Cement foundations are in place to hold parking kiosks in town parking lots. Town councilors tweaked the Permit and Paid Parking Policy at Tuesday’s meeting to do away with 2-hour time limits at parking meters. The policy is set to begin on May 15, and run through Oct. 31. ISLANDER PHOTO BY BECKY PRITCHARD

Parking enforcement hours, time limits tweaked

BAR HARBOR — The Town Council decided to heed requests to change the enforcement hours and time limits in the new downtown parking system that goes into effect May 15.

On Tuesday, the council acted to end enforcement in permit parking areas at 6 p.m., instead of 8 p.m.

Councilors discussed and then dismissed the idea of changing the enforcement hours for paid parking spaces. Those will still be enforced until 8 p.m.

“We don’t know the revenue implications” of amending the policy to stop charging when the town is still busy, Councilor Paul Paradis said.

Some of the metered parking spots were limited to two hours under the original policy. The council upped the time limit on those spots to four hours.

Several weeks ago, the council agreed to give motorists Sunday mornings off from the permit parking requirement, opening residential side streets to non-permit holders until noon.

This week, they changed the paid parking hours to match. Paid parking will now also only be enforced from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

Town councilors also approved other changes recommended by the Parking Solutions Task Force and town staff. These included offering free parking around the municipal building on election days, eliminating the $5 visitor permit fee and instituting a $12 overnight parking fee at the ferry terminal for ferry passengers.

The $12 fee, said Town Manager Cornell Knight, will be collected by Bay Ferries and paid to the town monthly.

The newly amended Permit and Paid Parking policy is set to begin on May 15, and run through Oct. 31.

Chris Strout, owner of Acadia Stand Up Paddle Boarding, was one of the residents who spoke in favor of doing away with 2-hour limits on downtown parking meters.

“It is difficult for people to find parking to go on tours during the day,” Strout said. “I personally am in favor of no time limits. We’re already incentivizing people to move by charging for parking that used to be free.”

Town councilors said they had received emails from residents asking to keep the 2-hour meters in place as well.

Brian Booher, the director of Bar Harbor Town Band, spoke in favor of ending enforcement at 6 p.m. because it will help band members, many of whom are not Bar Harbor residents, park for evening summer concerts.

“I think that we need to be more nimble this summer,” Booher said.

With the shortness of the summer season, he said the council should be ready to act quickly to amend the parking policy as problems arise, “even if it means holding special meetings.”

Some concerns brought up in public comment did not get addressed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Lucy Shapiro, who lives in West Gouldsboro and works in Bar Harbor, said many local employees used to park in the municipal lots near the shops, which will soon be paid parking.

“I don’t think there’s been any consideration for the taxation on the employees,” she said, referring to the cost of parking at a kiosk to work.

Shapiro said parking in permit areas several blocks away from the businesses will be time-consuming.

“I’m concerned for the wait staff that go home with a pocket full of cash,” she said. “It’s a long way for an old lady to walk, or a young kid who’s got pockets full of money, to walk after eight hours [of working].”

Leigh Lauck, one of the owners of Maples Inn, spoke out against the $750 permit fee for bed-and-breakfast guests.

“We’re not opposed entirely to permitted parking on our street,” Lauck said, “but our price tag … [is] so out of pace with what other permits cost.”

She asked councilors to lower the fee that she said would cost her business $25,000 over 10 seasons.

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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