National Leader on Walkable Cities Jeff Speck to Appear in Portsmouth

In January, PS21 (Portsmouth SmartGrowth for the 21st Century) is sponsoring the Portsmouth appearance of one of the nation’s foremost urban planners and advocates for walkable cities, Jeff Speck.

Jeff SpeckSpeck, the author of the best-selling design book of 2013, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time, will discuss the importance of “walkability” and how to make it happen in Portsmouth.

His presentation, “Towards a More Walkable Portsmouth,” will begin at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 22 at Seacoast Repertory Theatre.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m. There will be a question and answer period, and Speck will sign copies of Walkable City afterward.

The next day, Friday, Jan. 23, Speck will lead an in-depth workshop for land-use board members, design professionals, developers, City staff and interested members of the public, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Portsmouth City Hall. A get-acquainted hour is planned for 10-11 a.m., also at City Hall.

Both events will be free and open to the public. However, seating is limited. Please RSVP.

walkable city by jeff speckIn addition to Walkable City, Speck co-wrote the best-selling and influential books Suburban Nation and The Smart Growth Manual. He served as director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, where he oversaw the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and created the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, a federal program that helps state governors fight suburban sprawl.

Prior to joining the endowment, Speck spent 10 years as director of town planning at Duany Plater-Zyberk and Co., a leading practitioner of the New Urbanism, where he led or managed more than 40 projects.

Primary funding for this event is provided by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the City of Portsmouth, with additional support from Esther’s Marina, Piscataqua Savings Bank and PortsmouthNH.com.

Seacoast Local will feature the event as a partner in their “Making the Connection” speaker series. Individual contributors include Jerry Zelin, attorney at law, and Stephen and Karin Barndollar.

North End Walk Draws 50; Charrette Begins

North End Walk
Around 50 people turned out in chill weather for a citizen-led walking tour of the North End hosted by PS21  (Portsmouth Smart 21st Century) on Saturday. Above, PS21’s Karen Marzloff addresses the crowd.

Participants discussed current and potential development in the neighborhood, and the character of the North End in anticipation of the City of Portsmouth’s Nov. 10-13 charrette on ‘character-based’ zoning.

The charrette begins with a public presentation and hands-on workshop at 6 p.m. Monday in the former Portsmouth Herald building on Maplewood Avenue.  Above, Karen Marzloff of PS21 addresses participants. For more information on the charrette, see http://tinyurl.com/p3ggxs2.

North End charrette schedule announced

A four-day visioning and design charrette (workshop) on  ‘character-based’ zoning for the North End will begin with a public presentation and hands-on workshop at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 10 in the former Portsmouth Herald building on Maplewood Avenue.

The charrette will include organized discussions, but the public  can drop in to view maps, comment and contribute ideas during an open studio from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day at 111 Maplewood Ave.

The opening session, beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, will include a presentation and hands-on exercise for participants.

The second day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, will feature three roundtable discussions: business, landowners and developers (10 a.m.); building scale and design issues (1 p.m.); and public streets, infrastructure and civic spaces.

The third day, Wednesday, Nov. 12, will include a public pin-up and review session (6 p.m.) where the consultants present ideas and alternatives and receive feedback.

The final day of the charrette, Thursday. Nov. 13, will include a work-in-progress presentation (6 p.m.) at City Hall. This session will describe the preliminary vision for the area, explain the elements of the plan, and present other findings and work products developed during the charrette. The public also will have another opportunity to provide feedback.

Following the charrette, Town Planning will prepare a draft of amendments to Portsmouth’s Character-Based Zoning Ordinance. The draft ordinance be reviewed by the Planning Board and will need the approval of the City Council.

For more information, see the city web page www.planportsmouth.org/characterbasedzoning.html

 

North End walk set for Nov. 8

In anticipation of the City of Portsmouth’s sessions on  ‘character-based’ zoning for the North End, PS21 will host a citizen-led walking tour of the neighborhood beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8.

The walk of approximately one mile will give residents an in-person, up-close view of buildings, projects and developable lots.

What: North End Walk
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 8 (approx. 1 hour, rain or shine)
Where: Meet at 9:45 a.m. on Maplewood Avenue by Cindy Ann Cleaners (203 Maplewood Ave.)

The North End was dramatically altered by urban renewal actions in the 1960s, and it is once again undergoing major changes.  After the walk, residents should be able to more easily visualize the North End neighborhood during the Nov.  10-13 design workshop, or charrette, on the new zoning.

See “City kicks of discussions about character-based zoning.”

PS21 will supply a map of the North End along with short descriptions of properties, conservation areas, and current or proposed projects.

Document quantities, however, will be limited. To be guaranteed of receiving a copy, RSVP to portsmouthsmart21@gmail.com.

(The walk, hardy New Englanders, will rain or shine. If it’s really dismal, we’ll post the documents on the website.)

 

Notes on Oct. 22 Workshop with Plan NH

More than 30 people attended a PS21 event on Oct. 22, a workhop with the statewide nonprofit Plan New Hampshire. Plan NH’s Robin LeBlanc says the workshop aims to “shift” thinking about the future by examining assumptions about life here, conversations that are going on, and questions people have or might ask about the coming decades.

