To the Editor:
For reasons that are unclear, Bar Harbor officials continue to pursue a problematic parking garage option and are not seriously evaluating more affordable and better alternatives to solve the summer downtown parking problem.
Major problems with the garage option include that the proposed structures are not large enough and won’t solve the problem. The facility is too costly (more than $6 million for the public portion of the garage) and needs to be subsidized from other revenue sources that could be more wisely spent elsewhere. Part of the proposed subsidy would come from unsightly curbside meters on downtown streets that would detract from the village’s quaint character and exacerbate traffic and parking problems on side streets and in residential neighborhoods where parking is free.
According to the Phase 3 report recently posted on the town website, a satellite parking option would not only solve the parking problem, but would do so for less than one tenth the cost. This option could be financed by converting the Rodick Place and Backyard public parking areas into paid parking lots (preferably with kiosks and not smart meters). There also would be no need to further deface town streets or the wharf area with curbside meters.
The question for town officials is why isn’t that option being pursued? Combined with other less costly strategies detailed in the 2002 Parking Committee report, an affordable solution to the town’s summer parking woes is readily achievable.