Maine's New Plan Envisions an End to Traffic Fatalities by 2045

May 24, 2023
In the Greater Portland area, there are about 20 traffic related fatalities and 118 severe injuries a year on average

A newly adopted roadway plan may be the key to end traffic fatalities by 2045. At least that's what the Greater Portland Council of Governments is hoping for.

According to the council, in the greater Portland area, there are about 20 traffic related fatalities and 118 severe injuries a year on average.

Developed under Vision Zero, the roadway plan was adopted after the council voted on Tuesday. This means that 18 municipalities in the region can now apply for federal funds to help them redesign roadways and make other safety improvements.

Belinda Ray, director of strategic partnerships for the council, said the Portland regional plan calls for upgrades at some corridors and intersections.

"[We're] looking at intersections and maybe putting in new safety counter measures, that could be anything from raised crosswalks or better paint and bollards to separate bike lanes," she said.

Last fall, the council held meetings with the public in order to identify the most dangerous roadways and intersections where improvements should be prioritized. They include several spots on the Portland peninsula and downtown Biddeford Saco, as well as certain locations and along Route 115 in North Windham.

"The intersections where people have a lot of concerns tend to look alike," Ray said. "They have a lot of lanes. They have mixed uses, pedestrians, bicyclists and cars. And they're places where people tend to maybe speed or run a red light, making conditions really dangerous. There's a lot of congestion in these areas, that can make it hard too.

The new plan also calls for reducing the size of fleet vehicles, expanding the use of public transit, and reducing speed limits in some areas.