Saturday, September 10, 2011

Liberate Spring Street!

The Portland Society of Architects will be hosting a (members-only) event on September 20th concerning Spring Street. Check out this page for details. They summarize the situation by saying:
The city planners of the early 1970′s, fueled with Federal money, demolished the core of Portland in an attempt to build a suburban mall downtown. Now we are left with jersey barriers between High and Exchange St and a senseless highway that, except a few skateboarders, is only used by automobiles.
It’s time to fix this six block mistake.

The section of Spring Street that they are interested in liberating is the highway-like area between High Street (where the West End starts) and Middle Street (where the Old Port starts) is highlighted below:

This slightly unpleasant stretch of street was once similar to how it still is further in the West End. This highway-like section was built around the same time as Franklin Arterial and coincided with the construction of the Civic Center and Holiday Inn but also the destruction of several buildings and smaller streets. Although this stretch of road is not as offensive of Franklin Street post-urban renewal, I applaud the Portland Society of Architects for getting the conversation started on how to improve this area. Although it is   early in the process, I look forward to hearing the ideas that they come up with. Read more about this topic in this recent Daily Sun article.

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