What is a High Street Plan

What exactly are High Street “plans?”

The original plans from MassHighway for High Street were 52 pages of detailed drawings.

The High Street Master plan is also (or I would imagine be somewhere around) 52 pages of detailed drawings.

When the original plans came back from MassHighway, the High Street Ad Hoc Committee that I was on (this would be the spring of 1999) was asked to “mark-up” the plans, another words write comments on the plans as feedback for the MassHighway engineers.

As I recall every page had “NO” written all over it in red pencil.

I don’t know how the Newburyport Planning Office marked up the High Street Master Plan, but I do remember that the plan itself was huge. Each page seemed huge to me (like 1.5 by 3 feet–that’s not exactly the exact size, and yes I could call the Newburyport Planning Office and ask, but you get the idea, the pages aren’t exactly puny).

And when the plan was put end to end, it seemed long enough to almost cover the back of the City Hall auditorium wall. I’m not exactly sure if that is exactly right, but we are talking long, really, really long.

And the plans are detailed. You can get an idea by pressing here, a page labeled “Kent and Johnson Street”. You can see that there are markings for detailed things like trees, where steps to houses are, whether a spot in front of a house has an iron or a wood fence, how long the fence would be, exactly where the grass is, where a house starts and the beginning of a house’s “foot print.”

All of this was and still is visually fascinating to me as an artist. I could appreciate the hours and hours of work that went into such a document/plan. Every inch had been measured. Every inch had been sometimes agonized over.

Having followed the process from the beginning, I realized when I saw the final High Street Master Plan, that it was truly a labor of love. And I was very moved and very thankful to all the people who helped create it.

Mary Eaton