Pilot program to reduce traffic when cruise ships visit Portland ME

   September 23, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Cruise shipping operations in Portland Maine have long been seen as a boon for the waterfront, contributing positively to the local economy. However, it is acknowledged that concerns have arisen among some residents regarding issues such as traffic congestion and pedestrian safety when these vessels are in port.

In response to these concerns, CruiseMaine and CruisePortland have introduced the new pilot program "Port Share Promise". The initiative's primary objective is to balance the community's interests and the needs of cruise tourists.

To ensure ongoing improvement, the program will actively collect public feedback through a designated hotline.

Sarah Flink (CruiseMaine's Executive Director) emphasizes the significance of community input, stating that the backbone of this program is a community feedback hotline. This is for Portland, Kennebunkport, and Freeport. That hotline is how we will listen to our community and visitors to improve this program going forward next year and beyond.

As part of the Port Share Promise, traffic safety personnel will be stationed at critical crosswalks along the waterfront. Their role is to facilitate the safe passage of both residents and visitors while also managing traffic flow. Additionally, a shuttle service will be provided to transport visitors to various locations within the city.

Bill Needelman (Waterfront Coordinator for Portland) underscores the vital role that cruise ship revenues play in supporting key entities such as the Ocean Gateway, the Maine State Pier, and various harbor-front businesses. He notes that cruise ships are currently estimated to generate $3 million for the city, but they also support stevedoring, pilotage, and other harbor services that need the business.

The Port Share Promise program will undergo a 5-week pilot phase, during which it aims to effectively manage the influx of 100,000 passengers from 49 ships scheduled to visit Portland in the upcoming fall season.

This initiative draws inspiration from a similar program established in Juneau Alaska and seeks to address the specific challenges posed by cruise ship tourism in Portland.