public hearings and survey results)
AND OPEN SPACE
so much public access to Maine's coast appears to be vanishing and because
Willard Beach is such an extremely valuable natural resource and place of
beauty, we strongly support the continued preservation and beautification of
this treasured space. We support
the recommendations and endorsed changes in the 2003 Willard Beach Report
adopted by the South Portland City Council.
Specifically, attention should be paid to the maintenance of the dunes,
the cleaning of the beach (including trash removal), and the continuous
upgrading of plantings, entrances, benches, beach house, playground, fishing
shacks, and parking lot, as well as clear and attractive signage.
In addition, provision should be made for local boaters to store punts on
the beach. Above all, the committee
strongly recommends that Willard Beach remain in the public domain in
perpetuity, with total and free public access and parking.
the late 1970’s, when the Spring Point Shoreway was created, the City of South
Portland took a major step in the direction of paying homage to the jewel of
Willard Beach, its magnificent accompanying shoreline and the lovely campus of
SMCC (at that time SMTC). What is
now needed are the energy and resources to keep that vision alive.
particular, paths, stairways, arboretum, playground, and picnic areas need to be
continuously upgraded and maintained. The
important historic sites, such as the Old Settlers cemetery and Fort Preble,
should be preserved and maintained in their original form.
Attention also should be paid to having clear and attractive markers for
Existing Open Space
South Portland is an urban area and the Willard neighborhood has so little open
space, it is urgent that the City develops and acts upon a plan to preserve
whatever open space is available. We
recommend the Council adopt the Open Space Plan and urge continued work with the
South Portland Land Trust in aggressively seeking parcels of land to purchase.
In addition, we recommend that the Council stay informed of SMCC's
development plans and jointly create guidelines for the acquisition,
development, and use of open spaces in the Willard neighborhood.
Concluding the theme of public open space, it is critical to upgrade and
maintain those places that already exist, such as Willard School Park, which is
in a state of disrepair and neglect.
Dead End Streets
Neighborhood dead end streets were considered by many residents as an asset to the Willard Neighborhood. Residents were adamantly against extending dead end streets. Many believe these streets add to the character and the appealing “quirkiness” of the neighborhood. The Willard Neighborhood is aware that their wish and desire goes against urban planning principles of extending streets so that they intersect with one another, providing and enhancing the neighborhood street grid. Extension of the street grid could create new shortcuts through the neighborhood and remove the quiet tranquil setting that many of the residents have come to enjoy. In some cases, providing extensions of these dead end streets could encourage development, placing a further burden on the neighborhood street grid.
Sidewalks / Esplanades / Street Trees / and Crosswalks
The Willard Neighborhood is extremely
fortunate to have the “classic” style of streetscape design.
Many of the streets within the neighborhood have a curb-grass
esplanade-sidewalk design. Many of
the main arteries and residential side streets provide sidewalks on both sides
of the roadway. However, many of
the existing concrete sidewalks are past their prime and need attention.
These concrete sidewalks have cracked or heaved over time leaving an
obstacle for pedestrians.
The Neighborhood felt that the City should pay
closer attention to the upkeep and maintenance of the sidewalks. The City should
inventory areas not connected by sidewalks and explore the feasibility of
providing sidewalks on at least one side of those streets.
New sidewalks should carry the same street pattern and design when
constructed. Inventory and
replacement of the sidewalks should be done annually/bi-annually.
The replacement material should be concrete sidewalk panels rather than
the inexpensive bituminous surface. The
use of bituminous pavement within an existing concrete sidewalk is aesthetically
not pleasing and takes away from the neighborhood streetscape design.
At minimum, the construction of the sidewalk should include a five-foot
wide esplanade to allow the placement of street trees. This width of esplanade not only provides a vegetated area,
but also offers a safety-zone buffer between motorized vehicles and pedestrians.
Essential intersection enhancements were
brought up during the committee’s public process. Four intersections were mentioned as possible candidates for
review for capacity/safety issues. The
intersections are: the Pillsbury Street and Preble Street intersection (Willard
Square), Pillsbury Street and Cottage Road intersection, Woodbury Street and
Preble Street intersection, and the Cottage Road and Sawyer Street intersection.
Recently, Willard Square has been reviewed for
geometric traffic alternatives. Designs
for a new Willard Square have varied from the re-creation of a roundabout
intersection, the ninety-degree connection of Preble Street into Pillsbury
Street, or the ninety-degree connection of Pillsbury Street into Preble Street.
The City and the Neighborhood Association are working together to
determine whether any of the three proposed designs would benefit the Square.
Any intersection improvement in the Square should incorporate the use of
greenspace, park benches, and public art as well as preserving current
residential/business on-street parking.
The Pillsbury Street and Cottage Road
intersection is a very tight and dangerous intersection during certain times of
the day. Having a number of
commercial uses adjacent to the intersection with associated on-street parking
has provided a tight travel corridor in Cottage Road. Additionally, the intersection has become increasingly busier
over the past decade because of growth in the abutting community of Cape
Elizabeth. The Neighborhood
recommends that the intersection be studied to determine what design
alternatives could be implemented to create a safer intersection for both
vehicles and pedestrians.
