Maplewood Avenue is a major feeder route into and out of downtown Portsmouth from the west. It runs through the City’s Historic District and borders the existing commercial core of the central business district. Development pressures, though, are pushing the urban fabric outward and the street’s prominence is increasing as a means of access for all modes of travel to these new destinations. As a result, the City became interested in implementing its new Complete Streets Policy and Guidance Document by creating a repurposed corridor from Congress Street to the bridge over North Mill Pond for all modes of travel – pedestrians, bikes, transit, and motorized vehicles. Striking a new balance in mobility among modes is the project’s objective.
A Design Team led by Sebago Technics was retained in 2017 to work with the City and eight (8) commercial developers along the corridor to develop a new street and streetscape that complemented this new vision of City Planners and private developers. The Sebago Team includes traffic and roadway engineers from the firm combined with urban planners and streetscape designers from Harriman, and bicycle facility designers from Alta Planning + Design.
The assignment is being conducted in three distinct phases: Conceptual Design, Preliminary Design, and Final Design. The Conceptual Phase was completed in 2018. A total of 13 alternatives were evaluated. These included various alternatives for accommodating bicyclists, on-street parking, and streetscape elements. The Design Team has worked closely with City staff to screen these initial alternatives and presented the final two to the general public. From there a “preferred alternative” was selected and the Preliminary Design commenced, which was completed in 2019. The City is currently assembling funding for construction in the near future.