VHB to Develop Statewide Active Transportation Plan for Maine

Shaping a statewide vision that prioritizes safety, quality of life, and economic development.

March 09, 2022

Bicyclists on gravel bike paths in Bethel, Maine.

VHB was recently selected by the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to develop a Statewide Active Transportation Plan (SATP). This exciting, year-long project will implement a clear strategy for improving active transportation (AT) and pedestrian/bicycle safety throughout the state. The plan aims to prioritize AT policies, programs and infrastructure investments that will improve safety, quality of life, and economic development, while helping Maine meet the goals of its Climate Action Plan. Along with Rhode Island, Maine represents the second New England state that has partnered with VHB to develop a statewide plan related to AT.

The SATP is part of the state’s 2050 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Update that the MaineDOT has initiated for 2022. The LRTP also includes concurrent development of a statewide Transit Plan, Rail Plan, and Aviation System Plan. This “Family of Plans” uses a unified website with pages for each so Mainers have an opportunity to learn about the various efforts from a single location.

The planning team has scheduled monthly public outreach meetings with the first scheduled for Tuesday, March 15 at 6:00 p.m. Additional outreach activities will include multiple stakeholder meetings, e-mail blasts, social media posts, and web surveys.

Tony Grande, PE, ENV SP, VHB Director of Transportation Engineering, and Phil Goff, Senior Active Transportation Planner, will provide leadership for both the public outreach and the technical aspects of the plan. Tony will apply his extensive experience working with MaineDOT to help facilitate communication while Phil's experience with statewide AT planning in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island will assist with the analysis, policy/program development, and prioritization of pedestrian/bicycle facility improvements.

Regional highway and greenway maps for Southern Maine. Bicyclists on gravel bike paths in Bethel, Maine. Bicyclists in bike lane on Route 1 in Ogunquit, Maine

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine (BCM) and Cushman Transportation Consulting (CTC) will support VHB with public outreach, AT policy analysis, and recommendations for new and enhanced programs that promote pedestrian and bicycle safety. VHB has partnered with both groups in the past on AT projects in rural, suburban, and urban communities throughout Maine.

The team will assess Maine's existing and proposed AT infrastructure, including rail trails, greenways, bike lanes, and shoulder bikeways. In addition, pedestrian and bicycle crash history will be analyzed, synergies with public transportation will be explored, and roadway shoulder improvements will be determined to enhance accessibility and safety. More than 100 miles of state-owned, inactive rail corridors throughout Maine will also be assessed for interim trail use and prioritized based on cost estimates, potential use, as well as the economic, transportation, and environmental benefits of each.

The final plan will emphasize the role that MaineDOT and its partner state and regional agencies can play to promote more accessible roadways for pedestrians, bicyclists, and people using other active transportation modes. This will also include AT programs and the expansion of local, regional, and statewide trail networks using inactive rail corridors. The SATP report will be a valuable resource for use by a variety of stakeholders, including municipal-level staff, MaineDOT policy planners, agency engineers, maintenance personnel, private-sector businesses, and advocacy groups.

“VHB’s vision for Maine is to be a more prominent destination for active transportation and outdoor recreation,” Phil said. “It will host to an even higher quality of life for residents throughout the state.”

For more information related to this exciting project or statewide active transportation planning, please contact Phil Goff.