KINGFIELD — Downtown property owners face possible changes to Main Street traffic routes and parking space availability as Route 27 plans progress.

David Guernsey presented selectmen with an update at their Monday night meeting. The Topsham-based Wright-Pierce engineering firm has worked with the town’s Road Reconstruction Committee, chaired by Guernsey, to develop a plan that would retain 26 parking spaces on Main Street.

Based on Maine Department of Transportation standards, the current number of spaces from Longfellow’s Restaurant to Video Network could decrease from 28 to 16.

The potential loss comes from state and federal standards requiring clear visual traffic and pedestrian access and egress at intersections, hydrants, crosswalks and driveways. The committee discarded an option to create parking spaces at an angle, because that would take too much of Main Street.

To address that critical loss for Main Street businesses, those involved with the design and analysis suggested moving a fire hydrant on that Mill Street block to the intersections of Routes 27 and 16, creating space for three vehicles.

Guernsey presented a way to gain seven additional spaces.

Mill Street, he said, runs between the Carrabassett River and Main Street. One end intersects with Route 16 near a bridge. The other end intersects with Main Street at the video store. Mill Street also has a narrow, town public way onto Main Street beside the Original Irregular newspaper. If the town closed the public way, property owners who used that access for private and commercial parking would be limited to access and egress to Mill Street behind Longfellow’s Restaurant or next to Video Network.

Public Works Director Bryan Fitch assured the Road Reconstruction Committee that he could handle snow removal and fire protection if the public access was closed. If the Mill Street public access was closed, Guernsey noted, Main Street would gain seven more parking spots.

“We’d have no net loss of spaces,” he told selectmen.

Selectmen approved sending a letter to the Mill Street property owners, noting that if the town closes its right of way from Main Street, Mill Street owners would be responsible for securing their individual rights of way to access each end of Mill Street.

“Since some of you may own some of the private land underlying Mill Street, we would like your views on the possibility (of) joining with other owners to provide such access so the town of Kingfield might retain more parking spaces on Rt. 27,” Guernsey’s draft letter said.

One of the most challenging tasks the town will face is determining clear ownership and property lines for both private and town land, Guernsey said.

John and Tammy Goldfrank, owners of Longfellow’s Restaurant, pointed out the potential inefficiency of having a handicapped parking space in front of the Herbert Grand Hotel when the current height of the sidewalk was raised significantly above street level. John Goldfrank also noted his concerns about the scope of improvements.

“What are we gaining from downtown reconstruction, other than new hot top?” he asked.

As the current mapping provides only an analysis of the possibilities and problems, no plan is close to being final, Guernsey said. The Road Reconstruction Committee will host a public forum Nov. 7 at Webster Hall, providing the community an opportunity to ask questions, review the plans and view the aerial mapping of Main Street.


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