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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Franklin Street Final Report

The final report of the city's Franklin Street Study Committee has been published.

The report offers three different alternatives for Franklin Street's future, from which the city will be able to mix and match design elements before it proceeds with a more detailed Phase II study. Funding for actual construction has yet to materialize, but redevelopment opportunities on the former expressway's vacant land could probably cover much of the cost. Besides, as the Press Herald notes in a recent editorial, any of the alternatives would be significantly less expensive than the underground freeway that was endorsed by traffic engineers in a 2000 study.

In the meantime, the study offers up some short-term action items: to convert one travel lane in each directon to parking spaces between Congress and the waterfront, for instance, and to coordinate traffic signals so that vehicles travelling 30 miles per hour or less will hit a wave of green lights as they travel along the street.

The report also politely asks the asphaltophiles in Augusta to refrain from fouling everything up with their counterproductive highway-widening fantasies. To wit: "[Exit 7] should include a bicycle and pedestrian link between the Franklin‐Marginal intersection and the Back Cove trail. There is strong community support for an appropriately scaled connector at this location."

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