Transportation is integral to our livelihoods in Maine. We use transportation not only to move from place to place, but also as a means of work, and a way to transfer goods and services across great distances. Suffice to say, a well-functioning, reliable, and safe transportation system is crucially important to our community.

As sustainability professionals, our goal is to help create a transportation system that is reliable, safe, and sustainable, enabling all users to travel. Throughout the 20th century, infrastructure, policies, and road design prioritized only automobile traffic, making other modes of transportation less convenient and often more dangerous.

Complete Streets is a design approach to transportation stemming from Department of Transportation initiative. Courtesy photo

By prioritizing automobiles, bikers and pedestrians were forced to either be creative with their commutes, or to use vehicle-centric roads. This system also created inequity. Prioritizing car ownership is not only expensive, but disproportionately impacts Black, indigenous, people of color and low income communities through roadway construction, road pollution, and the loss of neighborhood connectivity and community spaces.

Across the nation and especially here at home in Maine, communities like ours are actively working to develop safe, sustainable transportation systems which benefit all users.

Complete Streets

Complete Streets is a design approach to transportation stemming from a federal Department of Transportation initiative. Roadways are built to enable safe, convenient access for all users – this includes pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities – as well as address street aesthetics and storm water runoff systems. Complete Streets projects aim to include safe crosswalks, wide sidewalks, protected bike lanes, median islands, curb extensions, and roundabouts.


South Portland, Portland, and the State Department of Transportation have all passed Complete Streets policies; a first step in ensuring roadways are designed with all in mind.

For more information about South Portland’s Complete Streets policy, visit the Transportation & Land Use planning tab at

Statewide department of transportation policy can be found at

Get involved

Want to be involved in the planning, outreach, and advocacy for safer roadways in our community? Check out the resources listed below:

The city’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee is responsible for advancing the city’s Complete Streets policy and improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities across the city. More information can be found at


The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is the state’s leading advocacy organization working to improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians. Visit for more ways to get involved with the organization and its outreach efforts.

And, check out our March Coffee & Climate speaker series focused on Complete Streets policy.

Coffee & Climate: Complete Streets

Join us Friday, March 10, from 9 to 10 a.m. for this month’s Coffee & Climate on Complete Streets. Jean Sideris of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will join us to discuss the Complete Streets concept that takes into consideration all modes of travel in transportation design. Staff from our two cities will also share the many projects underway to improve walking, biking, and transit in our communities.

Grab a cup of coffee and join us online for this event. Sign up for this event at

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram @soposustainability.

Steve Genovese is an AmeriCorps Greater Portland Council of Governments Resilience Corps Fellow serving in the South Portland Sustainability Office through September 2023. He can be reached at [email protected]

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