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Public Comment: Yarmouth Route 1 Bridge Bike/Ped Accommodations

By November 6, 2015Our Position

Summary Statement

It is the Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s position that the Town of Yarmouth’s proposed bicycle and pedestrian accommodations on the replacement Route 1 Bridge and adjacent roadways are warranted and will create major improvements in the safety and utility of this road segment for non-motorized vulnerable users.

The current conditions of Route 1 in this area of Yarmouth are neither human scale nor accommodating for bicycle or pedestrian usage. Shoulders do not exist on the bridge, which is narrow and required the Beth Condon Pathway to depart from the Route 1 ROW, where it currently terminates in a parking lot. This situation compromises the Path’s utility as a transportation facility for thru bicyclists. There are no sidewalks on this stretch of Route 1. Posted speed is 40, and traffic likely exceeds that limit regularly. The roadway does not feel in any way safe or inviting to bicycle or pedestrian use.
The proposed facilities for this stretch of roadway and bridge in the center of the town will address all of these deficiencies, and vastly improve the access, safety and comfort of non- motorized users.
It is the BCM’s position that the accommodations proposed by the Town of Yarmouth meet the bicycle and pedestrian needs of the residents of the town, as well as the principles of Complete Street design adopted by the MaineDOT (which the Town is also in the process of adopting locally). We urge you to approve their application.

Design Discussion

After some decades of decline, bicycle and pedestrian behavior is now again becoming more prevalent in the United States and Maine, and as result, it is important to anticipate and accommodate walking and biking in transportation projects that will impact and shape communities for the next 50-100 years. In particular, roadway transportation projects in the immediate vicinity of village areas, schools, neighborhoods and businesses should be designed with the expectation that users besides motor vehicle operators will be present, and should provide vulnerable users with safe and convenient access to public roadways. This line of thinking informs transportation planning from Federal Highway down to the local level, and is increasingly institutionalized in Complete Streets policies adopted by Maine towns and cities, as well as by the Maine Department of Transportation.

Project Comments

The replacement of the Route 1 Bridge in Yarmouth is a project squarely in the heart of the village. It is located at the juxtaposition of a classic New England Main Street and a commercial strip along Route 1, and is adjacent to residents, schools, businesses, restaurants, a library, the town offices and police station. Given the project’s location in the town center, the Town of Yarmouth is proposing to include approximately 1000 feet of multi use path and nearly 1700 feet of sidewalk to accommodate foot and bicycle traffic that will inevitably be present in this downtown area. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine has reviewed the application of the town and finds the facilities proposed are warranted and reasonable, and will address deficiencies in current conditions.

Thank you.
James C. Tassé, PhD
Assistant Director
Bicycle Coalition of Maine
Reference File: Town of Yarmouth “TA APPL Rt One Bridge Ped Imp’s 11-6-15”