Questions and Answers
Bruce F. Quigley, 12.15.21
First thank you for the Zoom meeting last night. A couple of suggestions for future presentations, would be to have the zoom video only focus on the presentation so it fills our screens. This instead of the split screen viewed last night. Another suggestion would be to remind speakers to stand close to the microphone so we can clearly hear them.
After reviewing the "volume schematics" Pg 30 and 31 is there or has there been any data collected for the Rte 1 (Elm St.) / Biddeford Connector intersection? This would provide a complete picture as it relates to the flow of traffic to the pike and/or continuing (in either direction) on Rte 1 vs heading to the Turnpike.
We apologize for the less than perfect execution of our meeting. This was the city’s first try at a hybrid meeting and we did not realize the issue you identify in terms of the screen split until the meeting was over. Our apologies We expect to have a better broadcasting system in the Council Chambers by February 2022, so these logistical concerns should be resolved by the next public meeting.
In terms of your question about the Route 1/Biddeford Connector intersection, no we do not expect to collect that data, as that location is not in the study area and not critical for understanding turnpike patterns associated with connections to South Street and Route 111 to the west.
Thanks very much for your interest.
Anthony Curro, 6.03.22
To make this meeting meaningful and productive can we see the data ahead of time so we can review the information that has been developed? Looking at the data ahead of time should lead to more thoughtful questions and a better discussion
On another matter thank you for the estimated daily trips from the proposed new South street development. I have shared that with our councilor, Liam LaFountain and requested he share that with the planning board prior to their next meeting. As part of the traffic study you had mentioned that you were looking at impacts of this development. Will information about the direction of those trips be part of the June meeting?
Tony, we’ll be posting a report with the detailed data gathered to-date a week before the meeting on the City website. I’ll be sending out an alert once it’s posted.
Regarding the new development, I believe I have heard that it will require a Traffic Movement Permit from DOT, and that would require filing a prescribed amount/type of data. I would check with your planning board for details and timing on this.
Thank you. I assume the city will send out a notification that the report data has been published.
With regard to the South St development I have passed your estimate of 1300 trips to my councilor, Liam LaFountain and asked that he forward the information to the planning board. In discussions with Liam I have been advocating for a more collaborative development process with the state. It often seems that the local planning board approves the project and then it gets turned over to the state to deal with the resulting traffic. An approach that looks at traffic and the development in an integrated way throughout the planning and approval process would seem like it would yield a better result. For example in some parts of the country developments are being approved with limitations on the number of vehicles. In order to make that type of decision traffic planning needs to be integrated into consideration of the development.
Does the Traffic Movement Permit from the DOT look at traffic within a certain distance of the development? Asked another way would the Traffic Movement Permit take into consideration traffic two miles from the development? May street is a main commuting route for travelers accessing the turnpike in order to go to and from work and it is perhaps 2 miles from the proposed development. If the permit only looks at traffic near the development the commuting impact on May street might not be considered in that process. As there isn't much west of that development I think it is a reasonable assumption that most of those 1300 trips will come east along South street and many, if not most, trips will be on May street. The study done by Biddeford PD last summer showed an average of 3050 trips per day on May street. We could easily add +30% to that number with the proposed development.
Biddeford PD is currently looking at traffic on May street; they have a device mounted at the corner of Harvard and May streets. Are you aware of that study and is that data being shared with your group?
Yes, the city is sharing all the data you have mentioned with us. However, for details of how Traffic Movement Permits work and what the requirements are, I suggest you talk directly to your planning board, or contact MaineDOT. Here is the link to the legal definition and requirements for a Traffic Movement Permit: https://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/23/title23sec704-A.html
Anthony Giarratano, 07.29.22
Has a study been completed on the lights along that corridor? It seems odd that you can literally have to stop at every light.
Points of contention:
-General Timing when in a series (multiple lights in a row)
-Timing of turn signals. (some go first, some last, some with the flow of traffic, others not)
Examples: I recently drive to Home Depot (I live on South Street). On my way home I was on 111 and stopped by the Walmart Light and was in the front. Ahead of me I saw the light (the Off-Ramp/Connector) turn green, stay green, the sure enough, our light turned green and the Off-Ramp/Connector light turned red. After it's cycle and it turned green, I was again forced to stop at the Irving light for a single car turning onto 111 south. That was early on a Saturday, so there was only a handful of cars.
