Freeport task force hopes to complete streets

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FREEPORT — To make streets safe and accessible for various modes of transportation, the Freeport Active Living Task Force is working on developing “complete streets.”

Complete streets accommodate vehicles like cars and buses, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and those going to and from train stations and bus stops.

The task force planned a public forum Wednesday to discuss the concept with residents and hear which roads and areas are of concern.

“We’d really like to engage more citizens in the conversation and help come up with solutions,” task force Chairwoman Anne-Marie Davee said.

Davee said the task force has been looking primarily at Main Street and Route 1, but other areas it will examine are School Street, the area around the Police and Fire departments, and near the Freeport Crossing shopping complex.

“We’re looking at key intersections and overpasses,” Davee said.

She said there are simple ways to create complete streets.

“We would focus on low cost solutions,” Davee said. “Right now the traffic and parking committee is talking about creating bicycle lanes.”

She said this, along with installing road signs, would help make streets more accessible for everyone.

“We’re looking to makes lanes and signage to show where drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians should be,” Davee said.

The public forum was scheduled to have two speakers – engineer Tom Errico of T.Y. Lin International, based in Falmouth, and Paul Niehoff, a senior transportation planner for the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System – talk with residents about complete streets and trends seen nationally, as well as in the greater Portland area.

Davee said PACTS will also be assisting the Active Living Task Force by providing support for the road signs and the stencils for painting bicycle symbols in designated lanes. She said she hopes to have the work done this summer.

Encouraging more people to bike and walk is a major component of the Freeport Active Living Plan and Davee said the task force will be trying to work on this idea with young people in the coming weeks.

The task force recently applied for a Safe Routes to School grant from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. It’s a $300 grant that wouldn’t create a path for kids to bike to school, but would provide them with maps and information on what the task force considers to be the safest routes already in place.

Davee said the task force will also be teaching bicycle and pedestrian safety at Freeport Middle School and will be holding a bike rodeo there on May 22.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.