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




 HOW does this happen?

Stevens Avenue

Brighton Avenue

Capisic Street

Deering Oaks


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HOW does this happen?

You have to wonder: "HOW does this stuff happen? HOW does it get done? It's CRAZY!"

Well, it's not what you know, but WHO you know. Portland may be the biggest city in Maine, but  it's still a pretty small town (30,000 pop.), and everybody knows everybody else, or at least has friends who DO know everybody else!

The City Council is in charge. That is largely made up of Democrats, with a Republican  or independent or two now and then for flavor. The Democrats are rancid enough for me.

Portland City Council has a bad reputation as a bunch that will do what they want to, when they want to. Ask MDOT and the feds.

The Planning Dept. works for City Hall, as does Public Works, the Fire Dept. Police Dept., etc.

SO, if you are an ex-head of the Democratic Committee, like Paula Craighead, or an ex-mayor / city councilor, like Annie Pringle, you have some buds on the council!

YOU can be telling the Planning Dept. or Public Works (now Public Services) what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. Once the Council gets the word out that you are to be obeyed, that staff who don't go along to get along will be fired, then you are SET.

YOU can tell professionals how to do their job! YOU, with no experience at all can become better than equal! Who cares if there are 15 times the people against your pet project as for it, you can get it done.

I used to wonder how things slid so easily through the system up to state level.

The Portland Planning Dept. has planners: Senior, Junior.  What they come up with has to go to  Portland Area Comprehensive Traffic Survey (PACTS) head John Duncan and his people for approval and then  inclusion in the funding process with the state and feds. This  usually takes about 1-2 years.

Barbara Barhyt is the Portland Planning Dept. Senior Planner. Been there for years. She knows her stuff.

She is also Mrs. John Duncan! --so you literally have the Portland Planning Dept. in bed with PACTS!  Slide, slide, slide........

I spent 6 months writing up a complaint for the U.S. Attorneys office about the Deering Oaks Project - laid it all out. Took it in, dropped it off.

They got back to me a month or so later and said they weren't going to prosecute anybody. An attorney by the name of Halsey Frank had taken a look, and said "Sorry!".....bummer. I guess I hadn't made a case....

If you have read through this site, you have come across The Friends of Deering Oaks, the nice people who wanted to steal the park and State St. for themselves.  WELL...there is  an umbrella organization  called "Friends of the Parks" who oversee all the parks, not just Deering Oaks.

Guess who was a member of The Friends of the Parks at the time? : good old Halsey Frank!

It seems like kind of a conflict of interest to have an attorney who sits on the board of the organization who oversees the organization I am complaining about , dismissing my complaint, but hey! - what do I know.

Like I said, it's who you know.......I know them; they don't want to know me......

All this malfeasance continues because the public is lazy. They assume that the pols they elect, those lying, cheating, pay-off grabbing sweeties that we all know, are going to do the right thing in the end. If that is the case, explain the Stevens Project, or the Deering Oaks project.

Breaking the law, ignoring the law, making their own laws (but they ignore those too....) : that's our local politicians.

The public has to step up and take malfeasance to task. They have to complain. Yes, as in the Stevens Project, they might get ignored by the Council, but keep on going. We all know what plops down faster than it flies up, so start at the  top instead. Ignore the locals.

One thing I have found is that if you are talking to the U.S. Attorneys office, or our state senators, or Federal Highway Washington, it really puts a damper on what the locals do. They start being careful once they find out who you are talking to. Things get slow, or stop.

Who wants to go to jail? Not me! Not them.

So keep up your effort.  But learn the details about what you are talking about. It's the details that make the argument. Once you get to a point where your correspondent wants to know what engineering office you work in, you are getting there. Keep learning.

One thing you will run up against is the proponents of some cockamamie project making the wildest claims with no evidence or even truth to back the fiasco up. It's full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes as long as the proponents political friends are on board.

But if you, as some unwashed bumpkin, even if you are exactly right, present anything with a period missing, the proponents are quick to jump - "Oh-oh! Faulty punctuation!! The whole argument is invalid! Full speed ahead!"

So, be careful! Accuracy counts.

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