Parking crackdown rankles Bapst head

Posted Aug. 11, 2009, at 8:59 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — One person concerned with the Bangor Police Department’s recent crackdown on parking violations took his plight to the City Council this week.

Mel MacKay, head of school at John Bapst Memorial High School on Broadway, strongly urged the city to temporarily delay enforcement of the parking complaints or at least give warnings.

Students, faculty and staff at John Bapst rely heavily on the parking spaces along both sides of Broadway, which is an area that Bangor police have targeted. Although school doesn’t start for another couple of weeks, MacKay is worried about a logistical nightmare.

“We can’t push students and staff into residential areas,” he told the council.

Bangor Police Chief Ron Gastia announced last week that the city’s patrol officers would begin targeting parking violations away from the downtown, a problem that has escalated in recent years. Specifically, police will be ticketing motorists who park on sidewalks, on esplanades, next to fire hydrants or on the wrong side of the street.

Gastia said that aside from safety concerns, illegal parking often deteriorates sidewalks and curbs, forcing public works crews to spend extra money unnecessarily.

Although the parking crackdown is citywide, Gastia has identified a handful of streets and neighborhoods that have been particularly problematic. They are: Garland Street near the William S. Cohen School, Otis Street, Center Street, Broadway near John Bapst Memorial High School, and the area between outer Union and Ohio streets known as Capehart.

The spaces on Broadway are designated as one- or two-hour spaces in most cases to accommodate businesses in the area. MacKay acknowledged that his students and staff typically take up most of those spaces but he said no other alternative exists. John Bapst has students from nearly 50 communities, many from several miles away, and those students need to drive to school.

MacKay said he has reached out to Gastia and city code enforcement officer Dan Wellington about the problem and was encouraged.

“The school pledges to do its part,” he said.

After Monday’s council meeting Gastia acknowledged the issue with parking in front of John Bapst. He said he expects to get more complaints as officers continue issuing tickets.

erussell@bangordailynews.net

990-8167

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