Bicycle-Focused Projects Elevate Active Transportation

May 21, 2018
Blog Gorham 2017 09 18 Rendering Panorama

Written by Anna Stokes, AICP

Milone & MacBroom (MMI) would like to wish you a happy end to Bike Month! Many of our employees have been celebrating National Bike Month by participating in Bike Month events in their hometowns, enjoying a lovely Bike to Work Day, and generally partaking in some quality time on two wheels!

In addition to our love of riding bicycles, MMI has been involved in 120+ miles of bikeway and multiuse trail projects as well as a wealth of urban and small town complete streets work because we understand that the development of a bikeable and walkable built environment is key to increasing public health and happiness. Here are a few of our favorite projects that were designed to support bicyclists:

  • A Road Diet & Complete Streets Improvements in a Bustling Downtown
    Spring Street Complete Streets Project in Portland, Maine – Built

    Spring Street is a key downtown corridor traversing the city of Portland, Maine. MMI provided transportation planning, engineering design, and landscape architecture services to implement a “Road Diet” in order to transform a 2,400-foot section of this formerly four-lane vehicle-centric corridor with a median into a complete street that provides safe and desirable accommodations for bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles alike.

    MMI worked with stakeholders and citizens in Portland to create a vision for this corridor that would fit the needs of this vibrant city. In the end, the transportation planners, engineers, and landscape architects at MMI designed a new two-lane multimodal corridor that successfully calmed traffic to lower vehicular speeds and reconnected surrounding neighborhoods and districts including the arts, historic, and downtown areas, which had been cut off from each other when the formerly high-speed arterial was constructed in the 1970s. The pavement gained through the road diet served to accommodate an expansion of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. MMI added bike lanes, sharrows, and wide sidewalks to give this corridor a significant redesign and greatly improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Additionally, traffic was calmed significantly through the use of bump-outs, streetscaping, and on-street parking. 
    This redesign of Spring Street in Portland, Maine, emphasizes safety, accessibility, and comfort for active transportation users.
  • A Regional Trail 
    Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Connecticut - Built

    MMI has a wealth of experience in greenway and trail design. We understand the importance of these facilities and their ability to provide safe, convenient, healthy, and enjoyable regional connections for those who utilize alternative modes transportation. One of the most notable trails in Connecticut is the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, which spans over 80 miles, and extends from New Haven, Conn. all the way to Northampton, Mass. MMI has been involved in the planning, design and construction of over 20 miles of this regional greenway system through New Haven, Hamden, Cheshire, Southington, Farmington & Simsbury. The Greenway follows the route of the historic Farmington Canal and a separate 7-mile historic canal spur along the Farmington River. 

    Originally initiated in the early 1990s with the support of federal funding, the trail was designed and built in segments, as funding supported, with new sections currently under design and construction today. The route passes through both urban and rural landscapes, including downtown and urban industrial areas in New Haven, suburban neighborhoods in Hamden, and more rural landscapes through Cheshire, Southington and Simsbury. Along the route, remnants of the historic canal and railroad have been restored and artifacts memorialized as part of interpretive displays, gateways and the trail itself. The most recent project under final design is a 4.6-mile section in downtown New Haven. The MMI designed trail traverses the City of New Haven, Yale University, continuing north through Hamden, Cheshire and Southington. The Cheshire greenway segments were originally designed by MMI in 1984 and utilized the country’s first round of federal trail funding. The most recent Cheshire segment, constructed in 2015-2016, includes a pedestrian crossing of CT Route 68/70, designed in partnership with CTDOT, that provides safe pedestrian refuge areas and one of the state’s first HAWK signal systems. This type of crossing was designed to give priority to greenway users – a real shift in favor of alternative travel modes and taking the emphasis off the motor vehicle.
Bicyclists enjoy the safety and natural atmosphere provided by the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail's Design
  • Small Town Traffic Calming through Buffered Bicycle Lanes & Gateway Signage
    PACTS Bicycle & Pedestrian Study in Gorham, Maine - Recommended Conceptual Design

    Gorham, Maine, is a charming small town outside of Portland where MMI was hired by the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) and the Town to complete a study and conceptual design project focused on accommodations for bicyclists and pedestrians. The Gorham Village area, which was the focus of this project, has a unique blend of users, destinations, and roadway types. This section of Gorham is both a destination area and a regional pass-through area. Regionally, this is an important corridor for the movement of goods, services, and commuters to- and from- the greater Portland area while also serving as a destination for users of the downtown's retail establishments, restaurants, and municipal services.

    Most relevant to this blog article, we would like to highlight the design of gateway signage and accompanying buffered bike lanes leading into Gorham from the more rural surrounding areas. This creative design was implemented by transportation planners, engineers, and landscape architects at MMI who, through the extensive public engagement, understood the need to not only create safe space for bicyclists on the town’s roadways but also to calm traffic as speeding in the area was a significant problem. The recommendation and conceptual design, which utilized gateway signage along with the buffered bicycle lanes and high visibility crosswalk, will alert drivers to the fact that they’re now entering a town where they should expect to see pedestrians and bicyclists enjoy shared access to the roadways. 

    Buffered Bicycle Lanes & Gateway Signage Leading into Gorham, Maine