This map of Brunswick shows the level of interest bicyclists and pedestrians have in various sections of town, either because they are popular or need to be improved. Areas of greatest interest are red, with those of less interest in blue or white.

BRUNSWICK — Maine Street and Bath Road topped residents’ wish lists as two busy corridors most in need of bicycling and pedestrian access improvements.

The data stems from feedback from about 200 people – through paper surveys distributed at three public input-gathering sections in various parts of town in January and online as well – according to Laurel Margerum, an intern in the town manager’s office. She, Town Planner Jared Woolston, and Jim Tasse, assistant director of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition of Maine, discussed the results at a forum Feb. 27.

More than 20 people each saw Maine Street and Bath Road most in need of bicycling safety work, followed by Federal Street/Sills Drive/Harpswell Road (largely Route 123), Brunswick Landing (the former Brunswick Naval Air Station), and roads to neighboring communities like Bath and Harpswell.

Jared Woolston, Brunswick’s planner, discusses the feedback gleaned from about 200 people surveyed on which streets are most in need of bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

More than 40 people most wanted Maine Street’s pedestrian infrastructure improved, followed by Bath Road/Cooks Corner (37), outer Pleasant Street/River Road (36), and Federal Street/Sills Drive/Harpswell Road (21).

Of those polled, 60% found the area near their home not bicycle-friendly, and 51% not pedestrian-friendly, and 46% and 24% thought the same, respectively, of the area around their workplace.

Brunswick last updated its Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Plan in 2004 and, with the Comprehensive Plan being updated, the town looks to revise it accordingly. A framework is on the committee’s page at brunswickme.org, but is “pretty rough right now,” according to Woolston. “This process should refine … what the public thinks is important, and it should help us prioritize what should be in the plan.”

The town looks to submit the Comprehensive Plan update to the state for review by early October, according to Matt Panfil, Brunswick’s director of planning and development.

The feedback will help the town prioritize where financial resources should be directed and in applying for grants, Tasse said.

“Without a plan, it’s difficult to make a case for funding from the state or another entity,” he said.

Tasse polled the roughly 20 people at last week’s meeting about their top priorities. Maine Street again topped the list, with 86% deeming it of highest or high priority for immediate attention. Bath Road was 75%, Pleasant Hill Road 62%, Brunswick Landing and Pleasant Street both 58%, Federal Street/Sills Drive/Harpswell Road 52%, McKeen Street 45%, and roads to neighboring towns 40%.

“I don’t think any place in this town is safe for biking,” said frequent bicyclist and walker Sue Stableford, pointing to drivers who speed or text on their phones, and few cases in which road shoulders are wide enough for a bicyclist to steer clear of traffic.

“The purpose of this is to set up some prioritization,” Woolston responded. It is futile to tell the Town Council “that we want everything, everywhere,” he said, because it is “just not going to happen. But to ask them for some reasonable shortlist of things on a reasonable timeline is potentially something that is tangible.”

Councilor Kathy Wilson agreed. “This is just a beginning,” she said. “You’ve got to start somewhere.”

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