News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 6, 2018
Parking tops discussion at Castine selectmen’s meeting

by Monique Labbe

The issue of parking was once again a topic of discussion at the meeting of the Castine Board of Selectmen on September 4.

The problem is during a short window of time, said town manager Jimmy Goodson, between September and November, when parking at the town dock is three hours, and spots that should be enforced with 15 minute parking, particularly by the post office, are being used for much longer periods of time.

“If you’ve been in town lately, you’ll notice that there’s hardly anywhere to park,” said Goodson.

Once November comes around, parking at the town dock is shortened to an hour, alleviating some of the parking issues during Maine Maritime Academy’s waterfront lab classes. The labs are typically three hours long, and many of the students use the town dock parking during those classes.

One of the solutions, said Goodson, would be to shorten the town dock parking to two hours, which would force students to either look for parking higher up on Main Street or to use open parking spaces on campus.

Gus Basile and Peter Vogel both noted that there are “plenty of open spaces” on the academy campus at any given time throughout the day.

To open up parking spaces on lower Main Street, Goodson also suggested changing the parking from Water Street to Court Street to two hours, which could create more open spaces throughout the day.

Basile and Vogel were quick to point out that the parking issues are not specific to Maine Maritime Academy students, and that many Castine residents are also using the parking spots at the town dock and on Main Street longer than the specified time limits.

One of the problems is a lack of enforcement, as the town is currently budgeted for a parking enforcement officer for only 10 hours a week. Basile said that while it is difficult to constantly patrol, it is important to not only target student parkers but everybody.

“If we aren’t going to ticket everybody, don’t ticket anybody,” said Basile.

The selectmen agreed that a public hearing should be held “soon” in order to change the parking time limits. The time and date for that hearing were not decided on during the selectmen’s meeting, but will be posted at the town office in the next few days.