The city of Portsmouth Planning Commission will conduct a special meeting, in conjunction with SSU, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, to discuss the revised plans concerning the use of, and access to, Second and Third streets. The meeting will take place in the engineering department on the second floor of the Portsmouth Municipal Building.
SSU President Rita Rice Morris said the university met earlier this month with neighbors, area businesses and city officials to share their plans and gather feedback. Morris said the group received information that the community seems to be supportive of the move.
“We own everything on Third Street on both sides from Gay to Waller, except for six properties,” SSU Director of Communications Elizabeth Blevins said. “Those six properties are near the Gay Street side. They are six houses right together. Five of those are rental properties. One is privately owned, and there is a private residence there. So we have talked to those owners to let them know that they will retain access to their properties.”
The plan also calls for the closing of Second Street from Waller Street to Union Street, which the university also already owns.
“Our planner has developed a transition plan that calls for the implementation of ‘traffic calming’ strategies along Third Street,” Morris said. “These include the addition of a pedestrian light at Gay and Third to help patrons cross the street to the Vern Riffe Center, the installation of six crosswalks along Third Street to allow students to cross safely, the relocation of parking from the edge of the street to the center to provide better visibility and an additional light at Third and Waller.”
Portsmouth Mayor Jane Murray said a special meeting of the city of Portsmouth’s traffic committee concerning the same issue will follow the planning commission meeting at 2:30 p.m. The public is also invited to that meeting.