Middle Street Bike Lanes Back in Front of the Portsmouth City Council

Tonight (Monday, January 25, 2021) the Middle Street Bike Lanes are back in front of the city council. Toole Design performed a review of the plans and implementation as part of the council’s previous actions on this project. Tonight, a representative from Toole Design with give a presentation on their findings. Bill Watson from NH DOT will also be present.

From the council’s packet…

Toole Design Group’s analysis does not find that the design modifications requested by Council are merited and their independent review of the bike lanes did not demonstrate safety, environmental, or other concerns that would justify a substantial redesign. However, Toole has identified several measures that could be implemented to improve the safety and operations of the bike lanes and pedestrian traffic, while not exposing the City to possible repayment of the federal grant.

Bill Watson, Administrator at the NHDOT Bureau of Planning and Community Assistance, has provided an email as follow-up to that meeting on January 11, which also verifies that the City would be expected to pay back the federal funds should we decide to move forward with the Council’s request.

Our take:

We want to acknowledge the due diligence the Council has taken with regards to the Middle Street bike lane project. We were pleased when – in the face of some uncertainty about design — the Council asked for data and analysis from both a nationally recognized consultant and the NH DOT. Reading through their findings, we are also encouraged to see that both sources indicate the City is going in the right direction. Introducing new bicycle infrastructure always requires minor adjustments, especially from drivers, but with some give and take all around, protected bike lanes will play an important role in Portsmouth’s multi-modal transportation future.

SABR has a simple goal: encourage cycling as part of our City’s way of life, for all ages and reasons that include commuting, leisure, and sport. We very much agree with and support the goals of the City’s Master Plan – to make cycling safe and easy throughout Portsmouth. Our City is defining itself as a leader in this field. As the City continues to implement its specific master plan for pedestrians and bicyclists, we will be delighted to continue to partner with the Council and City departments.

You can read the Toole report from the council packet by finding on the city web site or by clicking here