Gorham's Corner Streetscape Enhancement:
Gorham's Corner is a five-way intersection in downtown Portland, where Center Street meets Pleasant, Danforth, and Fore streets. It's a historic corner that pays homage to Irish immigrants who came to the neighborhood during Black '47, or the year of the potato famine in Ireland. There's a granite table inscribed with the names and life stories of those who once lived there. It also features a statue of the famous film director John Ford who grew up in an Irish American family nearby. Every day, thousands of people walk, bike, roll, and drive through this intersection.
However, this intersection is difficult and dangerous for pedestrians to navigate. In 2023, Portland Trails led this streetscape enhancement project alongside Portland Downtown and the City of Portland to improve conditions for everyone traveling through this lively corner.
We believe that transportation problems are design problems. With our partners, we made the following enhancements:
- Added two crosswalks
- Installed ADA accessible wheelchair ramps
- Extended the curbs and sidewalks at each corner
- Painted murals on the asphalt, courtesy of local artist Jill Perry of Pamplemousse Studio
- Eliminated a turning lane
- Set the traffic lights to flash red, allowing for better flow for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers
This project was designed to be a temporary, low-cost test of a concept before investing in a more costly permanent design.
Part of Portland Trails' mission is to improve infrastructure for walking and biking throughout Greater Portland. As a trail organization, this usually looks like upgrading and maintaining trails that community members can use for off-street transportation.
However, because we are in an urban center, this work also involves improving the walkability and bikeability of streets, neighborhoods, and intersections. Together, well-designed streets and robust trail networks create a healthier future for Greater Portland.
Thanks to all who provided feedback about this project!
No City of Portland funds have been used for this project. Materials, planning, and labor have been donated by Portland Trails along with Portland Downtown, Bicycle Coalition of Maine, Pamplemousse Studio, Ransom, and Toole Design.