Category Archives: transportation

Strong Towns



What does it mean to be a Strong Town? Chuck Marohn, the Founder and President of Strong Towns, will provide some insights on Wednesday April 3 at 6:30 PM at the Portsmouth Public Library.

 

 THE PARADOX WE FACE 

Common belief is that supporting cities and towns that invest in community is an expensive process. What we often miss from this perspective is a comparison. For generations, local governments have focused on expanding and developing infrastructure for cars—often at the expense of pedestrian safety and community vitality. While liabilities have grown, transportation funding has not kept up. Now there is a desperate need to shift. Rather than build new, we need to maintain existing transportation infrastructure. Rather than emphasize expansion, we need to focus on existing investments. We face an important question: How do we get the most value out of our infrastructure investments while improving walkability, safety, and community strength? 

 

THE STRONG TOWNS APPROACH 

The Strong Towns approach is a radically new way of thinking about the way we build our world. We believe that in order to truly thrive, our cities and towns must: 

• Stop valuing efficiency and start valuing resilience 

• Stop betting on huge projects, and start taking smart steps 

• Stop fearing change and start embracing continuous adaptation 

• Stop building our world based on abstract theories, and start building it based on how our places actually work and what our neighbors actually need today 

• Stop obsessing over future growth and start obsessing about our current finances 

But most importantly, we believe that Strong Citizens from all walks of life must participate in a Strong Towns approach—from citizens to leaders, professionals to neighbors, and everyone in between. 

 

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Charles Marohn is the Founder and President of Strong Towns. He’s a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Minnesota and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Marohn has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute.

Marohn is the lead author of Thoughts on Building Strong Towns — Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3 — as well as the author of A World Class Transportation System. He hosts the Strong Towns Podcast and is a primary writer for Strong Towns’ web content. He has presented Strong Towns concepts in hundreds of cities and towns across North America and in 2017 was named one of the 10 Most Influential Urbanists of all time by Planetizen. 

 

RSVP

We will reserve ample time for questions and discussion. The event is free and all are welcome. Please register here to help ensure sufficient seating.

Event Sponsors: Piscataqua Savings Bank, Rosamond Thaxter Foundation, Piscataqua Garden Club, Portsmouth Housing Authority, City of Portsmouth, and the Geoffrey E. Clark and Martha Fuller Clark Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation.

Event Partners: Seacoast Media Group, PortsmouthNH.com, Coruway Film Institute, and the Sailmaker House.

PedalPalooza

The rally to support the new Middle Street bicycle lanes drew quite a large crowd of bicycle enthusiasts to the Lafayette playground  on November 4.
Pictured above are City Councilor Ned Reynolds, Mayor Jack Blalock, City Councilor Josh Denton, and former City Councilor Brad Lown. You may peruse many other photos of this event on PS21’s Flickr site.

Bicycle & Pedestrian Counts

This just in from Portsmouth’s planning department:

The Planning Department is undertaking annual Bicycle and Pedestrian Counts in the coming weeks and we are in need of volunteers! As someone who has volunteered in the past we are reaching out to see if you are able to help us again this year. The counts will take place on Saturday, June 16, 2018 and Tuesday  June 19, 2018. Please see the following link for specific timeslots on each of these days to sign up:
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b054aaaaa29a1fa7-portsmouth  The data that is gathered from these annual counts is vital to our bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure planning for the City and we appreciate any time you can give! Please contact Nick Fawcett (nmfawcett@cityofportsmouth.com, 603-610-7309) here in the Planning Dept. with any questions. Location assignments and instructions will be sent out after sign-ups are received.

 

Portsmouth Deputy Police Chief re: ‘Traffic Inquiry’

“Our rough numbers run today show approximately 4,680 car stops in 2013 resulting in 2,080 tickets/written warnings and 2,600 verbal warnings.  As we discussed our goal is to impact the driver’s behavior.  If we can accomplish that with just a verbal warning, we are happy with that.  I suggest our traffic enforcement should be judged based on the number of car stops we make, not tickets written.

“As promised I wanted to provide some of the reasons behind our current numbers.  In short we are in the midst of a transition brought about by years of budget cuts and reductions.  In the past few years we had to downsize, downgrade and reorganize the police department to cover the workload of over 10 staff lost (over 20,000+hrs of work annually) and that has been very challenging.  Essentially we were forced to go from a department that was extremely proactive to one that was largely reactive.  We lost not only officers on the street but also school resource officers and detectives.

“However, we are gaining more equilibrium with the implementation of each step of our short term plan.

“Downtown foot patrols are back for 16 hours a day utilizing 1 to 2 officers depending on the hour of day/day of week.

“The 2-officer traffic/back-up car, which covered a portion of 4 zones has been split.  Two 1-officer back-up cars now split the entirety of Portsmouth into North and South during the hours or 7pm and 3am.  This allows for greater officer safety and better response times to those in the community who are in need.  Additionally their patrol areas have them driving through different areas of the center of town over the course of their shifts.  This has resulted in an increased presence in the downtown, and we are getting positive feed-back on these changes.

“We revisited our school resource officers partnership with the school department. The SRO positions go a long way to combating law enforcement related juvenile issues.  It also allows us to develop positive relationships with the youth in our city, an investment that carries into adulthood.  We have restored the commitment of the middle school and elementary school SRO’s.

“We have put a strong emphasis on Community and Problem Oriented policing, but not in the traditional sense, as the old model was manpower intensive. Instead, we have designated a detective to head this initiative.  Detective Jacques will be working with all the neighborhood groups, downtown bars and restaurants, and with our own officers on community partnerships.  He will be looking at underlying issues to repetitive calls for service such as drunk and disorderly persons, graffiti, and other chronic problems. What makes these issues particularly challenging is that they are always morphing and always in flux.  The goal here is that by addressing underlying issues, we may be able to prevent the crimes from happening in the first place.

“We know our community expects its agency to assess, control and prevent crime; to this end, on the patrol side, we also needed to put new tools in the officer’s hands.   While nothing takes the place of feet on the ground, technology can assist and supplement this in truly amazing ways.  We want our officers to pair this technology with traditional policing to get the best of both worlds.  We are installing CrimeView dashboard, which will allow us to use data to drive our directed.  It puts significant data analysis at the fingertips of the officer on the street, as well as supervisors and command staff.

“2014 arrived with a significant up-tick in heroin use, overdoses and case activity.  We have focused a lot on combating this issue through specialized assignments as well as creative policing strategies like the Community Access to Recovery Day we lead in July.  We continue to be one of the communities with the highest liquor licenses per capita in the state and new bars and restaurants continue to open.

“We were just able to secure funding for a new officer from the current city council to replace one of the 10 that have been cut.  This officer will go to our patrol division, we are also currently down one officer due to a retirement.  We are in the process of screening candidates for those two positions.

“As we begin what sometimes feels like a slow journey from reactive policing back to our past of proactive policing I expect you will see the number of traffic stops increase.  Traffic enforcement is not only a key and vital role for a patrol officer to undertake, but it is also one of the leading ways of preventing crime and catching criminals.  Our officers have been recognized at the state level for “Looking Beyond the Traffic Ticket,” essentially discovering serious criminal activity during a “routine” traffic stop.  We are committed to improving our traffic enforcement and proactive efforts.”

— Portsmouth Deputy Police Chief Corey MacDonald, email of 8/25/2014 re: “Traffic Inquiry”