Below are notes on the wide-ranging discussion as recorded by PS21’s Jerry Zelin.

Robin LeBlanc leads Plan NH workshop with PS21A Workshop, “SHIFT,” led by Robin LeBlanc of Plan NH
7-9 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22
Portsmouth Middle School Auditorium

Notes by Jerry Zelin

Doug Roberts: Announces a North End walk scheduled for 10-11 a.m. Nov. 8, 2014, 10 A.M., starting at on Maplewood AvenueCindy Ann Cleaners, to discuss possibilities for each lot in the North End.

Robin LeBlanc: She has lived in New Hampshire for 30 years, currently Exec. Dir. of Plan New Hampshire.

Audience: Attendees introduce themselves. Most live in Portsmouth. Some live in Eliot, Durham, etc.

Robin: Plan NH develops workshops like this, to trigger shifts in thinking about the future of towns and cities. Not Portsmouth-specific but for any community …

Audience at Plan NH workshop
Why did people move here?

Audience:
Vibrant downtown
Schools
Walkability
Near ocean
Historic character
Creative community
Socio-economic diversity when moved here

Robin: Those are our values. How would a real estate broker describe Portsmouth?
Continue reading Notes on Oct. 22 Workshop with Plan NH

Oct. 22 – ‘SHIFT: A Different Way to Think About Decision-Making and Planning Our Future’

- A PS21 event featuring PLAN NH
- Portsmouth Middle School Auditorium
– 6:30-9 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 22

Community planning and decision-making has become more than just about growth and development. Our economic, social and environmental structures have changed dramatically in the past two decades, and more change is on the way — in demographics, climate, the economy, energy and more.

PS21 is sponsoring a workshop by the statewide nonprofit Plan NH that aims to address change and “shift” ways of thinking about our community, our roles in it, and what considerations will lead to a healthy and vibrant future.

The workshop will be held Wednesday, October 22nd from 7 to 9 p.m. in the new Portsmouth Middle School auditorium. Registration opens at 6:30, the workshop starts promptly at 7.

In this fun and eye-opening workshop led by Robin LeBlanc of Plan NH, participants will learn to think about planning for the future and the decisions we make about where we live, work and play from a different vantage point.

The workshop consists of an hour-long, whole-group discussion followed by small-group discussions and then a wrap-up with the whole group.

Topics include:

  • Assumptions, conversations and questions that affect our community decisions and planning
  • Doing a 180 in how we tackle issues
  • How values influence planning and decision-making
  • The four infrastructures that are the foundation of a community
  • Forces of change that are having an impact.

Pre-registration is not required for the free event, but an RSVP will help with planning. Send email to portsmouthsmart21@gmail.com.

About Plan NH: Plan NH’s mission is to encourage good planning and design and development because, we believe, what we build, where we build and how we build has a significant impact on the health and vitality of a community. The workshop leader, Robin LeBlanc, has a background of leadership including program development and project management, marketing and business development and has lived in Portsmouth with her family for 30 years. www.plannh.org

About PS21: Portsmouth SmartGrowth 21st Century (PS21) aims to present ideas and encourage discussion and policy development around planning issues in Portsmouth, N.H. Our goal is to support the creation of a vibrant, sustainable, livable, and walkable community compatible with the principles of smart development, the historic nature of Portsmouth, and the context of the 21st century. PS21 is a nonprofit group of residents and business people supporting and presenting informational events as a basis for discussing development in Portsmouth, with the goal of establishing a long-term vision for the city.

OTHER UPCOMING PS21 EVENTS:

Rescheduled to Nov. 8: North End Walking Tour. Get to know the North End in advance of the Portsmouth’s November charrette on “character-based” zoning. PS21 will lead an informal walking tour of the neighborhood. View properties, projects and potential development sites on Vaughn, Deer, Bridge and other streets in the area. Details to be announced.

 

 

Portsmouth Lagging on Traffic Enforcement

Concern about speeding in Portsmouth is on the rise, according city officials and a recent Portsmouth Herald article on the possible use of police cameras.

Police cameras, however, are against state law in New Hampshire. So how are Portsmouth police doing with the traditional, labor-intensive approach of controlling speeding — making traffic stops and issuing warnings and summonses? A comparison with Dover and Concord suggests that traffic enforcement has been a lower priority in Portsmouth.

In 2013, Dover police issued 659 written warning and summonses per patrol officer. Concord, meanwhile, issued around 390, according to the departments. During the same period, Portsmouth patrol officers issued 68 tickets and written warnings per officer .

Traffic enforcement comparison Continue reading Portsmouth Lagging on Traffic Enforcement

Bike-Ped Plan Adopted; Projects in the Pipeline

Portsmouth’s Planning Board has adopted a voluminous and detailed master plan for the city’s bicycle and pedestrian future. The long-term goal is to create a largely unbroken network of safe and useful bike paths and pedestrian walkways throughout the city.

The plan includes programs to be initiated (such as for bike safety), and more than 200 specific infrastructure changes (large PDF). Changes include revamped intersections, new bike paths, updated sidewalks and more.

Juliet Walker, city transportation planner, described some the first projects that will be undertaken.

Continue reading Bike-Ped Plan Adopted; Projects in the Pipeline