In mid-May, I reported on striping changes the city of Portland and Maine Department of Transportation proposed for Outer Congress Street. By now, the new stripes have been laid down over a first layer of new pavement, and city officials want to know what the public thinks of the changes before the second and final layers are put down — thus making permanent the new lane markings.
A week from today, at the Italian Heritage Center at 6 p.m., the city will hold a public input forum on the subject.
Here’s some information about the new lanes, as well as the feedback process, as explained in a recent announcement by the city:
In keeping with the 2007 Outer Congress Street Corridor Study, various lane and traffic changes have been made to the busy corridor to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike. The traffic changes include:
- Reducing the eastbound lanes at Westbrook Street to create one through lane and a left turn only lane;
- Converting the inside eastbound along the Stroudwater Village to a two-way center turn lane allowing for turns onto Waldo Street or into village businesses;
- The addition of an eastbound climbing bicycle lane from Frost Street to Westland Plaza;
- Creating a three lane section (one lane for each direction and a two-way center turn lane) from Westland Street to Hobart Street; and
- Adding Bikes May Use Full Lane signs as certain sections of the street.
For the next month, the city along with MDOT is hoping to hear from the public including the neighborhood, pedestrians, bicyclists and the more than 25,000 motorists who travel the street each day. Commuters are encouraged to attend the meeting to weigh in on how these changes are working as they drive, bike or walk the street. People can also respond online at http://www.maine.gov/mdot/
congressst/. This feedback will help inform the city and MDOT on how to proceed and make permanent changes that improve the safety and travel needs of all users of Outer Congress Street. Travel speed and delay studies are also underway to help with the evaluation of the effectiveness of these changes.
While the project is underway, additional features at the Westbrook Street intersection will be added to enhance pedestrian and other traffic safety. Expected elements include longer lasting crosswalk markings and video detection for the signal system. The creation of the two-way center turn lane at two locations provides the opportunity for the city to add hardscaping features such as sidewalks, ADA curb ramp improvements, bus pull-outs, planted medians and pedestrian refuge islands to facilitate pedestrian crossings and add traffic speed management elements.