Reimagining Railroad and Maplewood and …
Gloucester Community Development / Metropolitan Planning Area Council
Catt Ryan submits-
Last night, Community Development partnered with the Metropolitan Planning Area Council (MAPC) to host the first in a series of discussions about Gloucester’s railroad station and the surrounding area. Along with all the other robust planning that is ever constant, this interactive meeting was an extra special focus on what transit oriented attention and development might mean for Gloucester. Gloucester Planning Director, Gregg Cademartori, gave a great introduction.
Eric Halvorsen introduced the team from MAPC, which helps town generally within the wide swath of I-95. I met Eric last fall at a MA Smart Growth event he was part of. It featured Fred Kent of Project for Public Space and one of our site walks that day considered spaces and transit areas at Harvard. Halvorsen explained that there are 280 or so transit stops in Massachusetts. He enthusiastically gushed, “They are precious and finite”– and therefore merit our attention. These transit hubs account for 5% of the geography of the state, and cover 37% of the jobs. The state considers Gloucester’s railroad station as an ‘urban gateway’, one of 10 types of transit stop categories they’ve identified in MA. Salem, Beverly and Haverhill are other examples of this urban gateway category.
The evening ended with three tables of break out discussions. Topics swirled, and questions prompted responses and exchanges. Connections to other areas downtown were mentioned, Gloucester’s past, and the railroad station area as a gateway. We wondered together what people thought it might be like soon and many, many years from now. Creative ideas and similar words and phrases oscillated throughout Kyrouz like air-popped kernels: emphasis on sidewalks, signage, streets (Washington Street, Maplewood, Prospect, Railroad Avenue, Dale and Pleasant), seniors, bike rentals, safety, young families, terms such as “soft and hardscaping”, public space, shade, paving one side (like the HarborWalk), green energy, beach buggies, maker spaces, lighting, artists and other professionals, trees, wayfinding, future businesses, pedicabs, mixed use, residences, single stories, design, the stores folks value now, the Jeff Weaver mural, the supermarket, Dunkin Donuts, the restaurants.
Community Development and MAPC will share results from these conversations and offer their take, research and observation. Our input will inform the process, and there’s funding queued up.
There will be two more public meetings and they’re sure to be interesting … make sure you come if you can for the next ones, and for any that Community Development organizes.
For the Railroad discussions, send in ideas and comments and/or sign up for updates on any future meetings with:
Eric Halvorsen firstname.lastname@example.org
Gregg Cademartori email@example.com