CAMDEN, Maine — There is a simple truth that Maine small towns would do well to learn and embrace, Dan Burden says. The lower the speed of vehicles passing through, the higher the retail sales at downtown shops and restaurants. Burden, a national expert in making downtowns pedestrian-friendly, was the guest speaker at workshops hosted by The Friends of Midcoast Maine in Thomaston on Monday and in Camden on Tuesday. Slowing down traffic is much more complicated than posting lower speed limits, though, as workshop participants learned. A group of 30 participants ventured out of the town office building Tuesday morning onto Washington Street to see downtown Camden through Burden’s eyes. The tour had barely begun when Burden stopped everyone. Out came a carpenter’s tape measure and Burden noted the width of the travel lane of the one-way side street was 10 feet. Most travel lanes should be 10 feet wide in downtowns, he said, though transportation planners typically have built them at 13 feet. Burden measured the parking spaces on the street at 8 feet; too wide, he said. (read more, after you walk downtown to get the paper, at BangorDailyNews)
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