Letter: South Portland's Knightville doesn't need 1-way streets

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Concerned citizens on a Knightville Traffic and Parking Committee are pursuing their firm commitment to see Ocean Street between E and D streets, and A Street, returned to two-way traffic.

The Bridge and Comprehensive Plans clearly state that business development should occur on the major arterials – Waterman Drive and Ocean Avenue – and the character of the letter street neighborhoods be retained, discouraging their use for cut-through traffic. However, most traffic leaving the E-to-D block exits onto D and tripled traffic on Knightville’s narrowest street, rendering it unsafe, and impossible for emergency vehicles to navigate.

The one-way/angled parking experiment was undergone at the behest of a few business owners, who have so far blocked all attempts by residents to reintroduce two-way traffic. Arguments used to keep the new traffic and parking patterns include lack of parking; customer ease in parking, shopping, and leaving, and assertions that certain stores will go out of business if the traffic pattern reverts to two-way.

A recent study by Sebago Technics study shows that only 50 percent of available parking is presently used. Two-way traffic offers the greatest number of choices for drivers. New businesses are developing on the two-way blocks and doing well.

The Knightville “grid” is simply too small for confusing one-way streets, there’s enough parking, and a return to two-way traffic will invite both the residential and the business environments to flourish, and a workable solution for all of Knightville will emerge if the residents, business community and city can work together.

Joe Walker
South Portland