Urban planner Jeff Speck is a friend of Lowell’s. He likes the city. He has praised the renaissance of the city. His advice is worth considering. His knowledge, based on working around the country and the world, is valuable. It’s a mistake for anyone to paint him as some kind of outside interference. A few years ago, Jeff took in his hand an outstretched hand from the community here and accepted a request to help us think through the next phase of improvement for downtown, especially. He came back recently to offer observations on what’s happened and encouraged everyone to keep going forward. He sees Lowell as a special American place. A special American place with its urban design, restored buildings, engaged residents, and expressive culture. He keeps up with what’s happening. Good things are in motion. The current Lord Overpass make-over plan has innovative and practical elements developed by the City Hall leadership and City planners with urgent input from residents, but there is still time to think about how it can be made even better. We should embrace thoughtful advice, wherever it comes from.