MOUNT DESERT — At the request of Police Chief Jim Willis, the Board of Selectmen has amended the town’s traffic ordinance to permanently prohibit parking on either side of a portion of Steamboat Wharf Road, starting at the Route 3 intersection.
Parking along the road, which is near Seal Harbor Beach, isn’t a problem this time of year, and certainly not this year. But last July, some Seal Harbor residents told the selectmen that, when the small parking lot at the beach is full, vehicles park along Steamboat Wharf Road, creating a safety hazard.
Fire Chief Mike Bender agreed, saying parking on even one side of the road makes it difficult for fire trucks to get through.
“There have been times when I doubt we would have been able to get a truck down to the dock to access the dry hydrant there for a water supply,” he told the selectmen.
Willis said at the time that his department had tried to manage the problem with temporary “no parking” signs on one side of the road. He asked the selectmen to “give us the authority to get through the rest of this season…to get us through what I’m thinking to be a crisis.”
The selectmen responded by authorizing Willis to prohibit parking on Steamboat Wharf Road “as he sees fit” until the parking ordinance could be reviewed.
In an April 3 memo to Town Manager Durlin Lunt, Willis wrote, “In addition to monitoring the area last summer, I’ve since met with residents who live along the section of Steamboat Wharf Road where the complaints originated.”
He said the ordinance amendment that he proposed and the selectmen adopted at their April 6 meeting is intended “to enhance pedestrian and traffic safety.”