Now imagine that same scenario with bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic in both directions.
I was raised in NYC. There were times that you could literally stop at one light on Avenue of the America's, then get the green and coast through (at the speed limit) 10-15 blocks before having to stop (unless there was side traffic or a high tourist area with lots of crosswalks) for another light. If that can happen in NYC, why not suburban Biddeford?
Another point that I believe someone already posted, but is a perfect example of issues that were created and would be hard to fix now that cause a mess. Why are there so many left-term/straight lanes at lights? Us hardened commuters that drive up 111 from the Connector light towards 5-Points everyday know that you NEVER stay in the left lane when approaching 5-Points hopping center, because if you do you risk being stuck in a long line of people having to stop for that single car turning left into the shopping center. Why don't all the lights with turn signals have the same interval/order? One has the turn-signal go first on both sides, while another has the straights go and one go while opposing traffic has to stop, while another has each turn lane take turns, then the straight lanes. Why not standard? Having the left turn signal going into 5-Points got first with southbound traffic would alleviate some issues.
The good news is that the traffic signals on Route 111 from Exit 32 to Biddeford Crossing are maintained by the Maine Turnpike Authority – and improvements to traffic signal phasing and timing, intended to improve efficiency, are scheduled to be implemented in 2023.
The traffic signals along Route 111 are coordinated with the intent of minimizing delays but I would expect the traffic signal improvements to be implemented in 2023 to focus on improving mobility along the corridor.
The number of lanes at an intersection was likely based upon a detailed traffic modeling analysis that was designed to produce acceptable levels of service, delay and space for queuing vehicles. MaineDOT has guidelines for intersections meeting minimum level of service requirements. This does not result in no delays, simply an acceptable level of delays.
Signal phasing at intersections is based on actual counted turning movement volumes - typically during peak hours - and turn lane configurations. This is why sometimes at non-peak hours they seem inefficient. Some intersections also require separate phases because of shared lanes. An example would be the MTA Exit 32 intersection, where the Connector approach has shared through/left lanes that requires it to be on a separate phase.
Marc Rousseau, 11.28.22
Not happy. With the thousand of dollars spent on this report, no mention is made of the Main St and South Street intersection; traffic volume, accident rates. Where are those numbers going to go. ????
The report does address the Main and South Street intersection, on page 37 and 38 of the report, noting that the intersection will need improvement and tagging the approximate cost at $500,000. Please understand that this is a very, very general assessment. The overall purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of adding the new connector road. The scope (contract) asked for a general assessment of other improvements that would need to be made, but until/unless feasibility is demonstrated, there would be no point in paying for a detailed assessment. If the City and the transportation agencies decide to go ahead with further environmental and property evaluation for the new road, a more detailed design for South Street could be included at that time, or it could be included at a later date. What this study has done is flag that there is a problem, and it will need to be addressed.
We will make sure this information is highlighted in the final report. Thanks for your comment.
Tony Curro, 11.29.22
A couple of questions/comments that time did not allow to be presented at last night's meeting.
Draft Report Page 29 indicates that South street (River Road to Fox Hollow Drive) will see an increase of 100 PM peak hour vehicles with alternate 3 or 4. With the new South street development and general traffic growth what would be the increase in that area if the South St connector is not built?
Draft Report Page 50 Table 3 95th percentile queue analysis. Can you explain what that is?
We could take a guess at that, but it would just be a guess, since have not quantified that - our forecast is not site-specific but based on larger areas/zones. The numbers we presented do include both development and the new road. Obviously when the new housing is built, a very large percentage of the traffic will head east toward the downtown and May Street. With a connector road, a good portion of the new housing traffic would head south away from South Street toward Exit 32. But additional traffic would be added from the Turnpike. I do not believe that housing development is large enough to warrant a DOT traffic movement permit, but you should check with the city on that. The documents are available on the Planning Board site.
A 95th% queue is the estimated vehicle queue length (in feet) that is only exceeded during 5% of the evaluation time period.