transforming forest avenue

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Current Backup Material
Land Use and transportation Concept Plan, REVISED October 20, 2011
Meeting Schedule
Public Comment
Staff Members
Advisory Committee

Forest Avenue is a critical transportation and development corridor linking the Portland Peninsula to Interstate 295 and beyond to off-peninsula neighborhood centers. The focus of this project is the section of Forest Ave between Park Ave and Woodford’s Corner. This section of the street has many great features including frequent transit service, high-density mixed use buildings, USM’s urban campus, historic “auto row” buildings, Oakhurst Dairy, pre-World War II multistory commercial blocks at Woodford’s Corner, Hannaford Shopping Center with the City’s largest grocery store, attractive residential neighborhoods, abundant opportunities for infill development and a wide right-of-way ripe for reconfiguration.

At present, this segment of Forest Avenue also faces significant issues and challenges. Auto-oriented land uses have begun to dominate the corridor, compromising its character as a destination and business district. Pedestrian, bicycle and bus accessibility have been diminished by vehicle speed, congestion, road width, and a lack of pedestrian amenities. Business viability has been hindered by a perceived lack of parking and residential density is inconsistent.

The goal of this study is to develop functional and safe pedestrian, bicycle, bus and motorist access both along and across Forest Avenue - a key gateway corridor. This study will also look at land use, leveraging transportation and other public investments to stimulate private redevelopment and infill of underutilized properties.

Advisory Committee

Bill Hall (Co-Chair) Lee Lowry (Co-Chair)
John Bennett Craig Hutchinson
Stuart Collins John Colton
Keith Cunningham Sarah Cushman
Martha Elkus David Evans
Peter Eyerman Frank Gallagher
Hallie Gilman Alan Kuniholm
Alex Landry David Libby
Naomi Mermin Pat Muzzy
Tom Ridge Drew Sigfridseon
John Spritz John Sundling
Will Watman Bill Welch

Staff Members

City of Portland:
Molly Casto – Senior Planner
Katherine Earley – Engineering Services Manager
Bruce Hyman - Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Coordinator
Alex Jaegerman – Planning Division Manager

Greater Portland Council of Governments:
Carl Eppich – PACTS Transportation Planner
Paul Niehoff – PACTS Senior Transportation Planner
Stephanie Carver – GPCOG Transportation and Land Use Planner

Project Consultants:
Martin Hull – IBI Group
Tegin Teich – IBI Group
Connie Gemmer – Barton & Gingold
Tobey Williamson – Barton & Gingold
Tom Gorrill – Gorrill–Palmer Consulting Engineers

Current Backup Material

October 27, 2011 Pubic Meeting Notes
Transforming Forest Avenue Concept Plan Executive Summary
Comparison Table of Requirements for B-2 and B-2b Business Zones
Meeting Minutes from PAC September 22, 2011 meeting
June 22nd Public Meeting Presentation
Presentation of Draft Alternatives- June 15th Public Advisory Committee Meeting
Presentation of Existing Conditions- May 4th Public Advisory Committee Meeting
Project Request for Proposals (RFP) - November, 2010
Consultant Project Proposal - Project Understanding The following link is an excerpt from the consultant team's original proposal, submitted in response to the November, 2010 City of Portland/PACTS RFP. 
Council Order Establishing the Public Advisory Committee

Meeting Schedule

Planning Board Meeting
Transforming Forest Avenue Study will appear as a Workshop item.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:30 p.m. (this item is the 3rd item on the agenda)
Room 209, 2nd Floor, Portland City Hall

3rd Public Advisory Committee Meeting
September 27, 2011
5:30-8:00 pm
State of Maine Room. Portland City Hall

3rd Public Meeting
October 27, 2011
6:30-8:30 pm
Seely Hall. Woodfords Church Parish House. 202 Woodford Street. Portland, Maine

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Would improving the transit, pedestrian and bicycling conditions on Forest Avenue result in automobile delay and diversion into adjacent neighborhoods?

A: Generally, improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists can be accomplished without adversely impacting automobile traffic. Providing safe and appealing alternative travel choices can reduce the demand for peak-hour travel in cars - the principal cause of daily congestion. One of the measures we will use to assess possible changes to Forest Avenue is to prevent or minimize the potential for diversion onto neighborhood streets. Furthermore, pending improvements to traffic signal coordination along Forest Avenue related to this study are very likely to improve the flow of traffic, reducing the delay that causes people to divert into adjacent neighborhoods today.

Q: Wouldn’t directing pedestrians and bicycles to other destinations such as the path on Baxter Boulevard be more appropriate than making Forest Avenue friendlier to these modes of travel?

A: While destinations such as Back Cove Trail might be more suited for recreational walking and biking, people who walk or bike as their primary mode of transportation need to safely access the same shops, institutions and other destinations that people in cars do. They should be safely accommodated for.

Residents living near Forest Avenue should not feel obligated to drive a car for short trips simply because walking or biking feels unsafe or uninviting. Further, no matter what mode of transport you use, all customers (except for drive-thru customers) become pedestrians once they have parked their cars. Making Forest Avenue hospitable for all modes of travel is therefore important for community safety and for economic development, which is well served by a more active street life.

Q: Is this study revisiting the proposal to increase residential density in the R-3 and R-5 zones adjacent to Forest Avenue?

A: No. The City of Portland is not re-opening the discussion of increasing the allowable density in the R-3 and R-5 districts as part of this study.

Q: How does this study interface with the work that Maine DOT is doing to improve the I-295 Exit 6 Interchange?

A: Maine DOT is currently investigating ways to improve safety at the base of the interchange ramps for exiting vehicles. Maine DOT has temporarily suspended work on their interchange study until the results of the Transforming Forest Avenue study are available for their use. The most helpful information this study can provide to Maine DOT is related to improving pedestrian and bicycle safety at the existing interchange ramps.

Contact Us

Rick Knowland, Senior Planner at 207-874-8725 or by email