Stop Chicken Little: The Truth about Traffic Calming  in Portland, Maine



Stevens Avenue

SAP Summary

Brighton Avenue

Capisic Street

Deering Oaks

State/High 2Way


Stop Signs

About this Site


Maine Statutes


                                                              Raised speed table with crosswalk design: 2009 Manual of Uniform Traffic Control devices.

Welcome !

This is the "Stop Chicken Little" traffic calming information  site for Portland, Maine
It has been updated as of December  2012
(update list here)

What's the "Chicken Little" reference?
                              If you remember your fairy tales, Chicken Little was the paranoid
                              critter that ran around the barnyard screaming that the sky was
                              falling when it was not,  getting everybody into a tizzy.

                              The fairy tales continue.

This site originally started in 1998 as a presentation of just the Stevens Avenue
Traffic Calming Project in Portland, Maine, a series of asphalt berms and speed tables.

It was nationally known as one of 1997s top three traffic calming disasters.

As of 2011 Portland  government is still maintaining the quiet fiction of the project's
success in the face of evidence otherwise.

Because of the foray by the city into other areas of the city and other traffic calming
disasters, I have added more sections to the original site.

I have divided up the various sections into their respective areas of affect on the city :

The Stevens Avenue Traffic Calming Project : One of the top three traffic
calming disasters in the United States in 1997, it was the big lie that really got things
started in Portland .
This section is very large and very detailed.
The SAP has sadly set the "tone" for traffic calming in Portland since it's start:
misrepresentation, lies, fraud, coercion and political influence run amok.
Summary here.

The Brighton Avenue Traffic Calming Project :  successor to the SAP :  The avenue
is safer,  because it's more dangerous!

 The Capisic Street Speed table project : Four more speed tables : illegal, but
who's looking? The City starts ignoring its own ordinances.

 The Deering Oaks Project  Plan S2:  The biggest disaster for Deering Oaks
Park and Portland so far: $13,000,000 almost down the tubes. Increased accidents, pollution, and congestion, paid for by the Portland public.
This section is also very large.

The State and High Street Two-way Plan :  Plan S2 failed.... SO....let's take out the cut-through elimination, and run it all up the pole again! Congestion, pollution,  and accidents, here we come, thanks to a pliable City Council. 

  Median installation  :a spreading cancer of vehicle damage and expense. Covered here in some detail are the Woodfords median, Vannah Avenue / Baxter Blvd. median, and the Dartmouth St. / Baxter Blvd. medianMiscellaneous Medians has a little on the Preble St. Median by the Hannaford, and some medians on Washington Avenue extension.

2005 Traffic Calming Report Cover up : How the City withheld and then rewrote a report
on the low morale of Portland DPW employees, calming project failures, and rampant illegal stop sign installations.

All of the information here has been gathered from official Portland DPW, Maine state and federal government sources, and from other local and state traffic engineering offices from around the nation and world

I say this because people sometimes think I am making this stuff up. I'm not.

Since 1997 the city has installed traffic calming illegally on other streets,  in violation of its own ordinances.  Dangerous medians, traffic circles, illegal stop signs, and stanchion projects have been installed. The latest big fiasco by far has been the Deering Oaks Reconstruction project, a $ 8-37,000,000 disaster that died only for lack of funding. Thank you Federal Highway Administration!

All of this has been done by the City Council as an effort to keep their friends  happy. This is not to say that the friends know what they are talking about. They think they do, but unfortunately they do not, and they don't care.

Consequently, the general populace sees bad calming techniques of one sort or another being installed on others streets. They assume that this is also a good thing for their neighborhood , and start clamoring for their own calming project, especially once the traffic from the first project starts rolling through their neighborhood in an effort to avoid the first project! And so it spreads.  

People ask me : "WHY DO you DO this?" I research this material because I am SO tired of politicians lying to the public, by omission or commission. They really have to stop. It's too dangerous in too many ways.

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(Chicken Little illustration by David Peterson, age 10)