Letter to Editor: Parking frustration



To the Editor:

Greetings Bar Harbor, Cruise Ship Capital of the World! It’s quite obvious from all that you have done and are doing that you have little patience or tolerance for those that really stay in town. You know, the vacation people. The ones who support the stores and restaurants. You are only interested in docking fees and cruise ship passengers.

This all started when these people were brought into town closing piers, using big buses to go up a mountain that is no way intended to handle this type of traffic … but that’s okay because your getting docking fees … you pay little attention to residents or visitors and their opinions.

Well, here is mine.

Let me introduce myself, I have been a homeowner here for many years, I also have family that come here and rent to stay at local houses, etc. We come here four times a year staying one to two weeks each visit.

My husband and I work 10-12 hour days five or six days a week. The last thing we want to do is cook, so we don’t.

We go out and eat breakfast every day. We also go out and eat dinner every day. If we don’t go out we do take out at the restaurants. That doesn’t include what we purchase at the supermarket to take with us for lunches when biking and hiking.

On average we have spent over the last 5 years just at restaurants $2,500 for our two-week vacation. We are a restaurant’s dream.

Here is how I just spent my first visit of the season. I arrived in town at 6 p.m. and parked at the pier. Had to look for the stand to pay to park. Took out my card, put it in the machine and learned I had to put in my license plate number (why I don’t know).

To avoid walking back to my car, I then put in four quarters. Nothing happened. I lost the four quarters. So then I walked back to my car to get the license plate numbers, walked back to put in my credit card, walked back to my car to put the stub in my window, then walked to the restaurant.

On our first day here, we paid extra to shop the stores to get it all done in one day. We never returned to pay for parking to shop at the local stores.

Sorry, store owners, this is what your town has done for you. If I needed something downtown, I would have my husband drop me off, run into Sherman’s or for food pickup, I would have my husband drive around and come back and pick me up in 15 minutes.

For breakfasts, I started arriving by 8 a.m. to get into the restaurant and leave by 9 a.m. so I did not have to pay for parking. I should not have to get up that early when I’m on vacation. That wore thin, so by the fourth day we stopped going into town at all for breakfast.

Unless a restaurant had parking like Café This Way or the Bar Harbor Inn or The Looking Glass Restaurant at the WonderView Inn we were not going.

For dinner the same thing occurred, and by the third day we stopped completely. We ate at establishments that had parking: Mama DeMatteo’s, Bar Harbor Inn and the Looking Glass. We also ate at the restaurants that line Route 233, Route 198 and Route 3, and we ate in Southwest Harbor.

We calculated that if we continued with the same routine we did for years, two weeks of parking just for breakfast and dinner the cost would be $140.

Multiply that by two more weeks during the season and that’s $280. Are you kidding me? I will not be paying that, therefore, I will not be going into town.

If you review the loss to the restaurants just from my husband and I for four weeks that’s almost $5,000 that I will not be spending at the restaurants this year.

I just read the article on the front page of the June 20 newspaper, Bar Harbor will reach $1 million in revenue this year in parking fees. Congratulations, Bar Harbor, you are doing it on the backs of the locals, business owners and people who own second homes that come here every year.

You certainly have ruined our vacation time here as well. Instead of coming up with a solution, you want to penalize the very people that need people to come into town to spend money so shops can survive.

I have two more trips left this year and we will not be going into town like we used to in order to go out to eat. We have completed our buying at the shops as well for the year and will not be going into any stores during our visits.

If you think people are going to bike in or use the bus, think again. I didn’t drive here 12 hours to be inconvenienced, while you try to dictate how I can and should come into town. You need to see the forest for the trees and start seeing and hearing the other side, the locals, the homeowners and the vacation guests.

People are quite annoyed with your system and so am I. $2 per hour is outrageous, I will not be paying it and I won’t be going into town like we used to. Continue down this path and you won’t have a downtown area. Business are certainly going to suffer as are visitors.

I can’t wait to see how your reservation system is going to ruin the visits to the park. I will hold my comments on that until this system is implemented.

Barbara Cusumano

Marlton, N.J.

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