Bike MDI airs issues



BAR HARBOR — Bike MDI, a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group, held its second annual meeting on Wednesday, April 27, in the Mount Desert Island High School library.

More than 60 cyclists, runners and members of the community attended the meeting.

“We only have one meeting a year, and this is only our second, but it was a pretty good turnout,” organizer Ron Greenberg said. “It went really well. We had several speakers who came from quite good distances away. They were interested in talking to cyclists especially in this area because we have so many of them for such a concentrated area of cycling.”

Acadia National Park Chief Ranger Stuart West updated the gathering on the measures the park will be implementing to provide a safer cycling experience along with lower levels of congestion.

“The problem is cars. People are in a habit of taking their car into the town and into the park, and they end up having to find spaces for those vehicles, and there aren’t enough spaces,” said Greenberg. “For cyclists, the issue has been to get into the park without having to drive there. There has to be another way cyclists can have access into the park.”

A suggestion that RVs be prohibited was discussed, followed by discussion of the traffic congestion and parking limitations.

“We’re engaged and trying to engage the town and businesses to get together with us, with the bikers and the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) and with the town planners, to figure out better ways to make this successful,” said Greenberg. “It’s not going to have a quick solution, but we’re willing to work at it.”

Beyond Acadia, the Bike MDI infrastructure workgroup, led by Sam Coplon, along with an MDOT representative, provided an update of the Route 3 project.

Details also were shared on the proposed multi-use corridor along Route 3 between Sonogee Rehabilitation & Living Center and West Street in Bar Harbor.

Nancy Grant of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine led a discussion about the potential for creation of temporary bike/pedestrian lanes on Mount Desert Island.

According to Greenberg, by the end of the evening, Bike MDI participants had outlined their work for the coming year, which includes working with Island Explorer officials to purchase appropriate bike racks for their new buses to hold fat tire bikes, working with the park concerning expanding the one-way section of the Park Loop Road and helping towns to address parking and congestion.

“We need to have people engaged in the conversation first, before we throw things out. First of all, it has to be safe for bikers to begin with,” said Greenberg. “Forty years ago, probably less than that, kids used to bike to school, and they don’t anymore. It’s not safe. Parents wouldn’t allow them to. At some point, we would like to revisit that, to have kids biking and walking to school. It’s much more fun, but it has to be safe.”

 

Amanat Khullar

Amanat Khullar

Amanat Khullar is a sports reporter for the Mount Desert Islander. She comes from New Delhi, the capital city of India and graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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