BELFAST, Maine — Metropolis councilors accepted six new handicap parking areas at their Tuesday assembly as a part of efforts to handle accessibility points within the downtown space.
The brand new spots embody each these beneficial by Belfast’s public works division, plus further areas recognized by councilors. They arrive in response to a current push by neighborhood members to enhance accessibility in downtown Belfast.
The brand new spots embody two on Excessive Road between the Colonial Theatre and the mini mall, two by the police station, one on Church Road close to KeyBank and one on the metropolis’s public touchdown. Metropolis councilors additionally directed public works officers to evaluate a further location by the police station for a possible third spot.
Including areas close to the police station is a very necessary enchancment for rising entry to the town’s public companies, Councilor Paul Dean mentioned.
Councilor Mike Hurley mentioned the six new handicap areas handle a number of accessibility points raised by neighborhood members, however he’d wish to see continued enhancements and extra areas added down the road.
“We simply don’t have sufficient handicap parking areas,” Hurley mentioned.
Along with the brand new areas, metropolis officers additionally mentioned areas the place the town might add ramps and handicap accessible ramps in addition to eradicating obstacles and reducing again overgrown bushes alongside the sidewalk.
The enhancements handle a number of downside areas highlighted by Belfast residents Aynne Ames and Neva Allen, who’ve been pushing metropolis officers and native companies on accessibility for years.
Ames and Allen raised considerations with the council final November and officers tasked them with making an inventory of locations the place enhancements have been wanted. In June, they mentioned the town urgently wanted to enhance the state of affairs, and that it wanted to be extra proactive.
The midcoast metropolis’s geography creates a lot of accessibility points which are onerous to resolve as a result of it’s constructed on a hill, Metropolis Supervisor Erin Herbig mentioned. However Herbig and metropolis councilors mentioned the brand new areas, along with a current give attention to sidewalk repairs and ramp installations, are all transferring towards addressing the town’s most speedy accessibility considerations.
On account of the unique report from Ames and Allen, officers additionally tasked the not too long ago restructured Pedestrian, Transportation and Accessibility citizen committee to create a long run plan for addressing accessibility points in Belfast. Allen is a member of that committee.
“I’m glad that it’s within the arms of the town council and that they’re taking it severely,” Ames mentioned.