Walk With Me: Maine’s first USDOT Road Safety Audit

April 22, 2015 at 9:48 pm Leave a comment

Anthony Foxx

USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx is sworn in – July 2013.

Anthony Foxx, the Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, reported he was hit by a car while jogging through an intersection a while back. Some say that’s part of why he announced a special bicycle and pedestrian safety initiative last September to do, among other things, road safety assessments in every state.

Photo by Wayne Emington

Photo by Wayne Emington

In early April, after much planning, a number of local and regional transportation and mobility experts conducted the state’s first ever Bicycle and Pedestrian Road Safety Audits (RSAs) – these ones along the Route 1 Corridor between Tukey’s Bridge in Portland and the intersection with Route 88 in Falmouth.

Photo by Sue Moreau

Photo by Sue Moreau

The corridor was chosen because of its importance linking communities and also because of several dicey bicycle and pedestrian segments.  These include:

  • Tukey’s Bridge bike-pedestrian limitations and connectivity concerns
  • the Veranda Street and Washington Avenue intersection
  • the I-295 on and off ramps in East Deering onto Veranda Street
  • integration of the existing Martin’s Point Bridge multi-use path with facilities on either end of the bridge
  • confusion and conflicts at the Route 88 intersection.

Bike RSA coverThe process was convened by Wayne Emington, a thoughtful transportation engineer with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) here in Maine and was led by Bill DeSantis, a bicycle & pedestrian engineering specialist at VHB – a firm I work with as on-call bike-pedestrian consultants to the Portland Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS – ah, the acronym soup). Bill helped created the federal Bicycle Road Safety Audit guide and has assisted other communities with conducting RSAs.


Photo by Sue Moreau

I led one of the Pedestrian Audit walkabout groups from Tukey’s Bridge to the Martin’s Point Bridge, which included Veranda Street and, among other things, Safe Routes to School concerns for the Presumpscot School.  We had a great team consisting of Jill Johanning, an ADA and mobility expert from Alpha One/Access Design; Meredith Graham from VHB, a traffic engineer with special expertise in signage and traffic signals (great for the Veranda Street and Washington Avenue intersection); Sue Moreau, the the Director of Multimodal Planning with MaineDOT, and Paul Legozzo from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Photo by Wayne Emington

Photo by Wayne Emington

Patrick Adams, the MaineDOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Program Manager led the other pedestrian group to assess the north end of the section we were looking at, from Martin’s Point Bridge to the Route 88 intersection.  And Nancy Grant of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine led the Bicycle Audit group along the entire length of the corridor.

It was a cold morning, although we were grateful the snow was mostly gone – and in the process we came up with a detailed list of needed improvements and also some targeted suggestions.  PACTS is working on a Martin’s Point Shared Use Path Feasibility Study which this work will inform as well.  It was also a great chance to build relationships with new folks and hear different perspectives (which is also part of the USDOT’s intention in conducting these RSAs).  You can see FHWA’s initial summary, details on who else participated, and more photos here.

Entry filed under: Active Transportation, Events, Safe Routes to School. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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94 Beckett Street, 2nd Floor Portland, ME 04101
Machigonne, Abénaki Territory (207) 200-1910 sarah@sarahcushman.com

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