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Franklin Street Feasibility Study – Phase 2

Portland, ME

Working with a multi-disciplined group of in-house transportation planners and landscape architects along with local engineering sub-consultants, IBI Group is finalizing the Franklin Street Feasibility Study – Phase 2, a comprehensive technical and engineering analysis and conceptual design intended to revitalize a critical transportation corridor in the City of Portland.

We are providing project management, site analysis and conceptual streetscape design. The study process has been informed by Complete Streets, Transit Oriented Development and Context Sensitive Solutions principles, as well as by regular input from a Public Advisory Committee and the general public.

The study scope includes analysis of land use, social, economic, neighborhood and street connectivity, environmental, safety and transportation data of both current and future conditions for the entire Franklin Street corridor from the Commercial Street Waterfront to the Waterfront at Back Cove. In addition, the project includes development of a Preliminary Design Report (PDR), based on the final recommendations, for a section of Franklin Street between the Interstate 295 exit at Marginal Way and Oxford Street.

Franklin Street is a critical transportation corridor for the City of Portland. Currently, this corridor is unfriendly to non-automobile transportation, takes up a large amount of usable land and acts as a barrier between downtown and neighborhoods east of the corridor. Prior to being re-designed in the 1960s as an arterial connector between Interstate 295 and Portland’s downtown and waterfront, Franklin Street was a two-lane residential/mixed-use street that was well-integrated into Portland’s neighborhood fabric. The clearance and construction of Franklin Arterial had a profound effect on the circulation system of the City as a whole, cutting off numerous side streets and isolating neighborhoods east and west of the artery. The Franklin Street Feasibility Study is examining the potential for reconnecting that severed street network, while improving the corridor for all modes of traffic (vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles and transit) and looking at the possibility of opening up land along the corridor for new development, both residential and commercial.

Phase 1 of the Franklin Street Study developed a broad spectrum of possible solutions that would balance the interests of all stakeholders. This process created three separate alternatives for improving the corridor, which together include a broad variety of strategies. Phase 2 builds on the ideas that went into creating these alternatives, using a closer, in-depth examination of the existing conditions and future use data to produce recommendations for a hybrid alternative that supports a Vision Statement, which was developed in collaboration with the three party client group, composed of MaineDOT, the City of Portland and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS), plus the Public Advisory Committee.

The visioning process, which was facilitated by IBI Group, calls for Franklin Street to be a critical transportation facility for all modes of travel, linking Interstate 295 and Back Cove to the waterfront and island ferries and serving as an attractive gateway to the city. Franklin Street will be a vibrant, active and walkable urban corridor, connecting neighborhoods and destinations. It will enhance the urban fabric of the city through mixed-use development of appropriate, diverse and functional residential, commercial and recreational space in the midst of attractive streetscapes.

City of Portland

Business Line
Streetscapes & Plazas

US Northeast

Cathy Offenberg, Principal
Horace Aikman, Senior Associate, Director of Construction Technologies