A few weeks ago, Our Sustainable City column discussed e-bikes and how convenient they are as a sustainable mode of transportation for everyone. It goes without saying that transportation options with zero carbon emissions – like e-bikes – help our community to meet carbon emissions reduction and sustainability goals. An added benefit is the direct, positive impact cycling has on overall health.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Press Herald

A complaint we often hear however, is that many of South Portland’s streets are not bike and pedestrian friendly. But did you know that our city has a standing committee, the Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee that advocates for and addresses challenges expressed by cyclists and pedestrians? Neither did I. Which is why I sat down this week with Rosemarie De Angelis, Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee chair, to discuss the committee’s role in supporting cyclists and pedestrians throughout the city.

The Bike-Ped Committee

The mission of the committee is “to focus on the safety of and accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians across South Portland,” De Angelis explained. “We take input from all stakeholders; planning, sustainability, police, and the public to address the needs and safety concerns for all cyclists and pedestrians.

“We’re seeing more people, using all modes of transportation, sharing our roads and throughways today.”

When the committee was started in 2011, De Angelis – who has also served as South Portland’s mayor – wasn’t sure the committee needed to be a long-term, standing city committee. But as mode shift efforts away from single occupancy vehicle usage have advanced, and with more cyclists and pedestrians sharing our city streets, the need for this advocacy and contribution has only increased.


De Angelis did acknowledge some challenges, like South Portland’s importance as an industrial throughway, and how difficult walking and biking access to spaces like our libraries, public schools, and the South Portland Food Pantry are.

“But we’ve continued to advocate for improvements to city-wide infrastructure,” De Angelis concluded, before rattling off an extensive list of committee accomplishments. Some of these accomplishments include adding and improving bike lanes on Broadway, Cottage Road, and upper Main Street, providing access to public transportation for all South Portland High School students, enhancing existing multi-use paths like the one connecting the Redbank and Brick Hill neighborhoods to those on the other side of I-295, and supporting educational projects and demonstrations across the city.

Signs and other maintenance/upgrades of existing pedestrian friendly infrastructure, like the Greenbelt, is also a product of committee’s advocacy efforts.

What we can take away from this is the knowledge that the committee is working for our safety, no matter how we use South Portland’s roadways.

Get involved

The Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee meets on the third Wednesday of every month from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the South Portland Public Works facility at 929 Highland Ave. Meetings are open to the public.


To connect with De Angelis directly, contact the city clerk’s office for more information: https://southportland/departments/city-clerk.

For more information about the Bicycle-Pedestrian Committee, visit: https://southportland.org/our-city/board-and-committees/bike-ped-committee/.

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 sgenovese@southportland.org.

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