2018-07-26 / Community News

Planter meant to ‘calm’ traffic, feedback sought by city

A new flower planter installed on Main Street in Biddeford aims not just to improve the street’s aesthetics, but to slow down traffic, according to a press release issued by the city. The planter box, placed in a no-parking zone near the corner of Main and York streets, is a traffic calming measure the city is testing to protect the adjacent crosswalk.

Traffic calming uses physical design elements to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists by encouraging safer, more responsible driving. In this case, the placement of the flowers on the sidewalk bumpout narrows the street, which tends to naturally cause vehicle traffic to slow down and make drivers pay more attention to their surroundings.

“This location was selected as a test site for the planter boxes because of how the road widens in this curve, which often encouraged drivers to pick up speed,” said Public Works Director Jeff Demers in a press release. “The box is placed at about the distance from the sidewalk that a parked car would be, so it doesn’t require drivers to maneuver around it, but it does visually narrow the road just enough to slow them down.”

The public works department wants to hear resident feedback on the new measure from both pedestrians and drivers. Based on the success of the trial period and the feedback received from the public, additional planter boxes may be installed at other downtown crosswalks on lower Main Street and as part of Phase II of the Main Street Sidewalk Improvement Project that was approved in a 5-3 vote by the city council on last week.

To provide feedback on experiences with the effectiveness of the new traffic calming measure, contact the public works department at 282-1579 or jeff.demers@biddefordmaine.org.

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