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

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reny's is moving in to downtown Portland

Pardon my French, but FUCK YES.

Reny's moving to Downtown Portland, opening in old L.L. Bean Outlet

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- When L.L. Bean decided to close its outlet store on Congress Street in Portland, it was a blow to the downtown economy.

But now a new tenant is ready to move into the building, and it is another retailer with deep roots in Maine.

NEWS CENTER has learned that Reny's is going to move into that location.

Reny's is one of the best known retail chains in Maine, but it does not have a store in Portland.

It expects to open the new store on Congress Street by mid-May.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bike are Ethical (Even for Babies)

Derek Pelletier, a member of Portland's Bike/Ped Advisory Committee, had a bicycling question published in this weekend's Ethicist column of the New York Times:

"My wife and I frequently transport our 4-year-old and 1-year-old by bicycle. They wear helmets and ride in a trailer or bike-mounted seats. People sometimes challenge us, asking if this is safe. The chances of our being hit by a car are low, but the consequences could be catastrophic. Is it O.K. to take the kids by bike when our admittedly safer, albeit not risk-free, car is available?"
Cohen's answer: of course it's OK. "Your parental duty requires you to find not the safest conceivable mode of travel, but only one sufficiently safe. If you made the former your standard, even the car would be too dicey and you would have to haul your kids to school in the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank," writes the Ethicist.

Cohen also reveals that he rides his bike as well, and considers it an ethical way to get around: "If you forswear bikes and travel with them only by car, you teach them to do likewise, promoting the sedentary lifestyle that contributes to obesity and other health problems, and you express acceptance of the environmental damage cars inflict even on nondrivers — two disheartening lessons."

He even goes so far to suggest that Pelletier "might actively promote the construction of safe biking and walking infrastructure in your community."

I'm happy to report that Derek is already doing that here in Portland. Thanks for your certified-ethical behavior, Derek - keep on riding with those kids!

Read the full back-and-forth here.

Bayside Ice Arena

Here's a good suggestion for a public space hack from Corey Templeton, from his blog Portland Daily Photo: turn the perpetual puddle on the City's Bayside lots into a public ice rink for the winter:

[photo illustration by Corey Templeton - click for a larger image from Corey's blog]

It's worth noting here that this empty lot is, indeed, a public space - it's owned by the city, and targeted for future downtown growth. Unfortunately, the City is simultaneously intent on flooding the office market with cheap, car-dependent cubicle farms in the city's outskirts - a confused economic development strategy that will likely keep this downtown lot empty (save for its puddle) for years to come...