‘Walkability’ is suddenly a hot topic in Portsmouth with many opportunities in the next few weeks to affect the city streetscape. Be prepared — read Walkable City! It’s still only $12 at Riverrun Bookstore.
MAY 29 – PORTWALK III AND WALKABILITY
The Planning Board and interested citizens will take a field trip to Portwalk III this Thursday, May 29 (6 p.m. next to the BRGR Bar) as it considers approval of 25 changes to the project’s site plan. Some changes affect the pedestrian experience, such as the brick wall on Maplewood Avenue. The public will subsequently be able comment at a June 19 board meeting. The HDC also has jurisdiction over Portwalk, and will consider changes and possible mitigation efforts on Wednesday, June 11.
JUNE 3 – PS21 ‘WALKABLE CITY’ DISCUSSION
Tom Holbrook, owner of Riverrun Bookstore, will moderate a PS21 discussion of the principles in Jeff’s Speck’s book, Walkable City, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 3 at the Portsmouth Public Library. The best-selling design book of 2012, Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, is relevant and accessible. Speck shows why walkability matters to livability and lays out a 10-point plan for making it happen. Planning magazine writes that Speck “make[s] a 312-page book on a basic planning concepts seem too short … For getting planning ideas into the thinking and the daily life of U.S. cities, this is the book.” The plan is to break up into small groups to discuss the book’s relevance to Portsmouth, then reform as single group to consider priorities.**
JUNE 5 – BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN MASTER PLAN
PS21 participants should be well-prepared two days later when draft recommendations for the Bike/Pedestrian Master Plan are reviewed. (Thursday, June 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Portsmouth Public Library).
JUNE 11 – HDC
The Historic District Commission considers what to do about the Portwalk III unauthorized changes to the site plan, including the brick wall, landscaping and other alterations.
JUNE 12 – COMPLETE STREETS
Paul Zykofksy, a national Complete Streets expert, will be the keynote speaker at an information session and discussion 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jun. 12 at the Little Theatre of Portsmouth High School. His appearance is part of a grant to the city from Smart Growth America.
— A DVD of the film ‘The Human Scale,’ which 75 people watched at the PS21 event May 13, is now available from the Portsmouth Public Library.
** For people who can’t attend June 3, there will be an independent discussion of Walkable City beginning at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 28 at the library, moderated by Sean Moundas, who leads the library’s nonficton book group.
PS21 – Portsmouth SmartGrowth 21st Century – is a nonprofit group that aims to present ideas and encourage discussion and policy development around planning issues in Portsmouth. 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.