New bike lanes to replace some parking after Portland repaving work

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PORTLAND — As many as 210 on-street parking spaces will be lost as part of extensive repaving of sections of Washington and Allen avenues.

The parking changes were approved Aug. 13 by city councilors. City Public Works Director Chris Branch said they will go into effect once the repaving is completed.

Branch said the $3.27 million project to began Monday with curb and sidewalk work and the project could last through next spring as traffic signals are upgraded.

“By replacing the underutilized parking with higher quality bicycle facilities, the street space will be used more efficiently and actively so that bicycling will be a  safer and more realistic option for transportation on Washington Avenue and  Allen Avenue,” Senior Transportation Engineer Jennifer Ladd said in a June 28 memo.

The spaces are now unrestricted, but studies done by the city over the last three years estimate 5 percent of available spaces are actually used throughout the day and on weekends.

City Public Works Director Chris Branch joked the only vehicle he has seen parked on the streets as he commutes is one that has been sitting there for months.

In place of the parking spaces, the city will create bicycle lanes and reduce the width of vehicle travel lanes, efforts designed to both slow vehicle traffic and encourage increased use of bicycles on the roads.

On Washington Avenue, 130 parking spaces will be eliminated on both sides of the street between Ocean and Allen avenues. Of those spots, 84 are on the eastern side of the street. In areas where parking is eliminated on one side of the street, it will remain on the other side.

On Allen Avenue, 80 spaces will be lost on the north side of the street between Forest and Washington avenues.

Off-street parking is common throughout the affected areas, and city officials held a public forum on June 19 to alert neighbors to the changes. Notes from the forum, where 10 people signed in, indicate those attending were concerned about vehicle speeds and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Attendees also suggested the city follow up on whether the changes will calm traffic in the area.

The lane reconfigurations are like those made on Washington Avenue from Presumpscot Street to Ocean Avenue last year when repaving was completed.

The scope of the work, which also includes improvements to traffic signals on Washington Avenue and Auburn Street from Veranda Street to Lyseth Moore Drive, combines three separate projects.

Repaving Washington Avenue from Ocean to Allen avenues, repaving Allen Avenue from Washington to Pennell avenues, and then repaving Allen Avenue from Pennell Avenue to Yale Street will all be done at once.

The city has bonded almost $1 million for its share of the work, with other funding coming from the Maine Department of Transportation and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Repaving in North Deering will elminate 210 on-street parking spaces detailed in this map provided by Portland officials.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.