Parking solution

To the Editor:

Mark your calendar for June 12 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (or earlier by absentee ballot) when Bar Harbor residents will be able to weigh in on the longstanding parking problems in Bar Harbor.

We are voting on a bond as part of a parking program to be fully implemented in 2019. The bond will fund parking kiosks and meters that will raise in excess of a half million dollars a year for infrastructure improvements that benefit all. Fees generated in the program will pay off the bond in two years.

First, let me tell you what we will get for free. There will be 13 hours of free parking all over town from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. There will be seven months of free parking from mid-October until mid-May. There will be some “residents only” free parking spaces as well as 15-minute free parking in key places like the post office and the library. Everyone who has a car registered in Bar Harbor or is a COA student with a valid ID will be issued a resident parking sticker for free. We will be able to park on all the streets that are not paid parking by displaying our resident stickers.

Employees and business owners who are not residents will be given an employee sticker for a nominal fee. The parking solutions task force is recommending that visitors leave cars at their hotel parking lots and “walk, bike and bus” into downtown.

Folks who must drive into the downtown and park at prime locations will be charged a reasonable fee. Residents will be able to buy a card giving them half-price at the metered or kiosk parking when they need prime parking. Remember that many destinations like banks, the grocery and hardware store, doctors’ offices and the hospital have their own parking for errands at those locations.

Paid parking works in towns like Ogunquit and Newburyport, among others. This program will generate investments that will make our town more walkable and bikeable for a healthier and greener Bar Harbor. Apps associated with the parking program will help visitors find parking so they are not circling our village polluting and adding to congestion.

There is a link on the town website to answer frequently asked questions. Look for the parking solutions task force in the “Boards and Committees” section of the site. Also, you can call a member of the parking solutions task force or Town Council; their phone numbers are listed on the website as well.

The Town Council and Warrant Committee have endorsed this parking solution. Don’t forget to mark your calendar and vote “yes” for a solution to Bar Harbor’s parking problems.

Sherry Rasmussen

Bar Harbor

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