Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Walking in a Winter Portland

Being a pedestrian in the winter months can be a challenge even for the most physically fit of people. This recent press release by the city has some good winter tips for pedestrians and drivers alike and includes the map, posted below, detailing sidewalks that the city clears for pedestrians:

Of course, all sidewalks, not just the ones highlighted below should be kept clear from snow, ice, and debris. A city ordinance, that is generally well enforced, requires property owners to clear sidewalks in front of their property. If you come upon a non-city-owned sidewalk that is chronically uncleared, the public works department can be contacted at 874-8793 and they will bring a snowshovel of justice to the offender.

Also, the adopt-a-stop program is still looking for able-bodied volunteers to help keep local bus stops clear.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pedestrian Detection System

Pictured below is a newly installed pedestrian detection system at the intersection of Commercial and Franklin Streets:

As highlighted in this press release by the city, these new cameras have been installed at the pedestrian crossings at Commercial Street/Franklin Street and Park Avenue/Deering Avenue.These cameras use infrared stereo LED cameras (kind of like the Microsoft Kinect?) to detect pedestrians and sync the pedestrian and vehicle signals. This technology is being developed by Migma Systems, out of Massachusetts, and more technical information on the product can be found here and here. The system isn't currently for sale, as it is in field testing and Portland was picked as one of six demonstration cities for the technology.

I look forward to seeing the results of this trial, and stopping by these intersections to see it in action (I don't think it was on when I took the above picture). To sum this up, here is a commendable comment in the city's press release by Michael Bobinsky, Portland Public Services Director:

"Portland has long been a leader in advancing pedestrian safety and accessibility and it was great news that the city was chosen by FHWA and the Maine Department of Transportation for the installation of this cutting edge technology as it will help us continue our efforts to make this city a safe place to get around, whether on foot, bike or car."


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