Legalize Bicycle Access to Tukey's Bridge
To whom it may concern: The undersigned support a rule change to allow bicyclists traveling on Washington Avenue between the Portland peninsula and the North to cross Tukey's Bridge using Washington Avenue in Portland, Maine. Many reasons support this request. Tukey's Bridge is the most direct route between Portland and the northern suburbs. Currently, the only legal option for bicycle travel is to use a side path on the bridge, which has many problems of its own. The side path is far too narrow for two-way bicycle traffic over most of its length, and during peak hours is unsuitable for efficient transportational bicycling due to large numbers of pedestrians and other path users. The side path destinations are slow and indirect for a bicyclist trying to get in or out of downtown Portland. The only alternative route is to go around Back Bay on Baxter Boulevard, which makes a long detour from downtown. By contrast, using the vehicular section of the bridge is direct, simple, and safe. In both directions there would be a wide shoulder and two lanes of Washington Avenue separating the cyclist from Interstate 295. The infrastructure of Tukey's Bridge is similar to other bridges around the state that are not part of the interstate system, and on which bicycles are allowed. The Tukey's Bridge shoulders are wide, and the sight distances are long. The time savings for bicyclists that would result from their being able to use Washington Avenue at Tukey's Bridge would encourage bicycle commuting from Portland's northern suburbs, thereby alleviating traffic congestion, reducing vehicle emissions, and promoting healthy lifestyles. In addition, reducing the number of bicycles on the side path on the bridge would improve safety for pedestrians. In the interest of improved connectivity on Washington Avenue for those using their bikes for transportation, we support providing a legal option for confident cyclists who wish to take the more direct route, by allowing them to use the vehicular portion of the bridge. Thank you for your consideration.