2014-09-26 / Letters

Resident seeks resolution

To the editor:

My name is Susan Kramer and I have been a resident of the Knightville neighborhood for 18 years. I purchased my home at 44 D St. just prior to the opening of the Casco Bay Bridge. The character of the neighborhood was what drew me to it, with its older homes, accessibility to stores, parks, city hall and the post office. Throughout the years that I have resided here, I have seen the neighborhood go through many changes. Recently, Knightville has welcomed several new businesses that have brought more traffic, both on foot and automobile.

In 2012, along with the redesign of Ocean Street, a plan was put into place for changes in the traffic pattern. Initially there was to be parallel parking along Ocean Street, keeping traffic moving in two directions. However, some businesses between D and E streets felt this would harm their businesses, as their patrons would have less street parking. Ultimately it was agreed that Ocean Street, between E and D streets, would be one way heading north, with angled parking on the west side of the street. At this time, people were invited to provide feedback. It wasn’t until this plan was carried out that I would be aware of the impact that this change would have on the quality of my life in Knightville.

Historically, Knightville has been a mixed use neighborhood, with businesses and residents cohabitating side by side. Unfortunately, since this most recent change, many residents in the area are finding that the significant increase in traffic has negatively affected their quality of life. A recent tally, completed by the South Portland Police Department from July 16, 2013 to July 23, 2013, indicated that there were 7,352 cars that traveled east and west down D Street alone throughout the course of a one-week span. I wonder if any other residential neighborhoods in South Portland, other than those homes on a major thoroughfare (such as Broadway) have to contend with such a profusion of traffic. Additionally, the excess traffic has brought noise pollution, affected air quality due to automobile exhaust and posed significant safety concerns to many Knightville residents. Many drivers do not readily obey traffic signs, speed limits or parking regulations when visiting the neighborhood. The situation has had an impact on the integrity and pride of this historical community.

Several options have been put to the city council regarding ways to fix what has been broken. To my knowledge, none have been seriously considered. Suggestions to return to the original plan that was proposed by Sebago Technics for parallel parking were offered, along with the possibility of making Ocean Street one way all the way to its meeting with Waterman Drive. These options would most certainly improve traffic flow. It was also suggested that D Street have speed bumps placed to slow down traffic. The first of these two options could be met by changing only signs and by correcting street markings – a minimal cost to return safety and integrity to the neighborhood. Those consumers who frequent these businesses would likely continue to provide their patronage. After all, there will continue to be parking on the street as well as in the lot behind the businesses. I doubt that changes in parking would take patrons away from a business they know and trust and that has been a part of their lives.

It is my hope that Knightville will return to the pleasant and scenic neighborhood that it once was, that the previously established cooperation and consideration of businesses and residents will be reestablished, and that the historical significance of this neighborhood, where 100-yearold homes and older can co-mingle with the newer trendy spots continues to exist peacefully in a manner that would be amenable to both business and resident alike. After all, isn’t what most humans value in life is to exist in a safer, peaceful community that meets the needs of all ?

Susan Kramer
South Portland

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