statewide voice of cyclists and pedestrians. Since 1992, the BCM has led the effort to make Maine better for bicycling and walking by protecting the rights and safety of cyclists and pedestrians through education, advocacy, legislation, and encouragement. We support biking and walking for health, transportation, and recreation. For more information, visit www.bikemaine.org.