As a former city planner, I wince every time I hear the term Smart Growth used by the Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington to justify their proposal for redeveloping parts of Upper and Lower Main Street.
Smart Growth is a planning concept developed in the early 1990’s in the state of Maryland (my childhood home) under the leadership of the Governor. In essence it was a deal between the State and the localities in Maryland’s quickly developing counties, whereby the State agreed to provide new roads and infrastructure, if the localities in turn would concentrate their new developments in those designated areas.
I haven’t seen any plans for new or improved roads or infrastructure in Port Washington. Have you? And the lack of transportation infrastructure is the core of my concern about the development proposal (yes, there is a LIRR train station, but it only connects us in one direction and is not really useful for running errands or picking up the kids from soccer).
I question the wisdom of densifying the areas around the most congested parts of the peninsula without adequate roads in and out. Our intersections are failing with the current levels of traffic. If the Town of North Hempstead were serious about Smart Growth, it would be looking at underutilized areas closer to Northern Boulevard or I-495 to redevelop. Parts of Manhasset come to mind. There is even have a train station nearby. But of course we can’t do that! So let’s stop calling the proposal to redevelop Main Street in Port Washington, Smart Growth, and call it what it is – a bad idea.