High crash rates and pedestrian safety in Hallowell should be addressed during the Water Street reconstruction in 2018. The City Council and others reject the idea of curb extensions, which provide better sight distance for pedestrians and motorists, and the state has offered instead a 20-foot setback from crosswalks for parked cars. We do not believe this is an improvement over existing crosswalks or the best way to solve safety issues.

The state’s own “Complete Streets” policy calls for an analysis, including documentation, of improved safety enhancements for new or reconstruction projects. Such an analysis would help ensure the safety of all users of Water Street. Users would include bicyclists, pedestrians, people of all ages and abilities, transit users and motorists. Has a documented analysis been done?

We have a suggestion for the state that has been used in other cities. Minneapolis used painted curb extensions with temporary bollards to provide a safe place for pedestrians to stand before using a crosswalk. The bollards can be easily removed for winter maintenance. These “curb extensions” have the same effect as traditional raised (permanent) curb extensions. Using paint and bollards would not affect the Water Street construction schedule or increase the cost.

All people who walk, drive, ride, or cycle through Hallowell, especially on Water Street, need as safe an environment as can be provided. So let’s provide it — for ourselves as well as for future generations.

Dave Wood and Maggie Warren

Hallowell