A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lost Sites: Interstate 295 at Deering Avenue

Continuing the "lost sites" discussion, here's are two views of the freeway corridor from the Deering Avenue overpass. Here's how it looks now, looking east towards the 20-acre, pedestrian-deadly Forest Avenue interchange:

And as it could be, without the freeway:

Note the dedicated bus lanes, a bus rapid transit station under Deering Street, the crosswalks, and the new acreage added on to Deering Oaks Park. New housing, offices, and university buildings rise in the distance, where a cloverleaf onramp currently wastes valuable urban real estate. New development like the brick building in the foreground could also take advantage of land freed up by a narrower roadway.

Also note that this idea doesn't actually reduce the number of lanes for cars - it just narrows the pavement and re-appropriates space on the shoulders for dedicated bus and bike lanes. In fact, because cars require more space at freeway speeds, a 25 mile-per-hour boulevard like this one can actually hold more vehicles than the existing freeway. But in this scheme, evenly-spaced traffic lights and pedestrian crossings would also allow pedestrians and bicycles to use the road - and those are uses that the existing freeway can't accommodate.


Jesse Thompson said...

Except it's missing the big one, lower the whole thing to street level!

Make 295 turn into a surface street through Bayside, then pick it back up in the air to cross the water to Falmouth. Put stop lights on it, and stitch the city back together.

Corey Templeton said...

Hey, that looks pretty nice. I would love to see Deering oaks surrounded by dense development on all sides, like the Common or something.