April 26, 2018
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No break for John Bapst in parking clampdown

By Eric Russell, BDN Staff

BANGOR — City councilors denied a request Tuesday from the head of John Bapst Memorial High School to put a moratorium on parking enforcement in the area and allow the school more time to find alternatives.

In a 4-1 vote, the council’s government operations committee decided that bending the rules for John Bapst would not be fair to any other entities that have city parking demands.

Earlier this month, city police Chief Ron Gastia directed his patrol officers to prioritize illegal parking not just in the downtown but in residential areas. One of the targeted areas was Broadway from State Street to Somerset Street, which runs directly past the private high school.

“We suggested a moratorium on the issuing of tickets and replacing them with warnings,” School Head Mel MacKay said. “It was meant to be a first step to slow down the process.”

MacKay said he’s worried because school starts next Monday and faculty and students only found out about the parking crackdown recently.

In the discussion that preceded Tuesday’s vote, several councilors concluded that the parking issue in that area of the city is a problem with no real solution. There are simply too few spaces for too many vehicles.

City Manager Edward Barrett said the council, collectively, has expressed interest in a higher level of parking enforcement, which Gastia implemented. “We can’t ignore [illegal parking] in one part of the city while pushing enforcement in other areas,” the city manager said.

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