This afternoon the Working Waterfront Group met formally for the last time, unless city manager Jon Jennings decides to call the group back into session, said Willis Spears, one of the panel put together by Jennings last December to resolve some of the tensions between the wharf owners and the lobstermen.
While mhn.com missed most of the meeting due to car problems, the meeting was an opportunity for the panel to learn some of the details of a preliminary report put together by WSP, a Boston based company, several days ago.
WSP who facilitated a meeting at the Portland Public Library last December 12, 2018, sought feedback from the 100 or so attendees on what their vision for the future of Commercial Street is. The company had planned on reporting back to Portland in mid-February of 2019, but weren’t able to because of internal personnel issues. According to Bill Needleman, a public meeting is to be scheduled for mid-August to review proposed changes to Commercial Street. Time and place TBD.
One idea coming from last year is to narrow the street between Franklin Street and Union Street and widen the sidewalk on the waterfront side to provide more pedestrian walking space. Space for bicycles would be provided, although mhn.com did not hear that discussion.
Becky Rand, of Becky’s Diner, asked: “Why are we making such an accommodation for bikes? Commercial Street can’t do bikes and cars. This is a working street, not a bike street,” she added. Part of the answer is that the city wants more bikes and fewer cars. Just attend a city planning board meeting and you’ll be convinced of that!
“We need an amusement park down there too,” said Willis Spear half in jest. “We are asking too much of that old street. Too many uses on that street.”
Note: Perhaps you had already figured this out, but the bike share program, JUMP, that Portland had hoped to have in place did not materialize as expected according to Mr. Hyman. It is anticipated that it will happen next year. (Please see post herein dated March 28, 2019 for more background information).