On Behalf of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and our 5,000 members, I thank you for the opportunity to comment on the City Manager’s Recommended Budget for FY17. We understand that the budget calls for a reduction of 1.5 FTEs from the Planning and Urban Development Department, including the position of Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator.
We urge you to submit an amendment to the Recommended Budget to include the $25,089 needed to continue funding the half time Bike/Ped Program Coordinator position. Funding for this position represents less than 3% of the proposed cuts for staff in the proposed budget, yet the position adds incredible value to the City.
The City’s commitment to staffing this position has had a tremendous effect on the walkability and bikeability of the City of Portland. Portland is leading Maine in creating infrastructure that welcomes and improves safety for everyone who uses the street. We applaud the City for taking proactive steps to make sure those who travel on foot and bike are kept safe.
The most economically vibrant cities in the U.S. balance the needs of all street users, not just those in automobiles. This is driven by younger and older generations alike who are demanding walkable and bikeable neighborhoods. Portland’s success as Maine’s economic driver is due in part to robust planning and timely construction of improvements to the City’s bikeway and walkway networks.
Without this position we are concerned that many important initiatives and planned projects will be delayed or abandoned. To name a few,
- Expansion of the City’s network of bike lanes, signed bike routes, multi-use paths, and paved shoulders that provide safe places for riders or all types.
- Installation of CDBG-funded bike racks in the highest-demand locations across the City.
- Completion of the City’s Complete Streets Policy Implementation Guide
For all of these reasons, we urge you to support a vibrant and sustainable economy in Portland by including funding for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator position in the FY17 Budget. We applaud the City for creating this position in 2010 and maintaining it for the past six years and urge you to continue prioritizing safe streets for everyone.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Nancy Grant Executive Director