Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2016

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Civil Engineering (MCE)

Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Per Garder

Second Committee Member

Roberto Lopez-Anido

Third Committee Member

Jeffrey Aceto

Abstract

Franklin Street is a minor arterial servicing Portland, Maine that connects Commercial Street and Route 1 to I-295 and has been a target for redevelopment for some time. Franklin is the epitome of traffic congestion, and has unsafe conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists alike. Portland is the biggest city in Maine and is an important hub for employment, housing and tourism throughout the year. As the city grows, there is a greater demand to build more sustainable, multi-use streets to service all modes of transportation that supports business development, open space and growth. This new vision is being applied to all sectors of the city from pedestrian and bicycle considerations, to neighborhoods, housing, the waterfront and beyond. The key issue is how do you apply these concepts to improve pedestrian, bicycle and traffic safety and flow along Franklin Street in Portland, Maine.

The main goal of this research is to see if previous reports and analysis, done by outside consultants and city planners, fit the city’s vision and effectively improve the corridor. One of the concerns being that the city may be focusing too much on the idea and not on how to implement the ideas in a practical way. Namely, will the designs and suggestions properly reduce traffic congestion while improving pedestrian and bicycle safety? The approach used in this thesis is to look at this problem by understanding the history and current conditions, what sectors of Portland affect Franklin Street the most and how they tie into the vision, analyzing future traffic models and data at a worst case scenario and making suggestions to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety based on that scenario.

Based on the research and analysis, the city does a good job of making suggestions to improve Franklin Street to coincide with the their vision. However, it seems that the City planners have been more focused on the idea of creating a multi-use, sustainable corridor rather than making sure they effectively mitigate conditions for future traffic growth of all road-user categories. Their suggestions could help improve traffic now as well as support business growth, open space and safety improvements, but what will it do for the future? Would we be back to similar conditions with congestion and safety issues as we see today? This thesis looks to help answer these questions and make suggestion to properly improve Franklin Street. I propose and recommend improvements based on three geometric layouts for Franklin Street combined with analysis from this thesis to provide the best solution.

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