Parking fairness

To the Editor:

I went to the Parking Solutions Task Force last week. I heard a lot about fees for employees and residents paying to be able to park in front of their own houses or in the residential districts.

I heard about only one vehicle per residence getting an on-street parking permit for possibly a $10 per year fee. I also heard a very ambiguous discussion on who and how a permit could be issued for a friend or relative that might come to visit and what the charge would be for a permit for them and for how long it would last.

All permits would be nontransferable. I don’t know many homeowners that have only one car.

We are paying the registration fees and the property taxes. Many residences have no driveway or short driveways.

We live on Ledgelawn Avenue. It is one of the most suburban streets in all of Maine, but it is also substandard in width for the amount of use it gets. We get pellet trucks making deliveries to the Jackson Lab, along with what seems to be half of their employees going to and leaving from work each day. For some odd reason, most of those vehicles think there is no speed limit.

We get all the food trucks, tour buses, ship tour buses, tour trolleys and even horses when they want to get around the congestion on Mount Desert Street, which is pretty much all summer long.

So the problem with Ledgelawn Avenue and many of our other residential streets is that they are not wide enough. The one way streets in the summer quite often have tourists walking abreast right down the center of the street even though there may be sidewalks on either side.

If you have a driveway, it is much easier to park on the street to start the day. That is because of the poor chances of being able to back out onto that heavily trafficked road.

I heard employees might have to pay a permit fee of $75 for the entire summer. It would be nice if their employers had to pay for that.

It sounded as though weekly rental owners would need to get a parking permit every week for their tenants.

Shouldn’t the businesses pay into this “parking fund” at the same rate or more than required before the elimination of parking requirements for the business district? The plan seems to be to force all the employees and business owners down the throats of all the residential streets without any sacrifices by businesses.

There are no extra parking lots in this plan. The Island Explorer sounds as though it is at maximum capacity. Could the businesses help pay for extra shuttle buses?

I hear that the committee wants the tourists to pay and fund parking solutions with a hoped-for $500,000 added to the town coffers from fees and fines. But residents are going to take the brunt of the problem.

All weekly rentals and daily rentals (motels, hotels) in town need get a permit. Air bnbs and one night rentals aren’t regulated at all. If not registered or allowed, should they be able to get a parking permit?

Commercial boat excursions leaving from the vicinity of the town pier in aggregate are licensed to carry over 1,200 passengers. If you add passengers waiting to board for the next cruise, you now could have a need for parking for 2,400 passengers at the same time.

Even with two to four people per car, that would be a parking need of 300-600 cars. Should just a few businesses cause this much stress on Bar Harbor’s parking without having to provide a free parking solution of their own for their customers? I love boats and boating, but this demand on parking is huge.

Parking meters and kiosks are only going to cover 460 parking spaces. If the excursion boats provided their own parking, you wouldn’t need any paid parking because it would free up 300-600 or more parking spaces. No other retail business in town generates parking demand of this magnitude. Even at the theaters in town, if they can seat 900 for one showing, their feature runs about 1.5 hours.

So what is fair? What businesses are going to put their own money into the solution for the parking problem they have generated?

I appreciate the Parking Solutions Task Force looking into an answer for the parking problems.

Ed Damm

Bar Harbor

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