PORTLAND — Plans to reconfigure travel lanes on Washington Avenue are unnecessary, former City Councilor Cheryl Leeman said Friday.
“It appears to be an overly excessive reconfiguration of the road, and a complicated, expensive solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Leeman said in a statement.
The repaving and reconfiguration of lanes from Presumpscot Street to Ocean Avenue will be outlined in a 6:30 p.m. meeting Thursday at Ocean Avenue Elementary School, 150 Ocean Ave.
Plans posted online at the city website propose adding dedicated bicycle lanes to the street as a way to “improve safety for all road users” and to “fill in a gap of the bicycle network.”
Leeman, who served 30 years as a councilor and now leads the East Deering Neighborhood Association, said the loss of as many as 66 parking spaces on the street is too severe.
“(It) far outweighs any suggested benefits of this proposed plan, which are based on insufficient and inaccurate data,” she said.
As it is configured now, Washington Avenue has two travel lanes and parking on each side, although parking is banned from 7-9 a.m.
Plans under consideration by the city Transportation Division indicate outbound parking lanes would be eliminated beyond the intersection with Oakley Street. Inbound parking lanes from Morse to Oakley streets will be maintained.
The repaving and possible new lane arrangements are part of an extended plan to repave Washington Avenue toward Allen Avenue.
Leeman also questioned parking counts because they were made when parking is restricted, as well as estimates on bicycle traffic.
“We suggest you keep it simple,” Leeman said. “Re-strip the street and especially the crosswalks, which haven’t been maintained in years, and add shared lane markings for bicyclists.”