Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Observations from the Wesleyan/CenterPlan meeting

For a live blogging of the event, visit:


Just copy and paste that into your browser.

Over a hundred people from Wesleyan and the Middletown community met to hear CenterPlan's proposal for a new development on Washington Street.

The purpose of the meeting was to gauge the community's input on the proposed move of the bookstore. The overwhelming feeling of the audience was in opposition of the proposed plan to move Wesleyan's bookstore to this proposed location.

The primary concern was the issue of traffic, both car and foot traffic. Other issues were brought up, such as, Wesleyan would not control the bookstore property.


Lisa dipiro said...

There is all that Landon long lane they bought--- why can't they build what they want there????

Road2Mars said...

What about the bigger picture?

Widening Route 66 surely was a prelude to making a way for drivers to drive over the bridge to Portland or to get onto Route 9 without having to go through downtown Middletown.

The shortest route would be from the intersection of Washington Street and Newfield Street (Rte.3) through the North End to St. John's Church and the bridge and Route 9 approaches.

That would reduce traffic on Washington Street from Newfield Street to the river, setting the stage for a new story for that stretch and its environs.

Remember that if the old City Hall on Main Street had been preserved for another five or ten years, it would never have been demolished at all.

If the stately part of Washington Street can be preserved until the revised Route 9/Route 66 intersection is settled, it may be in the clear for another century.

cybermom said...

What should also be an important point in opposition to this project is that it is "spot zoning." Spot Zoning usually upsets an already complete community plan and is usually bad for the community as a whole.

Izzi Greenberg said...

To Road2Mars:

I can't tell from the tone of your comment whether you are serious or not, but I want to respond either way.

The quality of life for people who live in the North End and other sections of downtown is severely decreased because people driving through use our neighborhood as a commuting lane. Our downtown is a vibrant residential neighborhood that lives in conjunction with Main St. and the Washington St. corridor.

The fact that the city has allowed a prioritization of commuters over the health and safety of its residents is terrible. We don't need to go further down that road. We need to go backward and figure out how to move commuters through our city in a way that doesn't negatively affect our business community or our residents.

I would welcome a furthering of that discussion...if the proposed Washington St. development is a start to that, fine. If not, it still needs to be addressed.

We cannot have a safe, healthy downtown while we are allowing the needs of commuters to dictate policy and traffic patterns.

Jen Alexander said...

Dear Middletown Resident,

I noticed your comment listing the contact info for P&Z commissioners.

I didn't post it because I was worried that it gives the impression that P&Z commissioners are allowed to have outside conversations about any zoning proposals - which they are not. Any evidence that commissioners had been individually lobbied or approached might lead to grounds for dismissing a zoning decision if one party didn't like the outcome.

The contact info is publicly available, at
http://www.middletownplanning.com/Committees/PZ/pzmembership.html. But I wanted to be sure that we linked that information with a note that those in the public who want to comment on a zoning issue, or potential issue (there isn't any application yet in this case) should attend the public hearing of the P&Z commission. Another option is to send a letter and ask that it be distributed to every commissioner - so they all have the same information when making a decision.


-Jen Alexander

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

Izzi, I think you're right, and I contend that the Washington Street development will make those traffic patterns worse for North End residents on Pearl and High Streets. I don't think the commuter plan suggested is based in reality, but the Washington Street development surely is. I hope you can rally NEAT support to fight against this development.


Anonymous said...

If they really wanted to gauge community input, they should have held this at a time when more people are home from work.

Jennifer Saines said...

Although I strongly oppose Centerplan's proposal for the Washington St. development, I too feel that this debate should direct us to discuss the issue of commuter traffic in all of our neighborhoods. I realize that in many cases we as residents may be powerless in the face of the state DOT; however, there is a lot that our city politicians, bureaucrats and state legislators can do to restore safety and civility to our streets and take them back from commuters and trucks. The first step is to acknowledge that the principal stakeholders in road design are not corporations, commuters, and delivery-truck drivers, but the people and small-business owners who live and work in the neighborhoods through which the roads pass. The second step is to engage with city residents and the local business community in a transparent, honest, and even-handed manner.

Anonymous said...

This is just a ploy by Wes to flip this property and get it off the books-

Izzi Greenberg said...

To Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon):

Just so you (and readers) are clear about NEAT's position and process...

NEAT has not taken any position on the potential Washington St. development. For an issue this large and nuanced, we decide on issues democratically based on discussion that happens at our meetings. We are meeting on Wednesday and will have multiple guests present to (hopefully) offer a balanced perspective to our members.