Expert Advises Camden to Attract More Imaginary Pedestrians by Moving All the Buildings Three Feet Closer to the Road

friends of midcoast maine

friends of midcoast maineCAMDEN, 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.  “We still have that duty to move traffic,” he said. “But the first rule is for the traffic to obey the rules of the community.” When some participants suggested that Maine’s Department of Transportation might not agree, Burden assured them they’d “be surprised how much change you’re in charge of.” Narrowing street width is just one way to get drivers to slow down. Psychological “traffic-calming” cues such as adding street plantings, different colored paving and edging and islands have come into common use in many parts of Maine. But in the walking tour, Burden revealed finer points of boosting downtown economic and cultural viability. (read more, after you walk downtown to get the paper, at the Bangor Daily News)

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3 Comments on "Expert Advises Camden to Attract More Imaginary Pedestrians by Moving All the Buildings Three Feet Closer to the Road"

  1. John Kidle | May 23, 2012 at 10:31 AM |

    Wouldn’t it be simpler and cheaper to use CGI? You could move the buildings and add more people–sort of.

  2. Hi John- You are now the Rumford Meteor’s official expert in making downtowns more friendly.

  3. John Kidle | May 23, 2012 at 9:05 PM |


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