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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bayside development in perspective

Last week the Planning Board approved the rezoning plan for the Federated Companies' ambitious "Midtown" project.

Some neighbors complained about the size of the project. Its first phase will include 196 units of housing, 97,000 square feet of retail space, and 720 parking spots. Sure, I've said before that there's too much parking. But just for some perspective, here's what it would look like if the city cancelled this project and allowed developers to build all that stuff in the suburbs instead of in a central-city neighborhood.

Here's the Falmouth WalMart: it's 92,000 square feet and surrounded by about 600 parking spaces...

...and here are about 150 units of housing in the Pleasant Hill "neighborhood" of Scarborough (there's at least another 300 paved parking spaces scattered in there, but let's gloss over those for now).

The two aerial views above depict roughly a half square-mile of what used to be lovely Maine farmland. The proposed Midtown project proposes to fit a similar amount of human-habitable space inside one large city block, which ought to look something like this:

But hey, if you think that City Councilors should cancel this project and pave the way (quite literally) for more sprawl in the suburbs, by all means you should let them know before they vote on the rezoning proposal at their next meeting.