Baxter Boulevard — An ‘urban oasis’ in Portland

Posted May 20, 2014, at 6:59 a.m.
Former roller derby stars Amy Martin (front) and Donna Hickey skate on Baxter Boulevard on Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
Former roller derby stars Amy Martin (front) and Donna Hickey skate on Baxter Boulevard on Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Portland, Maine. Buy Photo
A family enjoys a ride on car-free Baxter Boulevard on Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
A family enjoys a ride on car-free Baxter Boulevard on Sunday, May 11, 2014, in Portland, Maine. Buy Photo
Joggers and bicyclists take advantage of the open road May 11 on the Boulevard in Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
Joggers and bicyclists take advantage of the open road May 11 on the Boulevard in Portland, Maine. Buy Photo
Nick Weiner attempts a trick on his skateboard while a friend rides by on a scooter in the middle of Baxter Boulevard.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
Nick Weiner attempts a trick on his skateboard while a friend rides by on a scooter in the middle of Baxter Boulevard. Buy Photo
A bicyclist and an in-line skater travel down Baxter Boulevard.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
A bicyclist and an in-line skater travel down Baxter Boulevard. Buy Photo
Nick McGonagle races the only truck on the road, a remote-controlled toy operated by a friend on Baxter Boulevard.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
Nick McGonagle races the only truck on the road, a remote-controlled toy operated by a friend on Baxter Boulevard. Buy Photo
Billie and Ward Libby push strollers during an outing with their children on Baxter Boulevard on Sunday morning.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
Billie and Ward Libby push strollers during an outing with their children on Baxter Boulevard on Sunday morning. Buy Photo
A couple walks along Baxter Boulevard on May 11.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
A couple walks along Baxter Boulevard on May 11. Buy Photo
Noah Jordan, 4, rides his Radio Flyer down the center of Baxter Boulevard on the morning of May 11, shortly after the road was closed to automobile traffic for the day.
Robert F. Bukaty | BDN
Noah Jordan, 4, rides his Radio Flyer down the center of Baxter Boulevard on the morning of May 11, shortly after the road was closed to automobile traffic for the day. Buy Photo

PORTLAND, Maine – The gravel path that circles scenic Baxter Boulevard has long been a great place to stroll or jog. When a major construction project last year shut down a section of the boulevard to automobiles, folks discovered the extra space on the car-free paved road was an even better place to play. The city noticed too, and partway through the eight-month work project officials started “Sundays on the Boulevard,” officially turning the roadway into a temporary park for four hours each Sunday. In autumn, when the work was completed, the road would be permanently returned the automobiles.

But the “urban oasis” proved to be such a big hit that it has now become a regular event — with longer hours. Now, every Sunday from Mother’s Day until Veterans Day, bicyclists, roller skaters, and even little kids who want to ride their three-wheelers down the middle of the road can enjoy a mile-long stretch of open road from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Photographer Robert Bukaty visited the Boulevard earlier this month.

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