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

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More City Hall business

Unfortunately I was unable to attend last night's meeting in South Portland. But from what I hear so far, it was a success: the airport and the state have agreed that an expanded runway and a bike/ped trail can coexist along the edge of Long Creek.

The city of South Portland has hired an engineering firm to draft a preliminary plan for connecting the new trail with the planned bike lanes and shared sidewalk that are slated to be built on the replacement Veterans Bridge. According to the Forecaster's report, that study could be finished in the next three weeks, which would give plenty of time for the designers of the new Veterans Bridge to adjust their plans accordingly.

In other news, there's going to be another important meeting this evening in Portland's City Hall, when the Planning Board holds a public hearing and a vote on whether to incorporate the new Peninsula Transit Study into the city's Comprehensive Plan.

The Public Hearing starts at 6:45 PM. They have to review prior decisions and one other contentious agenda item before they get to the transit study, probably around 7:30 or so.

Just to be clear, they're only voting tonight on whether to incorporate the study into the Comp Plan. Implementing specific recommendations, like unbundling parking costs from your rent, would come later. This vote just provides the city planning staff a go-ahead to start working on those specific ordinances. Here's an outline of what the study is proposing.

The Board is also going over some amendments to the city's zoning codes that would, among other things, reduce parking requirements in certain off-peninsula mixed-use zones (like the Forest Avenue corridor) to one parking space for every new unit of housing. Currently, new homes built off the peninsula require 2 new parking spaces - a requirement that makes the construction of new middle-class housing unfeasible in most cases. These amendments are the third item on the agenda, and here's a link to a summary of them.

It would be great to get a good turnout to demonstrate public support for the Transit Study and its recommendations, which would lower the cost of living significantly for those of us who don't drive all the time.

If you can't make it, you can send written comments to Barbara Barhydt, Development Review Services Manager: bab@portlandmaine.gov

Previously on Rights of Way:

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