I am writing concerning the Main Street Project in Wiscasset. The Maine Department of Transportation offered to bring improvements to the summer traffic situation in town and presented three options to the citizens. By a wide margin the citizens of Wiscasset accepted Option 2. This plan included limiting interference with traffic by eliminating diagonal parking on the lower end of Main Street and installing two synchronized traffic lights.

Eliminating the diagonal parking would result in a safer road and would allow traffic to move through town in an orderly manner. The lights would allow safer crossing of pedestrians while limiting how often they would disrupt through traffic.

In addition, the plan adds many more parking spaces than the downtown area currently has. Railroad Avenue along the waterfront behind Red’s Eats would be widened and paved and have a sidewalk added along with parallel parking. A parking lot would be added at the end near the treatment plant. Haggett’s Garage would be demolished and the lot would be paved for parking. This building might be nostalgic for some people, but it is definitely not historical! This lot would be less than a minute’s walk to Main Street.

On Main Street the sidewalks and the steps would be replaced and become handicapped accessible. The sidewalks would be wider allowing foot traffic for the businesses along the street and allow for a gathering place for local events such as the summer art walks. The area is in dire need of such improvements, but the town does not have the funds to accomplish them. MDOT will bear these costs.

A small group of people, however, are mistakenly claiming that the loss of a few diagonal parking spaces would put them out of business. On the contrary, the wider walkable sidewalks would bring them additional foot traffic which would, in turn, result in additional sales.

The bottom line is this: MDOT has the right to make changes to Main Street and if they wanted to they could do it without our permission. However, since the project began, MDOT has gone out of their way to, within reason, listen to the public and businesses. As a result, changes to the original concept plan have been made to facilitate their needs.

It is time to cut to the chase and get the project going. We have been told that if we continue the court fight, it is a fools’ game as we cannot win it regardless of the amount of money we throw at it.

I ask you to vote to end the court fight; it is good tax money after bad tax money, and it is our money.

Bill Maloney

filed under: