AUBURN — The crosswalks on the streets around the East Auburn School are kind of spotty — some don’t seem to go anywhere — and sidewalks are rare except right in front of the school.

It’s the kind of thing transportation engineers notice and usually try to fix — if that’s what the neighbors want, according to Amanda Bunker of Topsham-based engineers Wright-Pierce.

“That’s what we looking at now, what the different neighbors want,” Bunker said Monday afternoon as she led a walking tour of the East Auburn neighborhood.

Bunker and members of the Androscoggin Land Trust wrapped up a series of walking tours Monday through Lewiston-Auburn that considered recreation and how to connect residents to the river and potential riverside walking paths.

Now they’ll begin working to summarize neighbors’ comments, suggestions and wishes into an Androscoggin River Greenway master plan.

“Each tour has been different in what the neighbors wanted and what they expected,” Bunker said.

The study will look at the area on both Lewiston and Auburn sides of the Androscoggin River from Gulf Island Pond south to the Interstate 95 overpass. This summer, engineers and land trust members toured the areas around Central Maine Medical Center, Sunnyside Park, downtown Lewiston and Little Canada, New Auburn and Auburn’s Riverwalk looking at ways to tie into riverside recreation.

“When this gets done, there will be more ideas and needs on the table than you could ever find enough money for,” Bunker said. “So next we need to pick the most important ones, the ones the community is really behind and that really serve a greater need in the whole greenway area.”

She said the land trust was planning a public meeting to discuss the results of the walking tours as early as January.

Monday was the last tour, looking at the area that includes the school, the Auburn Land Lab, the city’s Lake Auburn outlet beach and a proposed boat launch into Gulf Island Pond.

For Alan Whitman, the neighborhood is a nice, quiet little village — and it should probably stay that way. Whitman, of 235 Oak Hill Road, said he doesn’t want to speak for his neighbors, but he suspects they feel the same way.

“But that really is the question, isn’t it?” Whitman said. “Is that what people here want? Do they want to stay a quiet little village and be left alone? Well, I do.”

That’s why neighbors are nervous, he said. NextERA Energy’s proposal to build a boat launch at the end of Andrews Road, presented in June, upset many neighbors.

“You get the feeling they’re not always coming and asking us what we want, they’re saying what’s going to happen,” Whitman said.

Bunker said this process is different. She noted that the neighborhood is isolated to walking and bicycle traffic. It’s blocked on the west by busy Route 4, and most of its streets are dead ends.

“If you want to come here, you’ll need to use a car,” she said. “We’re not going to find people walking or bicycling across Route 4 to access this area.”

New sidewalks and walking paths might be unnecessary, she said, although neighbors did suggest building an athletic path along Bobbin Mill Brook to YMCA’s proposed new location.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.