I would like to take a look at the Route 1 controversy in Wiscasset one more time from a different angle.
Currently, we have a two-lane highway running through the town. One lane goes north and the other goes south.

When, and if, the project is completed, we will still have a two-lane highway running through the town with one lane going north and one lane going south.

What would be different, as worked out with MDOT after consultation with the town-appointed PAC, over 20 meetings with various civic, business, and town’s people is a plan to make the downtown safer for pedestrians and motorists alike.

Let’s forget the road for a minute and see what the project will do for the town, not to the town.
An honest view of this area of Wiscasset would include failing infrastructure non-ADA (American Disability Act) compliance.

Would-be shoppers who have to circle the block add to the congestion while searching for a place to park so that they may investigate the shopping advantages. If they do find a parking place, they then have to negotiate sidewalks that end in an unsafe staircase. They then have to try to negotiate an 18-inch wide sidewalk or to go out into traffic around parked cars.

A closer look at Maine’s Prettiest Village, reveals all of this and buildings that have not been maintained.

The MDOT plan that came out of the PAC would invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve parking and beautify this area that the town would not have to fund themselves. For a town that is trying to drastically cut their budget, and for taxpayers, these improvements would be a windfall.

An argument has been made that removing the diagonal parking on Main Street would hurt business; I can find other arguments by experts in the field who argue that off-street parking nearby will not hurt the businesses, but will allow shoppers to walk more throughout the area. The increased foot traffic allows the shopper to look at more shopping attractions and increases overall business.

To paraphrase Victor Hugo, “Some people live in the dark and some people live in the light.” I always try to live in the light, looking not at what we are, but what we could be.

Bill Maloney