The Great Lost Bear is the same distance from Monument Square as the Western Prom (about 1.3 miles) - but while a walk through the West End is pleasant, a walk along Forest Avenue through the freeway interchange and along the strip of drive-through banks and fast food franchises is almost unheard of.
A lot of the city's planners and leaders would like to change that, so they've commissioned a study that's now underway called "Transforming Forest Avenue."
"The goal of this study is to develop functional and safe pedestrian, bicycle, bus and motorist access both along and across Forest Avenue - a key gateway corridor. This study will also look at land use, leveraging public investments to stimulate private redevelopment and infill of underutilized properties."The study should also look at options for Exit 6, the cloverleaf freeway interchange that blocks Forest Avenue from the rest of downtown Portland.
The study's steering committee met for the first time last week. Unfortunately, it sounds from their reports that people aren't bringing a lot of vision or ambition to this - there's a lot of "sure, Forest Ave. is bleak, but what can you do?"
Hopefully, members of the public can come and change that attitude tonight, at the study's first public meeting, by bringing some big ideas and letting the planners know that this can and should be a walkable main street for the city.
Transforming Forest Avenue - Corridor Walk and 1st Public MeetingCorridor Walk: 4:30 pm-5:45 pm
May 12, 2011
We will meet in front of the University of Southern Maine Glickman Library on Forest Avenue.
Public Meeting: 6-8pm
At the University of Southern Maine Abromson Center (on Bedford Street), Room 109-110.
For details, call Molly Casto, Senior Planner at 207-874-8901.