To the editor:
Another successful, well-attended presentation of the proposed downtown traffic backup reduction and beautification (!) project for Wiscasset village. Having worked and lived in the village for 25-plus years, option 2 (to eliminate Main Street parking, increase side-street parking facilities, and organize pedestrians and traffic) is a dream come true for us.
During my tenure, I have witnessed crossing guards, pedestrian disorganization, vehicle accidents (one because, allegedly, a canine shifted the car out of park and the vehicle rolled down into the sidewalk at Red’s), and older folks and families walking in the streets due to insufficient sidewalks and safety.
I’ve seen emergency vehicles whizzing by on emergency, fender benders, folks tripping on the bricks, and confusion about bathrooms and parking, or where to sit and enjoy the beautiful village. I’ve witnessed ineffective snow removal, making the village challenging to get around in the bad weather for those businesses that stay open and count on local dollars year-round.
I hear townspeople who never come to the village or waterfront. Why? Not much to offer? Well, folks, here’s our chance: DOT has stated clearly if we don’t go for this, they will move on with their dollars to another community … further stressing ours to come up with a solution. Come on, the DOT has made the offer, all we have to do is see it through … sounds more fun than nitpicking.
I implore everyone to ask what if? What if more guests stop, if more move to town, if others rediscover Wiscasset? Yes, we have challenges. What if we work together? I heard within the concepts, there is room for fine tuning. What if we organized deliveries, parking times, loading and drop-off zones, bathrooms? How about another trash can? Yes, it means an expanded budget … and jobs! And a reason to stay! Let’s look around. Other towns are taking advantage of our clay feet … right before us is an opportunity to boldly take back commerce.
Expanding the parking will lend itself to better organization and the possibility for multimodal expansion … boats, train/trolley … just because it isn’t available now does not mean it can’t be.
No, we are not Freeport, or Paris; we are us. The communities outside our insulated areas are upgrading and welcoming expansion … it is expected and common, and nice!
What if: Destination Wiscasset blossoms? Let’s think five years from now, even 10. Maybe the bypass will have to be resuscitated … if so, we will have a more beautiful village to steward. Help the selectmen decide in June.