July 16, 2020

In following the discussion regarding a new bridge between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, and either Calais or Baring, Maine, and the accompanying highway bypass, I’m reminded of the lessons of the 1960s and ’70s — the advent of the interstate system and the “malling of America” that went hand in hand. For those who remember, the interstate system bypassed the hearts of American communities — the downtowns. The result was the decay of business in the downtowns, and the sprouting of new business, many in the form of malls, around the interstate interchanges.

Regardless of the need for facilitating traffic between New Brunswick and Maine, anyone who believes that “people who want to go shopping in downtown Calais and St. Stephen will do so,” after a bypass has been built, might do well to regard the lessons of history, and to plan for that inevitable impact. Robert Godfrey Eastport

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