Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of this Study?
The study’s goal is to identify a series of recommendations designed to preserve or enhance transportation connections between central York County and US Route 1 and the Maine Turnpike.
What are the expectations of the Study?
The study will evaluate a wide range of transportation and land use options in order to determine how best to support central York County’s transportation needs over the next 25 years. The study will endeavor to find answers to questions such as:
- Can access to greater Sanford, as the region’s service center, make a meaningful economic difference to the prospects of Sanford and its surrounding communities?
- In the long run, are these prospects best served by a northerly (Portland-oriented) or a southerly (NH/ MA-oriented) connection?
- Can upgrades to existing routes serve these purposes or are more radical improvements needed?
- How will any proposed improvements affect trafﬁc conditions elsewhere, in particular at existing connections to the Turnpike?
- How might managing land use and access along these roads contribute to achieving these purposes?
- Finally, would improving economic development have the added benefit of allowing people to live closer to newly created jobs and services? And would this reduce the amount people travel and thus meaningfully reduce congestion?
Overall, the study will develop a series of recommendations for changes and improvements in the study area that will help to preserve the regional transportation system over the long term while meeting the projected needs of area residents, businesses and visitors.
How was the Study initiated?
The study was begun in September 2010 and was authorized by a Legislative Directive from the 123rd Legislature. Click here to view the directive.
Who is paying for the Study?
The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) and the Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA) are funding the study. MaineDOT is responsible for 80% of the cost, and the MTA is responsible for the remaining 20%.
What communities are participating?
There are ten municipalities participating in this study along with (MaineDOT) and MTA. They are Biddeford, Kennebunk, Wells, Ogunquit, North Berwick, Sanford, Alfred, Waterboro, Lyman and Arundel. The Southern Maine Regional Planning Commission (SMRPC) is also a participant.
How is the Study organized?
The study is managed and conducted by the Study Team, consisting of MaineDOT, MTA, SMRPC and a consultant team led by Parsons Brinckerhoff. A Steering Committee, made up of representatives of the ten participating communities, informs the study process, provides advice and feedback from both a local and a regional perspective, and builds local and regional understanding of the study goals in order to strive for general consensus for study recommendations. An Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from business, municipal, environmental, transportation and other stakeholder groups throughout the study area. They represent the voice of key stakeholders, and provide diverse feedback and differing points of view.
How could a transportation study affect economic development in Central York County?
As the saying goes, “time is money.” There are costs associated with the time that it takes for workers, customers, goods and services to move between different points within a region. Some industries are particularly sensitive to travel time and costs. If an important regional corridor is improved so that it allows for more efficient and reliable movement of people and goods, this can support increased commercial or industrial growth. These new jobs would have direct (e.g. more tax base) and indirect (e.g. workers spend their money locally) impacts on the local area. Transportation improvements can result in a host of other economic benefits as well, such as reduced shipping and commuting costs, increased productivity, expanded markets, and improved access to customers.
The Central York County Connections Study is using an economic evaluation model called PRISM to assess potential economic impacts of the transportation improvements that will be identified in this study. Click on PRISM to see a detailed explanation.
What kind of changes could the Study recommend?
The study will investigate a varied range of options for change in roads, public transit and land use. Roadway options being evaluated include upgrading signage and traffic signals to improve the flow of traffic, as well as adding lanes to increase the number of vehicles that can travel in the area. A major expansion of highway capacity - that is, a new road - is also being investigated to determine what effects it could have on the region. The study is evaluating improvements to public transportation and ways of increasing opportunities to walk or bike. Land use policy options are being evaluated as well for communities to consider, including how access management regulations and zoning could be adapted to help improve traffic flow and safety.
How can I get involved with the study?
The Central York County Connections Study urges all interested members of the community to get involved and contribute their desires and concerns for the region. To become involved, citizens can participate in public meetings; call, email or write us a letter; leave us a comment directly on this website; or participate in our Web Based Outreach Tool (WebOT). To learn more about the Central York County Connection Study’s commitment to community involvement click here.
Who decides what the final study recommendations will be?
Final study recommendations will be based on analysis of the data gathered and the study goals as outlined in the Draft Purpose and Need Statement.
The process of developing and evaluating options is a collaborative process involving the citizens, businesses, and communities of York County, as well as the Study Team, MaineDOT, Maine Turnpike Authority and other agencies. Feedback provided by the public is an important part of the study process and will be carefully considered. As funding and implementing entities, the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority ultimately have final authority in deciding upon study recommendations; the participating municipalities (as part of the Steering Committee) will also be asked to endorse study findings and recommendations.
Has it already been determined that there will be a turnpike spur built from I-95 to Sanford?
No, study outcomes have not yet been determined. The Central York County Connections Study is charged with exploring all feasible transportation, land use and transit options. The study will then prioritize those options that are most economical and efficient (both initially and over the longer term). The Study Team is gathering data to understand the potential impacts – both negative and positive - for each option studied. The study will look at the feasibility of a turnpike spur, but it is one of many potential options that are being examined.
Will the study look at transit and bicycle/pedestrian opportunities in the area in addition to vehicle opportunities?
Yes. The study is considering the roles all modes of transportation can fulfill. The Study Team has already looked at transit opportunities currently available within the study area. They have also asked those who attended the first public meeting to provide their thoughts on what types of improvements could be of value. These are the first steps in identifying ways to improve transit in the study area.
The study will look at town cores and examine barriers to safe and efficient bicycle and pedestrian travel. For example, how can conflicts between cars and bikes/pedestrians be reduced? Other possibilities include recommendations that could help new development occur in ways that encourage walking and biking, or prioritize pedestrian and bicycle improvements that link residential areas with transit services.
Is the improved safety of our roads going to be considered in this study?
Absolutely. The Study Team has completed an extensive survey of the existing safety concerns along the major corridors within the study area. This includes an analysis of recent crashes on major routes. The study will make recommendations for safety improvements at those locations that show the greatest need.
To see a map showing the crash history within the study area, click here (scroll halfway down the page for baseline crash data maps). For additional traffic safety information view this meeting presentation (click on the Power Point Presentation) from the November 2010 Steering Committee Meeting where this data was presented.
Who will provide funding for the study’s recommendations?
This study is the first step in a process to identify region-wide transportation improvements. It will include recommendations that vary widely in terms of cost, priority and timeframe. Some recommendations may require further study and detailed design efforts; others may be short term, simple improvements; still others may suggest changes in local ordinances or standards. Decisions regarding funding and implementation of projects will follow completion of the study in spring 2012.