Today, as the bicycle and pedestrian program manager at the Maine Department of Transportation, Adams leads state efforts to improve bicycling and walking. He oversees how communities throughout Maine spend more than $2 million in federal funds each year on projects such as building sidewalks and bike paths. He works on ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. And he advocates for walking and bicycling when Maine DOT undertakes a major project such as rebuilding a road or bridge. Maine has had a bicycle-pedestrian manager for about 20 years. Adams, who took over the position in December, sees his role as helping to create communities where people will want to live. “When we look at the world through the windshields of our cars, it tends to go by at a rapid rate,” he said. By contrast, he says, neighborhoods built for safe walking and biking have a more human scale and allow people to interact with each other. Children can walk to school safely. People with disabilities can navigate the streets, and elders can stay in their homes as they age. Adams is new to the transportation field, but he brings a lot of experience working with local communities and the federal government, key parts of the job. For the past five years, he managed federally funded programs at Maine’s Office of Aging and Disability Services in the Department of Health and Human Services. He previously worked as a regional manager for the American Red Cross, helping communities respond to disasters. This year, the state has earmarked $2.3 million in federal funds for 25 projects, including improving the sidewalk on York Street in Portland and posting signs that will mark U.S. Bike Route 1 from Kittery to Calais. The new pedestrian bridge over the Saco River connecting the mill districts of Saco and Biddeford also received funding from the program.
You can find a list of the projects that have been approved by going to maine.gov/mdot/projects/workplan/search/, selecting the name of your town and looking for bicycle-pedestrian projects. Shoshana Hoose is a freelance writer who bicycles in Greater Portland and beyond. Contact her at [email protected]