Monday, September 22, 2014
Currently, METRO's Route 1 runs roughly every half-hour from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a couple of additional runs until 10 p.m.
If the new St. Lawrence Arts venue is approved, the bus would run every 20 minutes, until 11 p.m., six days a week. They're also proposing to rebrand Route 1 as the "Art Line," a reference to its route through the heart of downtown's arts district.
The funding required for the additional service – $70,000 a year – would come from a surcharge in ticket fees at the new venue. They're also planning other goodies, like abundant bike parking at the front door and discounts for cyclists. You can read the full "transportation demand management plan" here.
Obviously, the enhanced bus service wouldn't just benefit theater patrons at St. Lawrence Arts. It would also benefit late-night hospital workers at Mercy and Maine Medical Center, on the other end of the line, plus dozens of restaurants and other arts venues downtown.
But no good idea goes unpunished: a group of wealthy neighbors calling themselves "Concerned Citizens of Munjoy Hill" is working hard to sink the proposal, or at least force St. Lawrence Arts to build an exorbitantly expensive parking garage.
So, if you'd rather see more sustainable transportation on Munjoy Hill instead of yet more parking, let the planning board know: email your comments to Nell Donaldson, HCD@portlandmaine.gov.