By year’s end, the Yarmouth Town Council will decide the fate of the Route 1 bridge that crosses Main Street. The bridge serves to separate traffic between these roads, while preserving the continuity of both streets. This has created a diversity of character in the physical environment, an added dimension if you will. This diversity plays out in a positive way for a greater pedestrian nature on Main Street and for a more car-oriented, commercial nature for Route 1.
I feel that Yarmouth was lucky that decision-makers 60 years ago thought that this piece of infrastructure was important. Over time our community has made the bridge “our bridge” by taking advantage of the Main Street continuity for the Clam Festival celebration and by using the bridge as a signboard for community expression.
Many towns struggle to deal with Route 1 commerce displacing traditional town centers. Yarmouth, however, has a charming village. We have a generous stock of well-preserved buildings, a civic core, and healthy residential neighborhoods nestled around the town center, thanks to the bridge. It’s the neighborhoods that I feel, over time, would be imperiled by taking the bridge down.
There are long-term implications to changes in civic infrastructure, and I am concerned that the removal of the bridge would greatly jeopardize the character of Yarmouth, disrupt the identification of citizens to their town, destabilize the relationship between commercial and residential areas, and in general create a more uncertain future for issues concerning growth.