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MaineDOT Releases Draft Complete Street Policy

(Portland, ME) March 19, 2024. The MaineDOT has released their draft updated Complete Streets policy, which helps guide planning and decision-making on bicycle and pedestrian elements of projects. The BCM has reviewed it closely and discussed it with MaineDOT. They are accepting public comments until April 1, 2024. We encourage you to take a look and submit your comments.

Complete Streets Policy Draft, supporting documents, and ability to submit comments available .

What we like:
  • MaineDOT first published a Complete Streets policy in 2014, so it is time for an update! The 2023 Statewide Active Transportation Plan included a commitment to updating this policy. We are glad to see that commitment fulfilled.
  • 20% total project cost as a limit for defining when inclusion of Complete Streets elements becomes too expensive.
  • It states clearly that people biking, walking, and rolling are vulnerable road users who are inherently more at risk.
  • Many of the elements of the plan move us in the right direction, but need to be strengthened. 
What we like to see improved:
  • Removal of language that provides too many ways to opt out without a transparent process explaining why the lack of Complete Streets elements on a project makes sense.
  • Automatic consideration of Complete Streets elements on more projects, including bridge and some maintenance processes that permit striping changes (e.g. light capital paving). 
  • Automatic requirement of Complete Streets elements in suburban and urban contexts;  automatic consideration in rural village context.
  • The policy needs to recognize that our transportation systems have prioritized vehicles for decades and in order to make it safer for people biking, walking, and rolling, we need to reverse that trend. That can only be achieved by requiring a shift in prioritization.
  • The policy must require municipalities to follow MaineDOT guidance on all projects. If the municipality has a stronger policy than MaineDOT, we feel the MaineDOT must follow their guidance.
  • Shoulder policy outlines good goals, but the language ‘desired’ should be strengthened to ‘required.’ We recognize factors such as existing infrastructure or landscape will make this difficult or impossible in some places. That should be a rare exception.
### The Bicycle Coalition of Maine works to make Maine a better and safer place to bike and walk. Founded in 1992, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has grown into the leading bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group in the state. The Coalition believes all Mainers should have access to bikes and bike education, and we envision a future where Maine’s roads, public ways, and trails are safe and accessible, resulting in cleaner travel options, improved health, and stronger economic benefits for Maine communities.
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