The proposed Market Street-Scarborough Downs Road intersection at The Downs, shown at the center of this rendering, would be “a pedestrian intersection as much as vehicular,” according to developers. Contributed / CUBE 3

Scarborough Planning Board members are concerned that a proposed connector route to The Downs town center would become a traffic-jammed commuter shortcut, but developers Monday stressed they could thwart those problems.

The connector, called Market Street, would link Haigis Parkway to Scarborough Downs Road, which connects heavily traveled Payne Road and Route 1. Market Street has the potential to be used as a shortcut, board members said.

While Market Street and Scarborough Downs Road would provide easy access to the downtown portion of the project from the major roadways, board members are worried they also may encourage commuters to use them as well.

“What just keeps jumping off the page at me is this literal straight line, knowing it ultimately connects from Route 1 out to Payne Road, or even as a shortcut to Haigis Parkway,” said board member Jennifer Ladd at Monday’s planning board meeting.

Ladd used Commercial Street in Portland as an example.

“We’ve all been to Commercial Street and it’s really congested from almost one end to the other,” she said. “It’s a place to go, and it’s also a through-road.” 


The intersection of Market Street and Scarborough Downs Road would be located by planned multi-use buildings, with commercial spaces on the first floors, and near a green space. Developers said that as a destination area, heavily populated by pedestrians and bicyclists and with people parking their cars, it will naturally slow down vehicular traffic and dissuade commuters from using it as a shortcut.

“It is slower, but that’s what we want,” said Brian O’Connor of CUBE 3 Architects. “When we think about the intersection, it’s a pedestrian intersection as much as vehicular … We want the cars to come into this space and feel like they belong, but not as much as pedestrians.”

The town has an advantage over municipalities across the nation that are struggling to make 20th-century town centers more pedestrian and bike-friendly, developers said Monday. The ability to build a town center from the ground up in the 21st century presents an opportunity to emphasize pedestrian access from the get-go.

“We have some multi-purpose bike paths already underway that we will continue up Scarborough Downs Road and actually make wider in the core of the project,” said Dan Bacon, development director of M&R Holdings. “The same would be true coming from Market Street.”

Making sidewalks and bike paths wider, Bacon said, would make the roads narrower and discourage high-speed vehicular travel.

Board members also questioned if there would be ample parking so that cars wouldn’t have to circle multiple times to find spaces.


“When we go into Portland, I just drive around until I find a parking spot,” said board member Roger Beeley. “You’re just adding more traffic when you’re driving around blocks.”

Developers said parking should not be a problem. Parallel parking will be available on Market Street and Scarborough Downs Road and large parking lot will be visible from the intersection. With ample space, the drivers won’t have to drive around and around to find a spot, O’Connor said.

Beeley also asked if developers would consider a parking garage. Developers said that is a possibility but would come after more commercial spaces are built so parking demand could be assessed.

The developers and planning board will continue to meet in the coming months. Construction of the first phase of the downtown portion of The Downs could begin this summer.

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