Use autonomous taxis instead of allowing private vehicles into Acadia National Park. Replace the Otter Cove causeway with a ferry. Install parking meters to force turnover at parking spaces.
Acadia National Park released a summary of suggestions on Wednesday that came to the park through emails, during meetings and via posted letters in response to its draft transportation plan. The plan’s 60-day review period, during which people critiqued the plan and presented their own ideas, ran from April 27 to June 26.
With park traffic having increased by 60 percent during the past decade, park officials in April unveiled their draft of a plan to ease congestion and improve visitors’ safety and quality of experience. They hope to incorporate some of the suggestions and finalize the plan this winter.
The 30-page summary report released Wednesday highlighted suggestions from 489 unique correspondences plus 5,750 form letters.
Parking issues drew mixed responses. Some commenters pressed for new or expanded parking lots at popular Acadia destinations, including Great Head, Acadia Mountain, the Tarn, Parkman and Brown Mountains, Wonderland and Ship Harbor, the summary states.
Other commenters sought the removal of parking lots from Cadillac Mountain “and the area returned to natural conditions,” according to the summary.
They said that many lots are rarely full and those areas should be accommodated by public transportation instead of parking.
“Other commenters added the National Park Service should be prioritizing resource protection over accessibility to visitors,” according to the summary, making Acadia more like Baxter State Park.
Some of the suggestions included:
— Modifying the entire report to include more of the Schoodic Peninsula. “Commenters noted that much of the plan does not include Schoodic and requested that it be modified to do so to be more comprehensive,” the summary report states.
— Increasing bicycle and pedestrian access to Acadia, including adding a bike lane to the main loop road. Added bike racks, electric bike-charging stations and continuation or expansion of car-free days at the park.
— Further reduction or elimination of private vehicle use. “Some commenters felt that the existing plan doesn’t go far enough to reduce congestion.”
Others suggested restricting all private vehicle use at Cadillac Summit Road, “citing that it would be more fair if everyone had to use” Island Explorer bus service or other public transportation, the summary states.