To the editor:
“MDOT, we need to talk” is something we’ve been seeing since December of last year. In fact, the Maine Department of Transportation has done a lot of talking, and listening, since Option 2 was unveiled and voted on overwhelmingly by Wiscasset voters.
Since the summer of 2016 through to the end of 2017, the DOT has had meetings with the following groups: Wiscasset Select Board, safety and business group, town manager and police chief, Wiscasset Historic Preservation Commission twice, Wiscasset Senior Center, Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce, utility coordination, public open house twice, and public advisory committee 16 times, one of which included a field walk.
On Nov. 20, 2017, the project manager came to Wiscasset to meet individually with each of the 19 business owners in the area directly affected by the DOT’s plans. Meetings were scheduled starting at 7 a.m. and running through the day. Four business owners made appointments then canceled them, seven business owners met with the project manager, and seven more chose not to take the opportunity.
Those who feel that the DOT needs to talk didn’t take the opportunity to do so.
As a result of the 16 meetings with the public advisory committee, changes were made to the Option 2 plan to incorporate handicapped, drop-off, and delivery parking places. These spaces would become parallel parking in the offseason. Additionally, the DOT agreed to pave and stripe the parking lot behind Treats, potentially yielding a few more spaces.
Unfortunately, due to the lawsuit, those plans are off the table, along with the Haggett Garage parking lot.
The DOT’s plans would: improve pedestrian and vehicle safety, improve traffic flow, provide handicapped- and stroller-accessible sidewalks, provide easier parking, encourage foot traffic for the shops, and give downtown Wiscasset a much-needed face-lift. This project will benefit the entire area, not just Wiscasset.
Vote no on April 17 to end the lawsuit.