Support Streets for People

posted in: Neighborhood | 0

via our neighboring organizations:

In one week, over 500 people have agreed that we need to find creative ways to make public spaces safer for residents and more responsive to the needs of the business community, and over 200 people have shared their priorities. These ideas are incredibly valuable as we consider the city’s current proposal and what we can do to support safely-distanced life and activity across the City of Portland.
Today, May 14 at 4:00 the Economic Development Committee of the Portland City Council will consider this order prepared by City staff. The City Council will then review and potentially vote on the proposal at their meeting on Monday, May 18.
Kudos to City staff for being creative! 

The proposal is a great start and includes closing six city streets on the peninsula and providing more outdoor space for businesses. 

Additional modifications to the proposal, like the ones below, would help ensure adequate space for physical distancing within all of Portland’s neighborhoods:

  • Expand proposed street closures to include streets throughout the city, particularly those with a concentration of businesses, in order to help people stay local, stay safe, and support businesses across the city. 

  • Reduce speed limits to 10mph in neighborhoods across the city, particularly in the buffer zones around the six closed streets, in and around parks and trailheads, and on streets already designated bicycle byways, to ensure protection of the increasing numbers of people riding bikes, walking and practicing social distancing.

  • Alter traffic control signal changes to reduce waiting time for pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as to avoid unnecessary use of beg buttons by pedestrians.

  • Allow parklets on any street that has a current speed limit of 25 mph or less, and then further reducing speed limits on streets with approved parklets, to ensure pedestrian space on sidewalks isn’t restricted and to ensure the safety of parklet users.

  • Budget staff time and capital to research and explore opportunities for outdoor business, recreation and the arts on streets that have a high density of businesses, including places like Congress Street, Washington Avenue, Woodfords Corner, Deering Center, Libbytown and others.

  • Budget staff time and capital to research and explore opportunities for simultaneously making arterials like Brighton Avenue, outer Washington Avenue and outer Congress safer for, and more accessible to, non-motorized traffic while also supporting businesses along the arterials.

Please email the city council to share these ideas, as well as your hopes for your neighborhood and your local businesses:

Mayor Kate Snyder:
District 1 Belinda Ray:
District 2 Spencer Thibodeau:
District 3 Tae Chong:
District 4 Justin Costa
District 5 Kim Cook
At Large Jill Duson
At Large Pious Ali
At Large Nick Mavodones
Thank you for your support of safer, stronger public spaces in Portland. Together we can find creative solutions that allow for a healthier community.
Thank you! 
Portland Buy LocalPortland Society for ArchitecturePortland TrailsBicycle Coalition of Maine