Franklin Street (Portland, Maine)

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Franklin Street at Commercial Street

Franklin Street is a four-lane street in Portland, Maine. It began as Essex Street in the 18th century, but changed to Franklin Street by 1823. It is a major corridor for traffic from Interstate 295 to Portland's downtown, and to other neighborhoods located on the Portland peninsula.[1]


Franklin Street was reconstructed as a divided arterial roadway in the late 1960s, after the demolition of Portland's Little Italy, Bayside and other neighborhoods. Renamed Franklin Street Arterial, it was built to allow greater access by vehicles to Commercial Street and the rest of downtown. Unfortunately, this configuration also hindered pedestrian traffic—both along its length and across it—to and from East Bayside, the Old Port, Munjoy Hill and other neighborhoods which border it.[2] Franklin Towers, at the corner of Cumberland Avenue, was built at this same time.

In May 2007, 70 people gathered to discuss the impacts and potential of Franklin Street Arterial. The report of this meeting[3] was brought to City officials, and helped to set the stage for the Franklin Street Corridor Study—Phase I. Plans have been discussed and presented to change the street, all three of which would add bike paths and sidewalks.[4] In 2010, at the recommendation of the Franklin Street Corridor Study,[5] the name was returned to Franklin Street, by Portland's City Council. New street signs indicating "Franklin Street" were hung in March 2011. Signage on nearby I-295, which The Maine Department of Transportation is responsible for, indicates "Franklin St," as well. [6]

The Maine State Pier, a deepwater marine facility and outdoor music venue, is located at the intersection of Franklin Street and Commercial Street on Portland's eastern waterfront. Casco Bay Lines (also known as Casco Bay Island Transit District, CBITD), a publicly run transportation company that services the islands of Casco Bay, runs its fleet of five vessels from the Maine State Pier.


  1. ^ [1] Bell, Tom. 'Rethinking an urban vision', Portland Press Herald, 26 April 2009
  2. ^ History of Franklin Street
  3. ^
  4. ^ Three options for Franklin Arterial development
  5. ^ [2] 'Reclaiming Franklin Street', p. 41
  6. ^ [3]'Franklin Street gets new name-Franklin Street', Portland Press Herald, 7 April 2011

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