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December 11, 2018

Saco, Scarborough plan ‘business-friendly’ Route 1 improvements

The city of Saco and town of Scarborough are partnering with the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System to develop a business-friendly plan of improvements for U.S. Route 1.

According to a joint news release, the municipalities will develop a comprehensive plan that unifies the road's character through both communities, making it more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, improving safety and easing traffic issues.

The plan would be implemented over time as funding is available. PACTS is contributing to the financing of the study.

Saco Public Works Director Patrick Fox said in the release that Route 1 in Saco is under significant development pressure.

"The resulting increase in vehicle traffic on Route 1 will make safety a key priority there," Fox said. "Carefully planning driveways and managing traffic flow as this area develops will help to alleviate some of the existing traffic concerns."

Scarborough Planning Director Jay Chace said the benefits of the project will be a business-friendly road that encourages people to walk, bike and use public transit.

The focus will be on improving pedestrian facilities, including signs, design, crosswalk locations, crossing distances, pedestrian refuges and related safety, comfort and convenience measures.

A comprehensive plan for bicycle facility improvements will also be developed, looking at signs, lane markings, bike racks and other bicycle features.

The study will provide recommendations for improving timing on traffic signals to reduce energy consumption for motorists and to encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use. Access management, which involves the careful planning of the location and spacing of driveways, street connections, median openings and traffic signals, will be used to reduce vehicle crashes and conflicts between vehicles and other travelers.

The study is focusing on the Route 1 corridor from downtown Saco to Pleasant Hill Road in Scarborough.

Saco held a public meeting Dec. 5 to get input and hear concerns about the project. Scarborough has scheduled a public meeting for Dec. 13.

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