To the Editor:
I don’t drive, so I cannot knowledgeably comment on the parking meter debate. But I do have some experience in getting into and around Bar Harbor. And to the letter writer who asked “do you think people are going to ride a bike to town living 10 miles out?” Based on my sample of one — Yup, they do and they will. And for those for whom the hills are a challenge too steep, our local Bar Harbor bike shop now sells electric bikes.
For our aging and aged population, myself included, it is good to know that for maintaining physical fitness and mental acuity, cycling is one of the best exercises ever.
Unfortunately, recent changes to Rt. 3 — narrowed shoulders, sharp curb stones, erratic side walks — present new obstacles and dangers, but I would suggest that if more of us were cycling then we might have a greater say in changes. Also there is safety in numbers and the more of us on the roads, the more motorists can get used to watching out for us — especially if more motorists also become sometimes cyclists. On the other hand, our roads are kept pretty clean all winter and so cycling is possible in all seasons and most weather.
Many may not be aware that Downeast Transportation now has a helpful schedule of buses between Ellsworth and Bar Harbor and many of the buses have bike racks, as do seasonal Island Explorer buses. So if you can cycle to Route 3, then you can catch a bus Monday through Friday, around 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Maybe there might even eventually be “park and ride” locations.
I realize cycling and public transportation are not a solution to every challenge or situation, but neither is the assumption that individual automobiles or trucks are the best and only way to go. If more of us who can cycle would cycle when we could, then it would certainly mitigate parking issues. Mount Desert Island is a perfect location for developing a cycling culture. It would be so much better in so many ways to be arguing about more and better bike racks.