Parking dilemma

To the Editor:

Should a 125,000 to 131,000-square-foot, gray, four-story masonry parking garage be built in the center of our tiny harbor town on a small lot only one block from the ocean?

We’ve recently been told that to make this project financially feasible, it will be necessary to install parking meters along our sidewalks. Are the parking garage and the meters proportional in scale and appearance with the surrounding, mainly traditional buildings? Where would the owners of nearby restaurants and gift shops ask delivery drivers to unload food and merchandise other than on the already crowded West and Cottage streets?

In the case of an emergency, where would an ambulance, police car and fire truck park? And how many millions of dollars would the citizens of this small town be responsible for, and for how many years would we be paying off the debt? For how many months of the year is this parking lot said to be essential? Let’s keep in mind that this structure is not collapsible. It will be on clear display 12 months of the year for decades.

Could a parking garage be used for any other purpose if it fails as a car park? We’ve been told that taxes will not be raised to support the garage, but how can we be sure?

Let’s pay attention, everyone! Happily, another solution to the seasonal (two-four month) parking problem has been suggested: renting satellite parking lots with removable parking meters, for example, at schools which could receive rent for allowing the town to use their lots, and the use of shuttle buses, which already are stopping at these satellite lots during the summer season.

Result: no uglification of downtown Bar Harbor and no huge debts to pay off. Let’s encourage the Town Council to schedule more public discussions and then hold a vote of all citizens. If the parking garage project is to go forward, it should do so only with the official consensus of a majority of us.

Anne Marie V. Quin

Bar Harbor




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