DDW Teams Up for More Visible Crosswalks on Main Street
If you have traveled down Main Street in Westbrook over the past few weeks, we hope you notice some enhancements around crosswalks in several locations. The goal is to slow down traffic on Main Street and make the pedestrian crossing zones safer.
While the speed limit is 25 miles per hour on Main Street, there are no signs indicating that restriction. Drivers are often going faster than 25 and not seeing pedestrians trying to cross the street at crosswalks, making a dangerous situation.
Discover Downtown Westbrook Design Committee teamed up with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and AARP to install this demonstration traffic calming project to slow speeds by narrowing the traffic lane close to these crosswalks. Speed studies are now being done during this temporary installation to determine how the enhanced crosswalks are slowing down the traffic on Main Street. Crosswalk studies are also being done to determine the increase in the safety of using the crosswalks.
About Our Partners on this Project
Bicycle Coalition of Maine
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s mission is to make Maine a better place to bike and walk. Since being founded by a small group of cyclists in 1992, it has grown to become one of the most effective bicycle and pedestrian advocacy grounds in the nation.
Their future plans include the expansion of biking in Maine, improving pedestrian safety, passing bike and pedestrian-friendly laws and promoting the activeness of adults and children. Click here to learn more!
AARP and the Network of Age-/friendly States and Communities
Westbrook is proud to be listed as an AARP Age-Friendly Community. Membership in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities means that a community’s elected leadership has made a commitment to actively work with residents and local advocates to make their town, city, county, or state an age-friendly place to live. Click here to learn more!
What Has Been Done?
On Thursday, September 3rd, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and volunteers of the DDW Design Committee teamed up around 9:00 on Main Street to begin the work on 5 crosswalks on Main Street. The sites of the installation were at the crossings at Pleasant Street, Stroudwater Street, Dunn Street, Giles Street, and at the entry to Riverside Park.
The team painted the entries of the crosswalks red and striped beside the entries to restrict parking too close to the entries. Delineators were installed in the no parking zones near the crosswalks and pedestrian crossing signage added to the middle of the road in several locations.
The goal is to enhance visibility to these crosswalks and promote slowing down on Main Street to make the crosswalks a safer place to cross.
How Long Will the Crosswalk Demonstration be in Place?
The goal of this low-cost “quick build” demonstration project is to experiment with the changes to road geometry and to show residents and decision-makers how possible, easy, and cost-effective it can be to calm traffic and improve safety and convenience for walkers and bicycle riders (and other users).
This current installation will be in place until November, or when plowing becomes necessary, but the goal will be to have it reinstalled in the spring and to have a more permanent crosswalk installation in these places for the future.
How Was This Project Funded?
100% of the funding for this project was provided through the grant from AARP, made possible by Westbrook receiving its AARP Age-Friendly accreditation in 2016. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine team and volunteers from Westbrook completed the installation, and there were no tax dollars used to make this project happen.
What Does the Future Hold?
The ultimate goal is to potentially install a permanent, traffic-calming solution for dangerous crosswalks and other locations like them in downtown Westbrook. If the data from the speed/crosswalk studies from the temporary installations shows an improvement in pedestrian safety, the need will be shown for more permanent solutions of this nature.
Age-friendly initiatives like one will continue to be a focus of many downtown revitalization Main Street programs across America – including Discover Downtown Westbrook. Additionally, DDW recently welcomed a USM graduate student staffer with extensive experience in Age-Friendly initiatives to help in this focus area. Look for more about her experience in an upcoming blog article.
On behalf of Discover Downtown Westbrook and the City of Westbrook, we would like to thank the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and AARP for their assistance in this project. It was a pleasure to work with these teams to promote the safety of the pedestrians on Main Street!