AUBURN — A forum on pedestrian safety will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, at Auburn Hall.

The event is part of a series organized by the Maine Department of Transportation following an increase in pedestrian fatalities. 

The series of forums, called Heads Up, was organized with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and focuses on 21 communities identified as areas of concern.

According to a news release for the event, fatalities and crashes in Maine over the past two years have “dramatically increased,” and the forums are meant to inform the public on pedestrian safety and get feedback on problem locations. 

“A crash data map will be presented and, along with information received from the public, dangerous locations will be identified and targeted for improvements that will help prevent the tragic incidents that have happened around the Lewiston and Auburn area,” the release states. 

Patrick Adams, bicycle and pedestrian program manager for MDOT, has shared statistics with Auburn, which shows the uptick in accidents involving pedestrians. 

The five-year pedestrian fatality average between 2010-14 was 10.4 fatalities per year, compared to 19 in 2015 and 17 in 2016. Most of the 21 communities chosen for the forums are among the highest population centers in Maine, and account for the highest number of incidents. From 2011-15, about 65 percent of crashes involving pedestrians occurred in one of the communities. 

Following a string of pedestrian accidents in a one-year span, Lewiston has also held its own pedestrian safety discussions. On Thursday, as part of the Build Maine conference, a temporary installation on Lincoln Street will create a traffic pattern with designated bike lanes and piano key crosswalks. 

Both cities are also funding significant improvements on either side of the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge in New Auburn as part of a major MDOT renovation project. The traffic patterns will be altered to be more pedestrian-friendly.

Doug Greene, urban development specialist in Auburn, is urging residents to attend Wednesday’s forum. 

“The state has taken a special interest in finding ways to improve pedestrian safety,” he said in the news release. “We owe it to our children to take part in the forum and provide your knowledge and experience in making our community a safe place to live.”


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