KITTERY, Maine – Struggling to find parking in the Foreside for a quick takeout? New amendments to the city area parking ordinance could mean easier parking for customers and company employees.
To help Foreside businesses struggling with limited parking options for their employees and, in some cases, customers and other departments, city council voted unanimously Monday night to approve 10 long-term parking spaces. limited in the Foreside, which is downtown Kittery.
Meeting the needs of Kittery businesses
A report prepared by city manager Kendra Amaral said city staff met with Foreside Business group last month, including business owners from Yarrow, Maine Meat, Lil’s, Corner Pub, Rudders , Winter Holben Architecture and Design, and others, to discuss parking issues. .
Prior to that, in April, the group surveyed local businesses to get an idea of their parking needs and found that, on average, businesses need 50 parking spaces for all of their employees combined on weekdays.
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“We (the city) ran parking usage counts at Foreside late last fall and found that on average 60% of parking spaces are used under the two-hour restrictions,” the Amaral report to city council. “Leading businesses pay for parking on private lots. This does not fully meet their needs and they report that it limits their ability to grow their business.
Tulsi Indian restaurant owner Raj Mandekar, whose business is located at 20 Walker Street, said parking outside his establishment has become a problem since the restaurant’s size has grown with the ‘addition of outdoor seating.
With this, the capacity of the Tulsi parking lot has since shrunk as more and more employees started parking there. Mandekar advocated for a pair of 15-minute parking spots to be added and used by guests, vendors, and dumpster services at the front of his business.
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“If you could get it, it could be used for deliveries and a dumpster and also for our guests who come just to take out. You just have to go in and out, and that way it’s a constant, moving flow for (people) trying to get restaurant services, ”he said.
The six councilors present for the vote, which took place in the absence of Councilor Cameron Hamm, agreed to add two 15-minute parking spaces in front of 20 Walker Street, where Tulsi is located.
Councilors also approved six additional 15-minute parking spaces: two in front of 7 Wallingford Square, two on the north side of Pepperrell Road starting 15 feet east of Pepperrell Terrace, and two more on the south side of Island Avenue. beginning 50 feet from the intersection of Highway 1.
Two one-hour parking spaces have also been approved in front of Foreside Family Dental at 23 Walker Street.
Four-hour parking refused
Fearing that employees at the Portsmouth Shipyard are constantly using potential parking spaces, City Council voted on Monday to reject the four-hour parking spaces in the Foreside.
An amendment was proposed to council on Monday evening allowing four-hour parking on Walker Street between signs beginning 350 feet east of its intersection with State Road to its intersection with Main Street.
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The proposal was quickly overturned in a 5-1 council vote and deleted entirely in a motion to amend introduced by Vice-President of the Council Judy Spiller, who voiced concerns about workers on the construction sites. naval forces which monopolize the places.
“The argument for this is that we had four hours, it was used by the workers at the shipyard. We have moved on to two o’clock, if we come back at four o’clock the shipyard workers will be back at these places, ”she said. “They arrive at 5 (o’clock) in the morning, they are very good at coordinating with their colleagues to move the cars, and those places would be fully occupied from 5 or 6 (hours) in the morning until 3 or 4. (hours) in the afternoon.
His thought process resonated with President Jeffrey Thomson and Councilor Cyrus Clark.
“At 6 am each of those seats will be taken, all the way down,” Clark said. “They were before, they will be now. “
In 2019, Amaral’s report said city council had changed the rules to approve four-hour parking on Wentworth and areas of Walker Street. The council then amended the parking ordinance again last year to reduce those same spaces to two hours of parking after issues arose over shipyard workers filling those spaces on weekdays.
Amaral also wrote in his report that the possibility of Foreside business permit parking had been evaluated with the Foreside Business Group, although this would require a new system of permit distribution, renewal and enforcement measures.
A permit system could also create a “domino effect” involving a number of high-traffic Kittery sites that have researched the same idea in the past. “This includes Badger’s Island, Pocahontas Road and Pepperrell Cove,” the Amaral report read. “If we’re going to venture into the licensed parking lane, we have to be prepared to do it elsewhere in town. “
A permit program, the report adds, would require adding parking enforcement officers to the city’s payroll as well as permit tracking technology that could identify parking conditions and violations.
The parking changes approved by city council on Monday will come into effect on Thursday, October 28.