A rendering of the proposed intersection of Market Street and Scarborough Downs Road. The Downs

SCARBOROUGH — Developers of The Downs shared plans for “phase one” of the Town Center development with the Scarborough Planning Board on Jan. 9. The plans included a basic layout of roads and buildings and outlined a vision for the first phase of construction. But some planning board members expressed concern about the possibility of a connector road that could become a high-traffic shortcut.

The plans follow master plan approval of the Town Center in November 2022. The master plan for the complete Town Center contains amenities such as restaurants, a central square with green spaces, and retail and residential units. The developer’s concept includes an open-air pavilion with recreational uses.

A salient goal of the Town Center is walkability and connectivity between Warren Woods, the Innovation District, the residential area of The Downs, and the other amenities.

Allagash Brewing and an  affordable housing building for those with physical disabilities by 3iHoME, will be constructed in this first phase.

A new road was shown at the meeting that would connect Haigis Parkway to Scarborough Downs Road. Market Street would be another access road to The Downs in addition to Payne Road and U.S. Route 1. Some board member raised concerns that as a connector between the well-traveled Payne Road and Route 1, Market Street could become an overly traffic-congested shortcut.

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


The visualized intersection of Scarborough Downs Road and Market Street was also discussed. The developers said that the right angles of the intersection would naturally slow down traffic and can be used in accordance with the Town Center’s vision.

Developers said that the area would be pedestrian-focused, with measures included to implement that design. “We’ll work on advancing in responding to the comments (of the board) in more detail,” said Dan Bacon, director of development at The Downs.  “… There’s going to be a threshold with traffic-calming measures that we’ll reveal in detail with the board that really neck down the street.”

Brian O’Connor, of CUBE 3 architecture, spoke on the design and intent. “When we think about this, we want the cars to come into this space and feel like they belong, but not as much as people,” he said. “… I think you are going to find people that want to drive through here to experience that space from their car knowing that it’s going to be slower. Parallel parking, people all over the place, that’s fine. But I think you’ll find that people that have intent or desire to get from point A to B more quickly, they will immediately abandon their old habits very, very quickly if it’s slower.”

The developers also discussed ideas of more pedestrian-focused measures such as wide sidewalks with trees, benches, and lighting.

Ladd also discussed the balance of through traffic and destination traffic and potential circulation issues. “This is a problem in Portland too, everyone wants to park as close as they possibly can to where they’re going and so this actually creates its own traffic problem,” she explained.

O’Connor responded to the concern. “We actually think about this a lot, and one of the things that we thought about is this notion of ‘how do you allow circulation but not too much?’” He explained how a looping system of traffic will be in place that will naturally encourage the use of a parking lot and avoid congestion.

About four to six months of community input and planning board review is expected, with construction starting as early as this summer.

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