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Commuting in the community – the view from a bike

Since he started biking to work this summer, Maine engineer Mark Tracy has a new view of his world – and the designer’s role in shaping it.

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10 miles. 45 minutes. It’s not long, but that bicycle commute from my home to my office has opened my eyes to just how much engineers, planners, and other designers like us affect our communities.

I start my commute with the Wyman Power Station off in the distance. That sight reminds me of our Power engineers and designers, working hard at Wyman to keep the lights on at my home, at the schools my kids attend, and at my office.

Next I pedal past the construction of the new Martin’s Point Bridge. Stantec’s Transportation group is acting as the owner’s engineer for the Maine Department of Transportation to verify that the new bridge design keeps me from falling into the cold Presumpscot River.

As I trek around Portland’s Back Bay, I am reminded of the work my Scarborough colleagues Tom Emery and Pat Clark have done to create a community rain garden that treats polluted stormwater before it runs into Casco Bay.  I am thankful for their efforts when my kids want to jump into the ocean on a hot summer day.

My travels wind through old neighborhoods and woodsy trails as I come upon Deering High School. My memories go back to the time I had to condemn the bleachers at the football field because they were in a state of disrepair. I remember the efforts of our Buildings Engineering group to develop a master plan for renovating Memorial Field so that we can now enjoy Friday night football games on a new turf field in a safe and well-lit environment.  

As my commute nears its end, I travel by the Portland Jetport. Our Aviation team has worked to increase parking garage and jetway space so that I have more options when I travel for pleasure or business. I also know that our Fuel System Engineering specialists are working on replacing an underground, single-wall fuel tank at the rental car facility. Pretty soon I’ll be seeing a new, above-ground tank and won’t have to worry about potential contamination from an old fuel tank rupturing.

Finally, I see the stack at the ecomaine energy-from-waste power station as I near the office. I’m proud that we are assisting ecomaine in their quest to reduce, reuse, and recycle solid waste while also providing cost-efficient, renewable energy that reduces our carbon footprint.

I am an engineer myself and still don’t think I quite grasped how much our work affects our own communities on a daily basis. Take a look around. You’ll be surprised at the influence we have in yours, too.  

Authored by: Mark Tracy 

I am an engineer myself and still don’t think I quite grasped how much our work affects our own communities on a daily basis.

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