MOUNT DESERT — A preliminary streetscape plan for making downtown Northeast Harbor livelier and more inviting calls for one-way traffic on Main Street year-round and replacing the diagonal parking on the east side of the street with parallel parking on both sides.
The plan also calls for widening the sidewalk on the west side of Main Street, building a sidewalk on the east side and making Tracy Street one way northbound.
The plan was developed by Richardson & Associates, a landscape architecture firm in Saco, which was selected for the project by the Northeast Harbor Village Center Plan Committee. In April, the Board of Selectmen approved the expenditure of up to $17,000 for the development of a streetscape plan for the downtown area.
The plan was presented at a public meeting July 13 and at the July 20 meeting of the Summer Residents Association (SRA).
Along with the proposed street and sidewalk changes, the plan suggests the municipal parking lot off Sea Street could present “building and development opportunities and for improving connections from downtown to the marina,” Village Center Plan Committee Chairman Sam Coplon said at the SRA meeting.
Coplon said the change to year-round parallel parking on Main Street would increase the number of spaces by six or eight. Making Tracy Street one-way would allow for parallel parking there, as well, he said.
Coplon emphasized that the Richardson & Associates plan is just a starting point.
“You’ve got to create a plan in order to get comments,” he said. “So, this is sort of the template for people to offer thoughts and comments. It kind of sets a long-term vision, but any detailed plans would be in subsequent stages of work.”
He said another public meeting would be held in mid-August to get feedback on the streetscape plan.
Among the improvements the plan calls for is redesigning the intersection of Main Street and Summit Road.
“Making it more of a “T” would allow us to gain public space for sidewalk and landscape improvements,” Coplon said.
He said the intersection of Main Street, Neighborhood Road and Kimball Road would be redesigned to eliminate the island and that “sidewalk improvements would extend down around Neighborhood Road and up Tracy Street.”
The preliminary plan includes no cost estimates for the proposed improvements.