Letter to Editor: Drastic change

To the Editor:

One month later our town is experiencing another crisis, created by a few town officials, set to drastically affect all of the citizens of Bar Harbor and the entire island.

First the vacation rental moratorium, and now the parking restrictions. And all done just weeks before our tourist season gets into full gear.

I understand the need to do something about the so-called parking crisis, but the solution that is being implemented right now is not solving the crisis, which is a shortage of parking spaces.

All it is doing is creating extreme inconvenience for residents and visitors alike. And I can assure you, it will dramatically affect business owners in town. If the parking situation becomes too costly or restrictive people will stop coming to town.

I know for myself, when I visit my favorite restaurant every week I always park on Cottage Street. Even in the peak of summer I can usually find a spot within a block of the restaurant. But now, even if I pay for the metered parking on Cottage Street, I will have to leave the establishment within two hours or risk being ticketed.

This will definitely have an impact on my activities in town and the money I ultimately spend in businesses in town. And what of our visitors who might enjoy a nice dinner then want to walk the streets for some shopping? That’s not going to be accomplished in less than two hours. Local business is going to suffer.

I realize that a while back there was a vote on whether or not to build a parking garage and a majority of citizens voted against it (I did not). But, right now, it seems, that is the only way our small village is going to increase the number of parking spaces.

All this current plan is doing is increasing town revenue at the expense of our business owners and local citizens. How can the town implement such a program that hurts residents and changes the very nature of our friendly, welcoming village?

Visitors will be unhappy, too, if they can’t park on side streets near the restaurant they want to dine at. (Oh, and what about people going to the movies? Where are they to park?)

While I have read many online comments about how this new plan will encourage folks to ride their bikes or take the bus or carpool. I say “what bus”? We have no public transportation (the Island Explorer bus is as private enterprise and limited in its service). And do you think people are going to ride a bike to town living 10 miles out?

While having metered parking on Cottage, Main and Mount Desert Streets is probably not a bad idea, restricting parking on all the side streets is absurd.

The Town Council is putting forth a program that is detrimental to the economy of the local business community and entirely impractical and inconvenient for local residents. We all are going to lose under this plan.

I would urge the town leaders to reconsider this plan and go back to the drawing board to find more parking spaces, not more restrictions to citizens and visitors alike. At the very least, cancel the restricted parking on the side streets.

Rebecca Richardson

Bar Harbor

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