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L-A ask residents and workers to weigh in on safer streets

LEWISTON, AUBURN, ME — In 2023, seven people died in traffic crashes in Lewiston and Auburn. In the past decade, 46 people have died in crashes in the two communities.

“We do not believe any number of deaths are acceptable,” said Jonathan LaBonté, Auburn’s Director of Transportation Systems. “That’s why our city council passed a resolve demonstrating our commitment to Vision Zero principles and supporting the Safe Streets and Roads for All grant process.”

As part of the process, Lewiston and Auburn are asking people who live, work, and play in either city to take a 5-minute survey to identify their biggest road safety concerns. The survey asks respondents to identify where they feel unsafe walking, using a wheelchair, bicycling and riding in a vehicle on local streets.

The survey is the first of a number of events, meetings, and public opportunities to shape individual Safety Action Plans for each community. Led by the Androscoggin Transportation Resource Center (ATRC), the Lewiston-Auburn Complete Streets Committee, and staff from both cities – the plans will outline the changes needed to make streets safer for everyone.

The Safety Action Plans are funded through a Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grant from the Federal Highway Administration. The grant requires that local communities follow the?Safe System Approach,?which sets a goal of zero deaths or serious injuries on roadways – also often known by the term “Vision Zero.”

“Input from residents is critical,” said Kevin Gagné, Lewiston Public Works Director. “Our crews drive these roads every day and in all conditions, but hearing directly from residents provides us with first-hand knowledge of your experience. Also, your voice helps us with a holistic view of road safety issues from those who face unique challenges that are not always evident in general traffic data. Your input will lead to a more inclusive approach to road safety planning.”

“When we’re done with these plans, both cities will be eligible for follow-up funding from the same program – so we can get to work building those needed sidewalks, safer intersections, trails, and safer bike routes, etc.” said Larry Allen, Transportation Director at ATRC.

The development of Auburn and Lewiston’s Safety Action Plans is taking place in a similar timeframe as other Safe Streets and Roads for All grant work in Greater Portland, Sanford/Springvale and the Bangor area. 

You can complete the survey online. Paper copies of the survey in English, French, Portuguese, Somali, and Spanish are available at the Clerk’s Office at both City Halls, and both cities’ public libraries. It should not take more than 5-10 minutes to complete and all answers are confidential. The survey will be open through July 20th.

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