Plans show the bump-out crosswalk partially approved by the Town Council last week. Councilors voted to fund half the cost of a $28,000 crosswalk in front of Criterion Theatre, and asked the theater to fund the other half. TOWN OF BAR HARBOR IMAGE

Is half a crosswalk better than none?

BAR HARBOR — The town will pay half the cost of a bump-out crosswalk to go in front of Criterion Theatre, and has asked the Criterion to finance the other half, as decided by unanimous vote of the Town Council last week.

Town Manager Cornell Knight told councilors that the crosswalk would be temporary.

“It would have to come up when we do the streetscape plan,” he noted, referring to a plan to redesign Cottage Street presented by Lark Studios in 2017. In July of that year, the council accepted the Cottage Street streetscape plan and directed Knight to explore ways to fund the project.

The crosswalk was requested by leaders of the Criterion Theatre, an independent nonprofit, earlier this year, as a way to protect the building’s historic marquee and increase safety for patrons. At the time of the request, Criterion executive director Amy Roeder said the organization was prepared to enter a cost-share agreement with the town to help pay for construction.

The crosswalk is expected to cost about $28,000, according to an estimate by former town Public Works Director Chip Reeves. On one of his last days working for the town in August, Reeves wrote a memo outlining two options for a crosswalk.

A crosswalk made from pavers would cost the town $33,762, he wrote, and a crosswalk with surfacing would cost $28,018. Additions such as trees or bollards would increase the price tag.

The council opted for the less expensive crosswalk, without additions. Councilor Gary Friedmann asked Roeder if the Criterion would pay the rest. “I think when this was initially presented, it was discussed that [the Criterion] would pay half,” he said.

“The board hasn’t allocated funds [for this project],” Roeder replied. Though the group had agreed to contribute if possible, she clarified, “paying half the cost was not decided on by the board.”

Voting to fund only half of the crosswalk, town councilors asked Roeder to consult with the Criterion’s Board of Directors to find out if they are willing to fund the other half. The vote was 6-0. Councilor Matt Hochman recused himself, citing a conflict of interest as the coffee shop he owns is in leased space in the Criterion building.

The bump-out crosswalk will eliminate five parking spots, Knight said, three of them paid, and two handicapped. The two handicapped spots, however, do not meet ADA requirements.

Eliminating parking spots in front of the marquee was part of intention of the original request, as Roeder explained to councilors in February. She said when large trucks park close to the building, “that’s when we see damage to the marquee.”

Roeder told councilors she hoped a bump-out crosswalk would “make it easier for our patrons to stay safe, make it easier for the cars to go back and forth on the roadway, and also protect our marquee.”

Becky Pritchard
Former Islander reporter Becky Pritchard covered the town of Bar Harbor and was a park ranger in Acadia for six seasons.
Becky Pritchard

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