Yarmouth program encourages driver safety, bicycle awareness

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YARMOUTH — As part of an effort to encourage the use of bicycles, promote safety, and improve driver awareness of bike and pedestrian traffic, bike lanes are being marked along Rogers Road.

Dan Ostrye of the Yarmouth Bike and Pedestrian Committee said the pilot project is made possible through the collaboration of the Planning and Public Works departments, with additional technical assistance from Paul Neihoff of the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System.

The shared bike lane markings – called sharrows – were implemented after the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee completed the North Road to Ryan Drive trail, a short trail made with wood chips with bridges over wetlands. The trail is a connection to the North Road playground and fields.

Since Rogers Road is a major shortcut from North Road to East Elm Street and a source of many complaints about speeding traffic, the sharrows were painted to make drivers aware of the bike traffic in the area, Ostrye said.

The paint is not permanent, but can last about one or two years, he said.

“Sharrows are new to Yarmouth and this is the first step in applying them to key bike routes, especially those leading from neighborhoods to schools,” Ostrye said. “It is important to make drivers aware of bike and pedestrian traffic without plastering the town with signs.”

Ostrye said sharrows improve safety by encouraging slower driving speeds and increase overall safety on the streets.

“These markings give people the perception that (bikes) have a place on the road and vehicles should expect them,” he said. “I think this is wonderful for the town.”

Ostrye also said there will be a West Side Trail work day on Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fels Grove Preserve. The West Side Trail is a network of multi-use trails along the Central Main Power Co. transmission line corridor between Wyman Station and the Applewood subdivision.

The first section of the trail is  between Drinkwater Point Road and Princes Point Road. Volunteers are asked to help with trail cutting, raking, digging bench cuts and construction of bridges and boardwalks.

Rakes, shovels and brush cutters will be provided and volunteers will need sturdy shoes, suitable clothing for the weather, bug spray and water bottles.

Volunteers can park on the mowed grass or in the Fels Grove Preserve gravel lot. They should follow the trail to the back of the field to sign in and get assignments. Ostrye said there will be a cookout at the end of the day and water and snacks will be provided.

For more information, contact Ostyre at [email protected].

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.