City considers making High and State Streets two-way

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The city is considering making High Street and State Street into two-way roads.

The project is in its very early stages. A working group made up of interested parties met for the first time Wednesday night. In the coming months, they will discuss what changes need to be made to make High Street and State Street safer and more neighborhood-friendly, and that could mean making them two-way streets.

Both Streets were made one-way back in the early seventies to make it easier for drivers to get in and out of the downtown. But for those south of the city, the streets have also turned into direct routes to and from I-295, prompting a lot of pedestrians and cyclists to complain that cars are zipping right through the city much faster than the posted 25 mile-per-hour speed limit. Businesses also favor two-way streets because they think drivers would be able to get to them easier.

Portland's Director of Public Services Mike Bobinsky says the city has seen enough changes happening on High and State streets that something should be done.

"Things have changed over the last 10 years within the neighborhoods there, and also certainly it's a major arterial in and out of the city," Bobinsky told NEWS CENTER. "It's also a place where people are living. So we are wanting to test that. Can we make improvements by converting one way to two way?"

There will be plenty of opportunities for the public to speak on this issue. There will be two or three public meetings throughout the year, as well as opportunities to comment on social media. The first public meeting is expected to happen in early September.


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