The intersection of Woodbury Street and Preble
Street has been a neighborhood concern for sometime now.
This is a blind intersection due to the hill of Preble Street.
Vehicle traffic on Preble Street exceeds the posted speed limited of 30
MPH, creating a dangerous situation in the intersection.
The Neighborhood requested that City review the intersection and provide
proper recommendations to MDOT (Preble Street is a State aided roadway) and the
City Council. The City should
explore the use of “stop signs” in the intersection and petition MDOT for
the reduction of the speed limit on Preble Street.
The conversion of the intersection into a three-way stop based
intersection should be considered based on the following concerns: poor sight
conditions at this intersection, density of the neighborhood, and relatively low
speeds and traffic volumes. Any
change to the intersection should be documented through the City’s traffic
In February 2004 this intersection was
converted into a three-way stop. We
appreciate the timely response to our concerns.
The last intersection, Cottage Road and Sawyer
Street, has seen increasing delay time coming out of the Sawyer Street legs for
a number of years now due to the increased traffic on Cottage Road.
The Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, the Maine
Department of Transportation, and the City of South Portland have conducted
studies to determine the need for improvements at the intersection.
On January 2, 2004, a new four-way traffic control system was activated,
providing safer opportunities for those who wanted to exit out of Sawyer Street
north and southbound onto Cottage Road.
Great interest has been shown through the
neighborhood survey and in workshops to create a central core in the Willard
Neighborhood. This core would have
small storefront businesses and a public seating area.
Willard Square would be the most appropriate location, being central to
all sections of the neighborhood. This area already has the beginnings of a
village square with small businesses, bus stop, mailboxes and Limited Business
LB District zoning. We would like to work with the City Staff and property
owners to enhance this area with a traffic calming solution, public benches and
pleasant landscaping. We need to ensure that the Limited Business LB District
zoning is adequate both to support existing businesses and to encourage new
businesses to locate in this area.
& Responsible Development
We wish to work with City Staff, property and
small business owners, proactively, to ensure that our present Limited Business
LB Districts support our existing businesses, encourage new businesses and
reflect the wishes of residential property owners. We need to maintain and
promote our existing business corridors along Pickett St., the Willard Square
area and Cottage Rd. We are
fortunate to have small cafes, bakeries, art galleries, a theater and retail
businesses all within walking distance. These
businesses are a major asset to our neighborhood. In addition, we need to ensure
that our neighborhood infrastructure supports these businesses with well
maintained sidewalks and roads, and adequate parking areas for residents and
businesses. We would like to work
with the City in developing, and periodically updating, a neighborhood master
SMCC serves as an anchor
for Willard Beach and Willard Neighborhood. Formerly SMTC (until 7/1/03), SMCC is expected to expand its
programs and its physical plant. In
such expansion, there should be timely communication and consultation between
SMCC and WNA
Willard Neighborhood as a Housing Resource
As SMCC expands it will
have increased needs for housing students, faculty, and staff.
WN resources could include seasonal rental of single-family residences,
single rooms, boarding arrangements, seasonal house-sitting, and accessory
dwelling units. WNA, SMCC, and City
Planning staff should review existing zoning and other regulations and recommend
any appropriate changes to the Planning Board and City Council.
collaboration between SMCC and Willard Neighborhood
SMCC, WNA and City
departments should continue and expand joint programs such as the Community
Gallery Walk, beach clean-up, the Shakespeare presentations at The Stage at
Spring Point, et al. The Willard
Neighborhood should serve as a laboratory for SMCC academic programs.
The Willard Neighborhood Association should support fund-raising efforts
to provide an SMCC scholarship and/or a stipend to support student part-time
staffing assistance for WNA officers and committees.
We welcome the opportunity to explore additional collaborative programs
and Cultural Opportunities
Social and Cultural Opportunities
The development of
diverse social and cultural opportunities within the Willard Neighborhood will
enhance neighborhood livability. Maintaining
open spaces for outdoor events and developing a Community Center for inside
events are recommended.
We recommend maintaining
open spaces within the community such as Fisherman's Point, the Greenbelt,
parks, etc. to be used for compatible social and cultural events such as
theater, art exhibits, small concerts, and family focused events.
In addition, the neighborhood public open spaces and other gathering
areas should be reviewed for their handicapped accessibility.
Areas that are not accessible to all should be evaluated for ways to make
accessibility to all social and cultural events
We recommend that
admission to all events held on public property be free and open to the public.
We would like to assure that all in the neighborhood are able to
participate. We recommend that the City make access to all public open
spaces as accessible to the physically challenged as possible.
This will also facilitate participation of the elderly within our
neighborhood. We recommend that all
walkways and stairways be maintained to assure safe access to the public.
Weather and use take a toll on our walkways.
We need to monitor their condition carefully.
the use of public buildings for community & social events
We recommend that an
existing public gathering facility in the neighborhood be used for recreational,
cultural, and social functions. It would serve all ages, from young children and
families to senior citizens. Collaboration among neighborhood groups, businesses, and the
City will be necessary to facilitate the development of this gathering place.
PLAN TABLE OF CONTENTS WNA HOMEPAGE