BANGOR, Maine — The City Council will meet this evening to discuss whether to move the city bus depot to Abbott Square or Washington Street or keep it near a soon-to-be-redesigned Pickering Square.
This week’s blizzard, which dropped a record-setting 21.5 inches for the 24-hour snowfall on Bangor, forced the postponement of a council workshop and regular meeting on Monday in which the depot’s location was to be reviewed, according to council Chairman Joe Baldacci.
When reached Wednesday morning, Baldacci said he doubted that evening’s meetings would be postponed due to weather. Another six to nine inches of snow was expected Wednesday, but isn’t expected to start coming down in any great amount in Bangor until after dark.
Staffers reviewed several options, including using the former Greyhound Bus terminal at the corner of Union and Main streets, before settling on the three potential bus station locations that Community Economic and Community Development Department Director Tanya Emery will review with the council, officials have said.
Putting the terminal in Abbott Square would give riders easy walking access to the Bangor Post Office, City Hall, the public library, the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building and the courthouse in a well-commercialized area of downtown. But the relocation would consume several permit-paying parking spaces on the upper portion of the square, with permit holders relocated to the lower square or a newly-built parking lot on Spring Street.
Relocating it to Washington Street near Hancock Street would allow city officials to place the depot in a building that could house bus service offices. The lot could be expanded into “a multi-modal hub” with “complimentary uses/services” and is close to a dollar store, pharmacy and convenience store. The option’s cons include its distance from downtown “for those who would rather walk than wait for a transfer or shuttle” and the area’s need for significant pedestrian enhancements, Emery wrote in a 10-page report to the council.
Keeping the depot at Pickering Square wouldn’t require any changes to the bus service and would keep the depot in a centralized location. That option, which involves some redesign of the square, also “separates bus traffic, pedestrian traffic, and garage traffic and creates a defined area for buses and bus support functions,” Emery wrote, while creating “a significant, contiguous open space adjacent to the Maine Discovery Museum.”
But the bus hub would fragment the potentially large open space promised by the redesign of the square.
The council workshop will begin at 5:15 p.m. and the meeting will be at 7:30 p.m.