Sunday, June 28, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I do believe it would be educational and entertaining to share stories of these people (I know there must be some of you out there) with the blog's audience. Maybe it would inspire others to give the car-free commute a try every now and then and it would help people 'put a face' to the issue.
Volunteers (if I could afford to pay people for their time I would, maybe I can get you a cup of cofeee) should be open to answering a few basic interview questions and having a picture or two taken. The whole ordeal will take less than 15 minutes and A few easy sample questions would be:
- How long have you been using mass transit in Portland?
- What is the biggest challenge of living car-free in Maine?
- Have you convinced anyone you know to get out of their car every now and then?
Any volunteers? If you or someone you know has any interest in participating, reply to this post with your contact information or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Monday, June 15, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The photo below is from this spring and shows cobblestone on Milk Street, which currently ends where Exchange Street crosses its path.
From what I've gathered, they are going to put patches of cobblestone down which will be even with the current surface. They say it will cost only $6,000 and take two days so I'm thinking the street will remain mostly asphalt.
The main reason for this action is to deter skateboarders from going down Exchange Street and 'scaring tourists.' I have mixed feelings about this, since skateboarding is a healthy and 'green' method of personal transport. The sidewalks will remain brick, and there is the chance that a lack of enforcement of a skateboarding ban on the street will push skateboarders onto the sidewalks. They will also start utilizing the next street over, Market Street, which is a one way which may be more dangerous than cruising down Exchange Street since it is a one way going up the incline.
I don't have anything against with the idea of skateboarding and in a perfect world skateboarders, bikes, and pedestrians could get get the roads and sidewalks all to themselves. The city deserves praise itself for its' (currently under construction?) skate park but it is located off the peninsula and would not attract the skateboarders that hang around down town (I would consider the people who use skate parks to be more 'sport' users than recreational or transportational). I think the fact that that 'the kids' with skateboards tend to hang around this area is also a reminder that there isn't much to do in this town on most nights for the under eighteen crowd. It's a tricky situation.
What are your thoughts?
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I know you're thinking 'why is a blog about the car-free life writing about cars?"
I will start by saying that Maine is one of the more auto-dependant states in the country and also that car sharing can be a great tool for those who choose not to own their own car and incur those costs associated with ownership. Some places, even in the greater Portland area, are practically unreachable by mass transit or are too long of a trip to make walking or biking (especially when it was raining like yesterday). Car sharing has obvious benefits as far as resource consumption and environmental impacts and is also a good choice for the wallet.
There are currently four of these U Car Share PT Cruisers located around Portland, with the two above on Elm Street and the other two on Commercial Street. The two on Elm Street are right across from the Metro Pulse station, which is a good neighbor for this type of transportation activity. I am not a big fan of the PT Cruisers but it was a nice ride and it had less than 5k miles on the odometer. It appears that zipcar has a wider selection of vehicles to choose from, and perhaps they will expand into Portland someday.
This car sharing system is based online, which would obviously be an issue for some low-income or elderly residents, but is very convenient for those who have access. You become a member by paying a small membership fee (or for free using the case-sensitive code 'MAINEMETRO2009' provided by the Metro) and then simply reserve a vehicle by the hour or by the day. It is roughly $9.50 an hour or $66.00 a day. You don't have to pay for gas, maintenance, or extra insurance (there is some sort of basic coverage provided) so it really is a good value for someone like myself who will only be using the service to make the occasional doctors appointment or to pick up a piece of furniture that I can't fit onto a bus.
The point of this post (I should probably start putting points at the beginning of posts) is that even if you choose to live a car-free lifestyle in Portland you have a (for all intensive purposes) environmentally friendlier and cost conscious alternative to owning a car.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Portland Greendrinks is part of the international Greendrinks network -- aninformal, volunteer-managed social networking group built around a common interest in the natural environment. It occurs on the second Tuesday of every month, starting around 5:30 pm. The goal of Greendrinks is pretty simple: good times shared among people working in, or interested in, environmental and sustainability issues.
This month's event is at Gorham Bike & Ski on Congress street and sounds like it will be a good time.
The event will be held Tuesday, June 9 from 5:30 - 8 PM at Gorham Bike &
Ski's NEW LOCATION next to Local 188 right here on the peninsula at 693 Congress St. Be sure to ride your bike to celebrate the beautiful weather and take full advantage of the complimentary BIKE VALET SERVICE!!!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Encouraging commuters to use a moped or motorcycles can reduce traffic congestion downtown and help in the city’s efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption and avert greenhouse gas emission. Dedicating motorcycle and moped parking spaces is also a safe and legal way to ensure that two-wheeled vehicles are properly parked on the street.
“Improving access to the downtown for mopeds and motorcycles is a part of the city’s long term transportation strategy to promote different modes of transportation,” remarked City Councilor and Transportation Committee Chair Kevin Donoghue. “With rising fuels prices, more and more people are looking to mopeds and other low-impact, efficient modes of transportation. Adding these spaces is an economical way to maximize parking in the downtown and make the two-wheel option more attractive for residents and commuters.”
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The trail, which converts a 13.2 acre former railroad property into a walking trail with pocket parks, gardens and public gathering areas, will become a focal point for cultural activities and community programs, contribute to the economic vitality of the city, and improve the quality of life for the tens of thousands of residents, workers, and visitors to Portland each day.
In addition to providing a safe alternative transportation corridor through the redeveloping neighborhood of Bayside, this ribbon of green will provide a new gateway for Maine's largest city.