BAR HARBOR – Landscape architecture company LARK Studio took over a Main Street parking space with chairs and decorations Sept. 15, and it wasn’t to watch a parade.
It was to celebrate “Parking Day” and discuss how space could be better used in Bar Harbor.
The project was spearheaded by Charlotte Evanofski and Mike Rogers of LARK. Even a small space, they said, can make a big difference in the “feel” of a streetscape.
“It shows how nice a streetscape can be with a little less parking and a little more amenities for people,” Rogers said. “There’s always going to be more people on the sidewalks than cars in the street, so dedicating a little space to them is helpful sometimes.”
LARK is currently working on two streetscape projects on Cottage and Main streets in Bar Harbor. The Parking Day event was an opportunity for the designers to speak informally with residents and get comment on their plans.
“It gave a chance to talk to some of the daily users of Main Street and tell them about what we’re working on,” Rogers said. They also shared images from their recently completed Cottage Street design.
Visitors to the “parklet” were greeted with benches and chairs set on a turf mat. Melissa Frost from Frost Farms provided greenery for the day.
“I think we really showed that the exact dimensions of a parking space can be used in green space,” Evanofski said.
Concept images from the Cottage Street project show bump-outs in front of the Bar Harbor Post Office. While a couple of parking spots would be lost, that space would contain planters and wider sidewalks.
“One of the concerns when we do these bump-outs, they say ‘oh, well it takes up a spot, it’s just a small space,’” Rogers said. “But in that small space, you could fit three bike racks, a trash can, a light and a bench. You can fit in all these amenities.”
“People [are] asking how we could possibly keep near the same number” of parking spaces on Cottage Street with all these proposed changes, Evanofski said. “We would standardize the spaces and that gave us a lot of space, some spaces aren’t being utilized at all.”
Evanofski said that the company is planning to hold the event again next year.