Stop Chicken Little: The Truth about Traffic in Portland, Maine



Stevens Avenue

SAP Summary

Brighton Avenue

Capisic Street

Deering Oaks

State/High 2Way

Outer Congress

Franklin Arterial



Stop Signs

About this Site


Maine Statutes


                                raised crosswalk design from Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices  2005

Welcome !

This is the "Stop Chicken Little" traffic calming information  site for Portland, Maine
It has been updated as of March 10,  2015
(update list here)

What's the "Chicken Little" reference? 
If you remember your fairy tales, Chicken Little was the paranoid critter that ran around the barnyard screaming that the sky was falling when it was not, getting everybody into a tizzy.
                             The fairy tales continue.

This site originally started in 1998 as a presentation of just the Stevens Avenue
Traffic Calming Project in Portland, Maine, a series of asphalt berms and speed tables,
 nationally known as one of 1997s top three traffic calming disasters.

As of 2011 Portland  government is still maintaining the quiet fiction of the project's
success in the face of evidence otherwise.
Because of the city's forays into other areas of the city and more wasteful traffic engineering mishaps, I have divided up the various sections into their respective areas of affect on the city.

The Stevens Avenue Traffic Calming Project : One of the top three traffic
calming disasters in the United States in 1997, it was the big lie that really got
things started in Portland.
This section is very large and very detailed.
The SAP has sadly set the "tone" for traffic calming in Portland since it's start:
misrepresentation, lies, fraud, coercion and political influence run amok.
Summary here.

The Deering Oaks Project  Plan S2  2005: The biggest disaster for Deering Oaks
Park and Portland so far: $13,000,000 almost down the tubes. Increased accidents, pollution, and congestion, paid for by the Portland public.
This section is also very large.

Franklin Arterial Redesign   2014 : One of THE major arterial / gateway roads  of Portland is being narrowed to make the road safer?.... or not. Maybe easier to cross by making it twice as wide?.... or not. To eliminate green space?.... Maybe not.  Not really sure.....A gorgeous pathway to Portland gets tarred under.

The State and High Street Two-way Plan   2014: Plan S2 failed.... SO....let's take out the cut-through elimination, and run it all up the pole again! Congestion, pollution,  and accidents, here we come, thanks to a pliable City Council. 

 Outer Congress St. / Libbytown  2014: Outer Congress St. in Libbytown has to be 2-laned from 4 to slow traffic down, for some reason.  Plan was to shut down all the  exits off I-295 too, but that was shot down by MDOT.

The Brighton Avenue Traffic Calming Project :  2001 successor to the SAP :  The avenue
is safer,  because it's more dangerous!

 The Capisic Street Speed table project  2002: Four more speed tables : illegal, but
who's looking? The City starts ignoring its own ordinances.

Libbytown Traffic Calming - 2014:  A $335,000 multitude of speed tables, two roundabouts, and a couple of illegal stop signs installed to solve a problem the residents didn't have: "heavy traffic" .

  Median installation  : a spreading cancer of vehicle damage and expense. Covered here in some detail are the Woodfords median, Vannah Avenue / Baxter Blvd. median, and the Dartmouth St. / Baxter Blvd. medianMiscellaneous Medians has a little on the Preble St. median by the Hannaford, and some medians on Washington Avenue extension.

2005 Traffic Calming Report Cover up : How the City withheld and then rewrote a report
on the low morale of Portland DPW employees, calming project failures, and rampant illegal stop sign installations.

All of the information here has been gathered from official Portland DPW, Maine state and federal government sources, and from other local and state traffic engineering offices from around the nation and world

I say this because people sometimes think I am making this stuff up. I'm not.

Since 1997 the city has installed traffic calming illegally on other streets,  in violation of its own ordinances.  Dangerous medians, traffic circles, illegal stop signs, and stanchion projects have been installed. The latest big fiasco by far has been the Deering Oaks Reconstruction project, a $ 8-37,000,000 disaster that died because it didn't meet any of the state requirements for installation. . BUT, it's back for 2014, in the guise of the "State and High Street Two-way Conversion Project".

All of this has been done by the City Council as an effort to keep their friends  happy. Agenda-driven,  the friends know what they want to have done, but not what they are talking about. They think they do but unfortunately they don't, and they don't care.

Consequently, the general populace sees bad calming techniques of one sort or another being installed on others streets. They also assume that this is a good thing for their neighborhood , and start clamoring for their own calming project, especially once the traffic from the first project starts rolling through their neighborhood in an effort to avoid the first project! And so it spreads.  

People ask me : "WHY DO you DO this?" I research this material because I am SO tired of politicians lying to the public, by omission or commission. They really have to stop. It's too dangerous in too many ways.

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(Chicken Little illustration by David Peterson, age 10)