Bangor plans to build a pedestrian and bicycle trail along 14th Street Extension to Valley Avenue, allowing for seamless foot and bike traffic connection from Ohio Street all the way to downtown Bangor.
The City Council approved grant applications for that project and other pedestrian accessibility projects at its Monday night meeting. If approved, the Maine Department of Transportation would fund $344,000 in grants for the project, with the city making up the remainder of the $430,000 total cost of the project.
The project, construction of which would not begin until next year, would remove the passing lane on 14th Street Extension and turn it into a paved, multi-use trail. There presently are no sidewalks on that stretch of 14th Street. It would start at the intersection of Ohio Street and 14th Street, and would continue down 14th Street until just past the intersection of Valley Avenue and 14th, where a rectangular rapid flashing beacon — a light-up crosswalk — would be installed. There, the new trail would connect with the existing Kenduskeag Stream Trail.
Removing the passing lane on 14th Street Extension would have the added benefit of reducing speed on a road with a speed limit currently posted at 25 miles per hour.
“The posted speed is 25 miles per hour, and it’s not heavy truck traffic that’s going up that road,” said John Theriault, Bangor’s city engineer. “There’s no reason to go fast on that road, but people abuse that passing lane and zoom up it so they can pass people that are actually going the speed limit. This will hopefully fix that.”
The project is one of eight in total to come out of the city’s Head’s Up Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, a report issued in October 2020 after several public forums earlier that year sought to get input from the community on problem areas for pedestrians and cyclists throughout the city.
One of those projects, the installation of a flashing crosswalk at the intersection of Hammond Street, 14th Street and Royal Road, is already complete.
Another project also was given the go-ahead for grant applications at Monday’s meeting: the installation of sidewalk “bump-outs” along Harlow Street between Center Street and Cumberland Street, to provide better visibility for both pedestrians and motorists, and also to reduce speed on Harlow. That project is estimated to cost $166,000, of which $132,800 would be covered by Maine DOT grants, if approved.
Other projects include pedestrian safety improvements along Broadway, Stillwater Avenue, Maine Avenue and Odlin Road, and fixes to intersections, including between Oak and Washington Streets and the State Street bridge, and at Union and 13th Street near Hayford Park.
“We’re doing pretty well in getting these projects completed,” Theriault said. “If we get the funding, we can tick off five out of the eight projects in total in the next couple years.”