Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed PACTS Long-Range Transportation Plan: Destination 2040. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is a statewide organization that works to make Maine better for bicycling and walking. We support projects and polices that create safe and welcoming places for those traveling on foot or bike.
We are writing to express general support for the proposed plan. We are pleased to see the agency embrace concepts of Complete Streets, multi-modal safety and accessibility, public engagement, coordination with smart growth land use planning, and more.
We were, however, concerned with a number of projects listed on “Other Major Projects Under Consideration in the PACTS Region” (Table 2, page 15) in the Executive Summary. The list seems to emphasize turnpike expansion and additional turnpike interchanges: a turnpike spur to Gorham; new turnpike interchanges in Saco/Scarborough, Biddeford, and Cumberland; and a new interchange at I-295 exit 4 in South Portland.
As we’re sure you are well aware, transportation experts have repeatedly found that building new roads inevitably encourages more people to drive, which in turn negates any congestion savings. We would urge PACTS policy-makers and planners to re-think spending such a large amount of public dollars on infrastructure projects that will only invite and create more cars, traffic, and congestion. Were major new funding sources to become available during the next 20 years, we hope that they would be spent in the same fashion as other PACTS projects that have consistently emphasized the needs of all users, not just car drivers.
Bicycle Coalition of Maine
Advocacy Manager Bicycle Coalition of Maine