Viewpoint: One vote, many solutions



By the Bar Harbor Town Council

Bar Harbor voters will decide on June 12 whether to approve article 7, the parking meter system. Here are 10 reasons to approve this plan.

Parking meters open up spaces downtown by encouraging visitors and residents to take the bus, bike or walk and by funding more frequent buses to encourage visitors to leave their cars at hotels and campgrounds.

This plan will generate millions of dollars in its first five years without raising taxes one penny. This money can be used to fund improvements to the ferry terminal (including satellite parking), enhance alternative transportation options, improve our streetscapes and undertake other projects.

The plan is flexible and responsive to residents’ needs and concerns. The parking solutions task force will implement the latest smart technologies to make it easy to find and pay for parking, and they will meet annually to hear and implement suggestions to improve the system continually.

Special provisions for Bar Harbor residents include free 15-minute parking at the post office, town office and library; resident smart passes for prepaid, half-price parking at meters and kiosks; and free, short-term parking reserved for residents in designated spaces.

Every car registered in Bar Harbor will be granted a permit for free parking on side streets. Free visitor parking passes will be available for guests, and employees will be able to purchase annual permits for a small fee.

Free satellite parking will be available at Conners Emerson School, Mount Desert Island High School, the Acadia Gateway Center in Trenton and the ferry terminal.

This plan will reduce congestion and pollution from cars looking for parking spaces.

Meters and kiosks will be removed to revert to free parking from mid-October to mid-May. There also will always be free parking from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Acadia National Park’s transportation plan will limit the number of cars entering the park at heavy-use times. Many visitors will turn to Bar Harbor to park and ride the bus. Our multifaceted parking plan, to be implemented in 2019, gives us time to develop and fine-tune solutions for a smooth transition to limited entry to ANP.

This town has been talking about traffic and congestion for many years. It’s time to take our future into our hands and support the plan carefully developed by our 12-member parking solutions task force over the last several years.

The task force’s complete plan, recommendations and extensive questions and answers can be found on the town website.

Thank you for your support.

The Bar Harbor Town Council is Gary Friedmann, Paul Paradis, Peter St. Germain, Matt Hochman, Erin Cough, Judie Noonan and Steve Coston.