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September 21, 2010
Town Council Chambers
FREEPORT TRAFFIC & PARKING COMMITTEE
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
TOWN HALL - COUNCIL CHAMBERS
1. Acceptance of the minutes of the July 20, 2010 meeting.
2. Consider request for no parking zone on the north side of Main Street, South Freeport, near Harraseeket Road.
3. Update on RV parking situation.
4. Discuss parking situation at Desert Road and Webster Road.
5. Other business.
FREEPORT TRAFFIC & PARKING COMMITTEE
September 21, 2010
PRESENT: Gary Profenno, Chair Jim Gorman
Gerald Schofield, Chief of Police Cliff Goodall
Albert Presgraves, Town Engineer Rodney Regier (arrived at 7:34)
Chris Parker (arrived at 7:38)
EXCUSED: Rich DeGrandpre
The meeting was called to order by Mr. Profenno at 7:32 a.m.
ITEM I: Acceptance of the Minutes of the July 20, 2010 Meeting
Motion (Gorman/Schofield) to accept the minutes of the July 20, 2010 meeting as printed.
Approved 4-0. (Others had not yet arrived.)
ITEM II: Consider request for no parking zone on the north side of Main Street, South Freeport, near Harraseeket Road
Mr. Presgraves distributed an aerial photo plan of Main Street in South Freeport near Harraseeket Road, showing the current and proposed no parking restrictions . He noted that the proposed changes were made as a motion at the previous meeting, and that they included locations near the intersection with Harraseeket Road that would all improve visibility and safety. On a question from Mr. Profenno, he said that notice of this meeting’s agenda had been sent to all residents of Main Street.
Mr. Schofield said that a resident had mentioned to him that parking on the southwest side of Main Street northwest of Harraseeket Road seemed unsafe and it would be good to prohibit parking in this location, as included in the proposal.
Mr. Tom Ring, who had previously lived at the house across from Haraseeket Road, said that he thought this proposal would only “push” parking farther up Main Street. Mr. Regier said that this may true, but felt it will improve safety at the intersection. Mr. Goodall said that he frequents the area, and there are increasing numbers of pedestrians, so the safety improvement would be good. Mr. Schofield said he supported the proposal because it seemed like it would improve safety.
Mr. Ring said that this would be a bad precedent because in the future a property owner on Main Street could request a no parking zone and get it. Ms. Faith Baker said that the proposal would add to safety, but she is also concerned that other people on Main Street would request no parking zones in front of their houses. Mr. Goodall said that just because something is requested, it does not mean the Committee would support it. Mr. Regier said that the current proposal is based on safety concerns related to the immediate topography and intersection location, so it would not apply to all of Main Street.
Motion (Regier/ Gorman) to recommend that the Town Council approve an amendment to the Traffic & Parking Ordinance that would prohibit parking on Main Street (South Freeport) on the northeast side for 100 feet southeast from the intersection with Harraseeket Road and 50 feet to the northwest from the intersection with Harraseeket Road to the boundary between Lot 47 and Lot 48 on Freeport Tax Map 2, and on the southwest side of the intersection for 100 feet southeast, and 100 feet northwest of the intersection to the first driveway.
ITEM III: Update on RV parking situation
Mr. Presgraves said the current owner of the property that had been proposed for additional RV parking on the east side of Depot Street had not responded to his letter requesting permission for the Town to make changes that would allow RV parking. However, Mr. Presgraves also understands that the property owner is having discussions with others in the Town administration to relocate the building on his property for use in the proposed train station. Therefore, Mr. Presgraves has not pursued the question recently.
Mr. Profenno said that considering the planned use for the Depot Street area for a train station, we may need to look at alternative locations for RV parking in the future.
Mr. Regier said that since the RV improvements supported by the committee have not occurred yet this year, they can be put off for a few meetings anyway. We should review the parking data that was collected this summer. We should also determine the schedule for the train station project development. After these are known, we will be able to discuss the RV parking situation with better information.
Tabled until the next meeting.
ITEM IV: Discuss parking situation at Desert Road and Webster Road
Mr. Presgraves explained that he was not sure who had requested this item, but it was probably Mr. DeGrandpre who was not at the meeting. Mr. Profenno said he understood that this was related to employees of LL Bean taking their smoking breaks, and since it was discussed onetime earlier, it seemed like it had been resolved. Mr. Schofield said the he did not think there was a big problem, and the Police had not received recent complaints. No action taken.
ITEM V: Other Business
Mr. Regier said that there were still signs and a trash can on the sidewalk on Main Street next to the relocated handicapped parking space north of Mechanic Street that should be moved. Mr. Presgraves said he would pursue the issue.
Bob, a fisherman who uses the Town Wharf, said that Brewer Marina employees are parking in the public spaces on the wharf, and this takes up spaces that fishermen need. On the other side of the wharf, the one-hour parking restriction should be changed to “first come, first served” so that fishermen could also use these parking spaces. He has also noticed a lot of out-of-state license plates on vehicles in the Brewer lot leased by the Town.
Mr. Schofield said he has not seen many out-of-state plates on vehicles in the lot, but some tickets have been issued for parking sticker violations. Jay Pinkham, Harbormaster, said that the Brewer leased lot has not been a big problem this year, but it takes him too much time to enforce the parking restrictions, and he is concerned that an emergency could occur and he would be delayed because of his parking enforcement efforts.
Mr. Tom Ring said that the wharf has many uses including vessel fueling, loading fishing gear and other supplies, so the area gets very congested. Mr. Pinkham said that with all the tourists and visitors, it is the working fishermen who seem to get pushed out.
Mr. Profenno said that we should have an agenda item for our next meeting that will look at the parking issues on the wharf, and review all parking options.
Mr. Ring said that a guard rail was added to the north side of the wharf a number of years ago, and the same thing should be done on the south side where there is now a curb and rocks in front of the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster. He also felt that one-hour parking is not appropriate on the south side of the wharf, because most of the wharf users, even restaurant patrons but especially boat owners, need at least two hours. He would suggest a three hour limit.
Mr. Regier suggested that we define the scope of our future discussions to either focus on increasing the number of spaces available, or on ways to allocate the spaces that exist. He also said that the one-hour restriction works for him and other users. Ms. Faith Baker said that the permit programs used in the Brewer lot to date have been good experiments to improve the situation. She also agrees that the working waterfront needs are the most pressing. It would be appropriate to re-visit the needs and possible solutions.
Mr. Profenno said that the scope of the discussion should be to look at the one-hour parking restriction, and look at options for the Brewer lot to improve utilization, perhaps with a new “sticker” program. Ms. Baker said the signs for the Brewer lot could also be simpler so that it is not so confusing or overwhelming. Mr. Regier suggested that Mr. Presgraves could develop a budget for increasing the wharf parking lot size on the south side with curb improvements or a guardrail.
Mr. Profenno said that the sidewalks on School Street seemed to have been completed quickly. Also, the new traffic island at the intersection of Routes 125 and 136 installed by the DOT was hard to see, and he hoped that the DOT could paint the island curb yellow. Mr. Presgraves said he would pass the suggestion along.
ITEM VI: Adjournment
Motion (Goodall/ Schofield) to adjourn the meeting until Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 7:30 a.m.
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