Over the course of a week, BikeMaine visits six host communities who provide a welcoming atmosphere and a plethora of services and amenities for our riders. But the occasion offers much more to each community than just hosting the riders. Local advocates have capitalized on the energy and attention that BikeMaine will bring to the community in order to bring about lasting improvements for local biking and walking access and safety. Over the course of 2014, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has worked one-on-one with local bicycle, pedestrian, and trail advocates in Westbrook, Norway, Boothbay Harbor, Gardiner, and Bath to help elevate their local causes in advance of the ride.
In Westbrook, the Westbrook Recreation and Conservation Committee worked with state-wide partners to request City Council approval for Open Streets Westbrook, a car-free celebration that will take place on Main Street in the heart of downtown on Saturday September 6th from 12-5pm. The committee hopes the event will offer a fun alternative recreation space that will get residents thinking creatively about how streets can become safe places for biking, walking, and active play. Contact: Peter Burke of the Recreation and Conservation Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-632-7372.
In Norway, the Norway/Paris Active Community Environment (ACE) Team worked with Norway Downtown to identify locations around town that needed more bike parking. Norway Downtown funded 9 racks, 5 of which have been installed in advance of the ride. The ACE team is working on a number of other initiatives to foster more biking and walking, including a Walking School Bus program at a local elementary school. Contact: Seal Rossignol, ACE Team Chair, at email@example.com or 207-890-7192; and Angela Harvey regarding the new bike racks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-890-2667.
In Gardiner, the Friends of the Kennebec River Rail Trail are pleased that the BikeMaine riders will be using the path for their route through town so that their ongoing efforts will receive more attention. The group is working to extend the trail in Augusta, Hallowell, and Gardiner, and is always looking for creative ways to fund ongoing maintenance. Contact: Sarah Dunckel, President of the Friends of the Kennebec River Rail Trail, at email@example.com or 207-213-6007.
In Boothbay Harbor, the Boothbay Region Community Trails Partnership is working hard to secure the final $80,000 needed to build a much-needed sidewalk along Route 27, a busy, high-speed road. This project, which has been approved and partially funded by state and local authorities, would connect Boothbay Harbor to Boothbay Center. There is currently no safe way for people to walk from downtown Boothbay Harbor to the elementary school, YMCA, or businesses nearby. The group is please that BikeMaine Riders, who will be camping near the YMCA, will help focus attention on the need for a safe pedestrian connection in this corridor. Contact: Mary Neal, Chair of the Boothbay Region Community Trails Partnership, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-633-4629.
In Bath, the Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee has partnered with other regional partners and the City of Bath to install new bicycle safety signage on key roads in the community. The signs remind drivers to give three feet of clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road. The Committee has also worked with the Police Department to better educate drivers and enforce the safe passing law. The Bike/Ped Committee continues to work on a number of other initiatives to foster more biking and walking and is pleased that many of the local improvements they have won over the past few years will be enjoyed by the BikeMaine riders. Contact: Kevin Shute, Chair of the Bath Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, at email@example.com or 207-443-4112, x22.