October 12, 2011

Our View: A commercial corridor could be Falmouth's center

History may not have produced a village center for Falmouth, but good planning could.

The town of Falmouth may not have a village center, but it's not due to a lack of effort.

For years, people have tried to leverage town investment to create a place for the community to gather. It has clustered its town hall, police and fire departments on Falmouth Road, and its schools on Woodville Road.

A proposal to turn the former Plummer-Motz Elementary School into a public library and community center on Middle Road went before the voters last year.

But a study focusing on the commercial corridor along Route 1 might have the most promise.

For starters, it's where the people are. Route 1 is closest to the most densely populated areas in the eastern part of town. It's also where most of the stores, restaurants and services, including a movie theater and skating rink, already are located.

The automobile-oriented development bisected by a highway and flanked by huge parking lots may not look like a quaint New England village, but that could change with the construction of sidewalks and zoning changes that could encourage a more pedestrian-friendly downtown.

It can't happen overnight, but the right mix of changes could foster the kind of community that some people in Falmouth have been trying to create for quite a long time.


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