PORTLAND — Transportation planners say the city should consider turning a section of Congress Street into a more bus-friendly corridor.

Planners will present their recommendation for creating a “bus priority corridor” to the City Council’s Transportation Committee on June 21.

The council will have final say over any traffic changes or changes in the design of Congress Street, said Bill Needelman, a city planner.

“We want to make our buses a little faster and little easier to use,” Needelman said Tuesday night during a public presentation at the Portland Public Library.

Planners discussed whether there are any feasible plans for expediting bus service along Congress Street, between State Street and Franklin Street. It now takes a Metro bus four to eight minutes to travel that section.

Jeremiah Bartlett, a traffic engineer for Gorrill-Palmer of Gray, said one option emerged: allowing Metro buses to stop on Congress Street rather than pulling off to the side of the road to let passengers get on and off.

That would allow buses to move faster along Congress Street, and would create additional parking spaces in the areas where buses now pull over.

Some left turns off Congress Street would be eliminated, and traffic signals where Congress intersects with Casco, Brown and Temple streets would have to be removed.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]